Providence retro-futuristic bad boys Six Finger Satellite have re-issued their elusive 1994 self-released Machine Cuisine Companion Cassette
off Anchor Brain records, available for the post-analog age via internet download or cassette. We spoke electronically with 6FS members J. Ryan and Rick Pelletier, as well as with former members John (aka Juan) Maclean and James Apt, in regards to the re-issue, and are offering up an MP3 download of “Love.Like.Machine” over at thephoenix.com/onthedownload
What made you decide that the time was right for the MCC cassette to be re-issued?
J.Ryan: We always had the idea that this would see the light of day again. It always seemed like the “secret release” and if you had a copy, you were in some kind of club for deviants. So as time has worn on and the world has become less interesting, 6FS is here to chase the blues away and turn you into a modern musical pervert through the magic of cassette technology.
So why the MCC cassette and the decision to make it available as a mail order only cassette? What is its direct relation/overall aesthetic to the Machine Cuisine 10”?
JR: We had all this 4 track material that totally fit the mood of (Machine Cuisine) so I took point on creating the cassette companion and personally received and mailed all copies to the unwitting subscribers. We mailed out about 50 to 75 copies total. Mail order seemed like the way to go and cassettes were cheap to make at the time.
What was the state of 6FS when this material was recorded?
JR: Very blissful and serene. When we made Machine Cuisine, the band was entering into a new era. We had just finished touring for The Pigeon Is The Most Popular Bird and the band had slimmed down to Rick, John and me. Four-tracking at home was common practice for Rick and I, (and) this home recording approach fit in nicely with the slimmed down band.
John Maclean: The band was in tatters. I think the MCC cassette was pretty cathartic for (Rick and J), and for me as well. We all got excited about making music again, and it was a testing ground to see if I would follow through with promises I was making about not getting addicted to heroin again.
What was the particular influence behind the music made on the MCC?
JR: We always were onto the Devo home recording tip — more the tone and evil intent. We were also very influenced by the gear we were buying — Moog Rogue ($50), Korg tape delay ($60), ARP ($50), Electro Harmonix Guitar synth pedal (maybe $100?) etc and the sounds that these seemingly ignored beauties could produce.
JM: In retrospect, I’d have to say Kraftwerk were a major influence, as well as disco and dub. We hated reggae but loved deep, dark echo drenched dub.
Rick Pelletier: That and Chrome of course.
Overall, where does the MCC cassette place in the 6FS catalogue?
JR: A glimpse into what was going on behind the curtain and a teaser of what was to come. I think it also helped us become more confident in the recording environment and allowed us to realize The Parlour [6FS’s former studio in Pawtucket, RI — ed.] and recording our own records.