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Opus Of A Machine

Opus Of A Machine, remember that name, because it's going to be huge in the progressive rock and metal world in the near future. The group around guitarist Zac Greensill released their debut album 'Simulacra' in 2013 which, sadly, didn’t do too much in the prog scene. In response to that, Greensill made a brave decision and stepped out of his other band Caligula's Horse (they might ring a bell). The band worked hard on the debut’s successor and 'Stray Fire' was the result of all that hard work, a fantastic record that continues to grow on you. What makes the album so great is that it’s actually very calm and melodic, with only heavy riffs if necessary, and done at the right moments. We got in touch with Zac Greensill to learn some more about the new record and of course his decision to step out of Caligula's Horse.

By: Leon | Archive under prog / sympho metal

Before we begin I would like to say congratulations on the release of ‘Stray Fire’, if you ask me a huge step forward from your previous release ‘simulacra’ and a great album in general. Have the reviews been to your liking so far?
Thank you! We’re insanely proud of this album and it couldn’t have turned out better. The reviews have been all round pretty great. Because this is quite a change in direction for us there are the odd reviews that don’t quite understand the softer, more ambient tracks on the album, but different strokes for different folks I suppose!

I hadn’t listened to ‘Simulacra’ before writing the review for ‘Stray Fire’ but when I did listen to it afterwards I was quite surprised by the sound, it’s very different! What has led to this significant change?
There was a lot of time in-between both of those albums, so tastes and interested did develop over that period. I think Stray Fire is just a reflection of who we were when we were writing it and what we ultimately wanted to achieve. On Simulacra, there was a huge amount of variety and different things we wanted to explore. Stray Fire in my opinion still has that variety, but there is more of a focus towards the ambient and melodic side of our songwriting, we didn’t want to focus too much on the heavy aspect and wanted to see where the album would go without as much heavy guitars etc.

Something that I appreciated in the music is that you don’t spray around aggressive passages but that you stay with moody melodic music, only using these harder passages when they’re needed. Was that a conscious decision or did this grow naturally during the songwriting?
I think the conscience decisions were the softer parts, I knew there were moods and sections there that wouldn’t really tickle the fancy of metal heads but I knew those were the styles I wanted to explore. If anything, the heavier passages were the sections that kind of just came flowing out. I find it much easier to write heavy music than softer music personally because of my background and love for heavy music.

It feels like you’re touching on some social aspects in today’s world, take ‘Strength In Stone’ which I have interpreted as denouncing (at least the conservative) religion. Is ‘Stray Fire’ a conceptual or thematic album?
In a way, it is a concept album, but we wanted to steer clear of focusing on a cohesive story. With Strength in Stone, it’s really about taking the knowledge and ideas you grew up with and processing them in a new and different way. It’s about making your own choices with your own life experience, not just reliving someone else’s ideas.

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You’ve made a brave decision to step out of your other band Caligula’s Horse to focus more on Opus Of A Machine. I can imagine that this was a difficult decision, what made you decide to leave the group an focus on the other band instead?
I was quite a difficult decision that I battled with for a long time, but it ultimately came down to, regardless of the future success of Opus of a Machine compared to the current success of Caligula’s Horse, I knew that I would always regret not pursuing something I love in Opus of a Machine. That’s not to say I didn’t love my time in Caligula’s Horse, those guys were and always will be my best of friends, but it ultimately came down to where I felt like I needed to be creatively.

Obviously you left on good terms because Sam Vallen, from Caligula’s Horse, helped mixing the album. When did you decide that Sam was the right man for the job?
Sam was always the right man for the job! The knowledge he has passed down in almost every part of my musical life has been invaluable and I wouldn’t be the musician I am today if it wasn’t for him. We toyed around with the idea of getting someone else to mix the album, as I mixed Simulacra, and we knew how great of a job Sam did with the first track on Simulacra, Hourly Painted Obscurity. When he offered to mix Stray Fire, we basically couldn’t say no!

I have to compliment you guys on the sound of the album, it’s absolutely amazing. Part of the reason for this sound is Troy Glessner, who mastered the album. How did you find Troy?
Troy is great. We worked with him on our first album too and he’s always been the most professional and easy-going guy to work with. We can always trust him to have amazing turn around and amazing results everytime. And do be a part of his back-catalogue of great artists he has under his belt is a real honour.

What’s next in your agenda? Any plans of touring, perhaps even visiting the Netherlands?
Europe would be a dream to play, but all in good time. We plan on doing a little more touring hopefully before the year is out, and then see where we’re at in the New Year. That being said, I want to jump back into the studio sooner rather than later.

There is a question I ask to all the people I interview. The music industry has drastically changed in the last years. More and more people switch to streaming services, such as Spotify or Deezer, instead of buying albums, so this means that artists no longer able to generate money from the music alone. On the other hand it makes the artist's music more accessible to people worldwide, which can lead to more fans. What is your take on all of this?
Like it or not, streaming services like Spotify are here to stay. People complained that CDs would kill the vinyl industry or that radio would stop people buying records. At the end of the day, the market will adapt to what people are consuming, and people will never stop listening to music and appreciating good art!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions! Do you have any last words for our readers?
Check out our most recent album, it’s something we worked our butts off to get out and we couldn’t be prouder. And thank you to all the fans that have followed us thus far. Every bit of money we get from sales and playing show allow us to do what we do. So thank you!

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