By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Australian-bred, Los Angeles-based alternative pop-rock quartet Between Kings released their new single “Antidote” earlier this year and look forward to the release of their EP by the same name on April 24, 2020 via The Regime, produced by Jimmy Messer (AWOLNATION, Kygo, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez).
The song itself deals with mental health and depression and how that factors into modern society, with some people who have an “antidote” for their daily stresses, whether it be music, exercise or medication. The new music follows up their 2018 debut ‘The Escape.’
Between Kings are Vocalist Nic Machuca, Guitarist Jordan Coyne, Bassist Jayden Marsh and Drummer Nick Fanning. Influenced by Blink-182, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Linkin Park and Rage Against The Machine, the outfit fully embraced the mix of pop melodies and arena-rock anthems. Over time, they’ve had 1.3 million Spotify streams and have even played with acts like Escape The Fate.
The Music Bugle recently had the chance to talk with Machuca about their new music and more.
Music Bugle – In regards to your latest single “Antidote” and how current events have transpired, does the song take on a new meaning as it deals with mental health?
Nic Machuca – I think the song stays true to its own meaning, but I think it leaves enough room for the listener to add their own personal meaning. The song is about mental health and coming to terms with the fact that some people just need an “antidote” to help get them through the day, whether it be prescription medication or other forms of self-medication. I think the current situation the world is in has left many people with an unusual amount of stress and uncertainty and hopefully, we can use music to help us get through these crazy times we have found ourselves in.
Music Bugle – You guys recently released a music video for “Antidote.” What was the process of shooting it like and how does it bring the song to life, so to speak?
Nic Machuca – The filming of the music video was a blast! We took a hands-on approach and were behind the scenes of the whole video. We are very happy with how it came out and that we even made a few sneaky cameos. We got to work with some incredible people who helped us bring our vision to life. The video reflects some of the themes of not only the song “Antidote,” but some of the themes of the album too.
Music Bugle – Your debut album ‘The Escape’ came out in 2018. Looking back on it, was there anything you would change about it if given the chance?
Nic Machuca – When we were writing ‘The Escape,’ we were in a different headspace to the one we are in now. We were finding ourselves as people and as musicians. I think we have found our own signature sound that we are proud of. One of the tough things to accomplish when writing music is to get it sounding as good as it does in your head. We have all worked hard with this new album to make sure it’s sounding as good as we hear it in our own heads. ‘The Escape’ is still our baby, so we still love that album and the songs on it are very close to us, so we wouldn’t change a thing.
Music Bugle – Which of your musical influences do you feel shine the most in your music?
Nic Machuca – I think we have gotten to the point where we don’t let our own musical idols and influences alter the sound of the music we want to make. There are obviously still artists we look up to, however, we have tried to avoid sounding like any of those musical influences we have.
Music Bugle – How would you describe your forthcoming music? What can fans expect?
Nic Machuca – I think people can expect an album that deals with some very personal emotions we all go through in life, from love to lust to nostalgia to feeling like your mind is your own worst enemy. This album puts it all out there and tells a very human story. We have matured as writers to the point where we are completely happy with the way it sounds.
Music Bugle – You guys had been out on the road playing the new songs just before the Coronavirus outbreak, which has since put a halt on all shows, tours, etc. In what ways has it affected the band directly? Any advice for people with “Cabin Fever”?
Nic Machuca – We are trying to stay positive as we understand so many people have it worse than us in these difficult times. The way it’s affected us the most is we have all this pent-up energy we usually get out when playing live shows. We are so excited to get this show on the road and it has all come to a screeching halt. We are using this time to connect with our fans and keep making music. Hopefully, it won’t be long before we get to use some of this built-up energy touring soon! We are all using this time to spend quality time with family and make music. To those getting cabin fever, our advice is learn something new. Try learning how to play an instrument or build something.
Music Bugle – What’s something you feel people should know about the band?
Nic Machuca – We are all extremely happy when we get people coming up to us after shows and hanging out. We don’t bite! Come hang out with us at shows and let’s party!
Music Bugle – What’s the scariest aspect of being a musical group these days?
Nic Machuca – At the moment, it seems to be whether the music industry will recover from this pandemic in time for all of these artists to get by. With no shows, it’s not easy to make a living if you are a musician.
Music Bugle – Does social media make it easier or harder to stand out in your genre?
Nic Machuca – I think it makes it easier. With social media, you get a chance to show your fans what you do from day to day. They get to see more of your personality as an artist now more than ever and I think it helps people connect with not only the music, but the people behind the music too. There has always been thousands of bands trying to stand out from the rest. Social media allows you to do that with the whole world.
Music Bugle – What has been your favorite memory since being with the band?
Nic Machuca – We had a race once on tour back to our hotel room and Jayden was winning, but he ran past the building without realizing. We all ran inside and locked him out. I remember us all on the floor laughing so much we couldn’t breathe. It’s little moments like that, that make playing music with people you love that much more special. I think Jayden might have a different answer to that question though! (Laughs)