100 Afternoons: The Bonus Tracks for Immunity
Those who bought the deluxe edition of the new Machines Dream album Immunity, will be receiving five bonus tracks as a digital download. The deluxe edition is still available to buy here.
Entitled ‘100 Afternoons’, you can think of the collection as a Mini-Album, an EP, or simply five extra songs.
Craig West from Machines Dream explains that “these songs were the outsiders, from both the first and second albums. We felt that while they were good or at least interesting songs, they didn’t seem to fit the sound, flow or style of the full length albums.”
“A Poor Turn For The Soul was a song I wrote around the same time as Battersea Transcendental, but it seemed too close to Battersea, so it was cut. They began in the studio around the same time, and while Battersea came together quickly, Poor Turn didn’t seem to sound right. When we revisited it, we took a different approach. Instead of his usual pianos and strings, Brian used some really interesting synthesizer sounds, and instead of my usual heavy rhythm guitars, I used a fuzz sound. Once Rob added his chord treatment, the song found a new life, and has become my personal favourite.”
“The music for A Stone’s Throw was written in between the first and second albums by Brian, Ken and myself during a jam session, but I could never seem to find lyrics or a melody for it, so it sat and waited. One day I referred to it by title at rehearsal and Ken said ‘is it about Israel / Palestine?’ ‘No’ I replied, ‘but it can be’. The plight of children who have nothing to do with politics or religion but who become the victims of both is something that I feel very strongly about, so that’s what went into these lyrics. The only side the song takes is the side of a child, who is not getting the life they deserve as a result of the environment they were born into. As they grow up, they become moulded by that environment. Children are the worst casualties of war.
Jupiter was a song I wrote many, many years ago, and which we had played live a few times, but again, it didn’t seem to fit our sound. Also, the lyrics were about feeling discarded by someone, which also felt at odds with the words on both albums. I felt I had left my angry relationship songs behind years ago, and this felt like a throwback to the band I was in before Machines Dream. It’s fun to play, and fun to scream out ‘I will destroy you!’ at the top of one’s lungs. Nick Jackson from IT is a fan of this track and feels it should have been on an album.
Keep Your Head Down started as a jam, and has stayed pretty close to it’s original form. In a lot of ways it’s just an excuse to have fun and let Rob and Brian solo. It was never on an album because we felt it lacked substance, and while being a hell of a lot of fun to play, wasn’t a great song. Having now finished it in the studio, we are finding we appreciate it more now. When he heard the song, our manager Eugene asked if this was our Incommunicado or Garden Party because of the Mini-Moog that drives the song. Yes. That Mini-Moog is absolutely my tribute to early Marillion! The part was originally a piano part, but when Brian was not looking I reassigned the sound. Shameless tribute? Fun jam? Excuse for soloing? Yes to all of the above.
Trading Stars For Solitude is a different story. This is the oldest song in the collection. It was written by the first version of the band, featuring myself, Ken, and Brian along with our original bass player Marco and original guitar player Shayne. From the beginning the song was divisive. I loved the track. Ken did not. Brian was ambivalent. When Shayne and Marco left, we tried it out with Keith, who was the guitarist on the first album. It did not suit the sound of the band at the time, so it was abandoned. When we talked about recording some old, unreleased tracks as a companion to Immunity, I included this track without telling anyone. I asked Rob to keep the spirit of the original guitar, but re-invent it. He came up with four interlocking guitar parts which just brought the song to life. I held back all the other instruments until the keyboard solo, and the song finally worked! I played it for the other guys and even Ken admitted he did not dislike it as much as before. At this point the song only had my guide vocal. We were trying to finish the song so it could be released with Immunity, but I had a bad cold and could not sing. Jake was in the studio recording backing vocals, and offered to take a crack at the song. What he did with it was better than anything I could have done. The song is about choosing family ahead of money, fame or any other artificial accolade. There is a sincerity in Jake’s vocal that just works beautifully with the words and the sentiment.
The EP is called 100 Afternoons because that was a name we had done some gigs under as a side project from ourselves, featuring most of the band members, but doing other non-Machines Dream songs. 100 Afternoons means the spare time you have that you don’t allocate to more important things. The time you put into napping, or perhaps writing some extra songs that never go anywhere. When we talked about a name for the collection, Brian suggested 100 Afternoons, taking the old side-project name and giving it to the extra songs. Since it was part of our own history, we thought it was a good idea.
We have enjoyed rediscovering these unusual songs, and we hope you will enjoy them as well.”
Machines Dream: 100 Afternoons
Craig West: Lead vocals, rhythm guitar, bass guitar
Brian Holmes: Keyboards
Ken Coulter: Drums
Rob Coleman: Lead guitar
Jake Rendell: Backing vocals, lead vocals on ‘Trading Stars For Solitude’