By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Los Angeles-based outfit Dirty Machine have been at the helm of modern nu-metal since 2012, with influences drawn from predecessors like Korn, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park.
In their time together, they’ve played alongside bands like Sixx AM, Disturbed, Trivium, HELLYEAH and Otep, among others. Currently, they’ve been at work on a new EP and are eager for fans to hear the results.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with drummer Mike “Nightmare” Weekley about what they’ve been up to lately and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?
Mike “Nightmare” Weekley – I wasn’t in the band at the time the name was chosen. However, the creator of the name, who was originally an active member, allowed the band to carry the name because he appreciates all of us and treats us like family. He also designed and painted my mask as well.
Music Bugle – Have you been working on any new music lately?
Mike “Nightmare” Weekley – Yes, we have been working on new material. The new arrangement of our roster ushered in some newer perspectives to our writing dynamics, which also inspired a matured approach to the industry and how we can be received. The transition hasn’t been met without struggle for some members, but that, I personally think, is the beauty of member changes in a group of creators. Just one person’s involvement can impact the sounds and opinions of a group in significant ways. Adversity can help inspire growth and integrity in those situations and Dirty Machine is no exception to the rule.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Mike “Nightmare” Weekley – This has been a heavily trying time for all of us in this world. COVID-19 rocked the music industry very early on. Just for myself, I really had to spend a ton of time alone and figure out ways of staying occupied. Ultimately, I can say that the primary goal of each day we’re in this pandemic, we’re just trying to hold onto our sanity just a little longer than the person six feet away from us. For DM, we try our best to respect how each member feels about the virus, so we have made adjustments such as, we rehearse in sectionals now instead of full band, we did a Zoom-style band meeting, we reach out via WhatsApp on a daily just to check in and make sure everyone is okay. We’ve seen bands break up plenty because sometimes the individual stresses will tend to outweigh the concerns of the collective and things just fall apart. That’s just part of human nature, of course, but it helps that DM developed achievable goals, which helps keep our minds in the same direction. I’m blessed to be working with such great people in my band.
Music Bugle – If you had to pick your own theme song, what would it be?
Mike “Nightmare” Weekley – If I had to pick my own theme song, it would be a tossup between “Don Life” by Big Sean, “Going Bad” by Meek Mill, or “Here To Stay” by Korn. I live a very active lifestyle and I give myself daily goals so that i feel like there is always a reason to get up and get going. I try to keep that energy alive every single day.
Music Bugle – What’s your favorite movie soundtrack?
Mike “Nightmare” Weekley – My favorite movie soundtrack off top has got to be “Romeo +Juliet” – the 1996 version! Second would have to be 2002’s “Queen Of The Damned,” ’cause if you’re a hopelessly devoted Korn fan like myself, you can pretty much get your rocks off to every track on that soundtrack knowing Jonathan Davis was involved, including damn near every badass band from nu-metal’s greatest time! Plus, I’m a “Matrix” fanatic! The soundtrack for the movie trilogy – for now – is dope. My favorite song from “The Matrix” is “Sleeping Awake” by P.O.D..
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Mike “Nightmare” Weekley – One of my favorite quotes that I think of all the time is something from my close friend, my brother, Ralph Churchwell, who gave me advice on decision-making in life – “Once a man has enough information, you must finally make a decision based on the information. Ask the questions and pay attention. The information is under your nose more than you know.”
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Mike “Nightmare” Weekley – The music I listen to now is mostly hip-hop. Big Sean, Logic, Meek Mill, Run The Jewels and Travis Scott. Outside of those artists, I haven’t been inspired by most of the new rock, metal and R&B artists these days, so I’ve been reverting back to who did inspire me and currently still do – Korn, Slipknot, Sevendust, Limp Bizkit and even Justin Timberlake, Dave Matthews Band, Michael Jackson and a ton of Anita Baker over the last few months. My fire for creativity has become relit because I can experience the power of what I was motivated by long ago after years of cultivating my own style. I feel like my musical style as a drummer is like a painting that is just never complete. Once I think I got it figured out, I discover that I have a new color in my wheel and a new brush to use it with so I just gotta master it and use it! If only I was more disciplined on the mastering part…
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Mike “Nightmare” Weekley – The most challenging song for Dirty Machine to write, in my opinion, would probably be “Further From You.” We realized that we didn’t have a less heavy track in our arsenal and at the time, we had enough heavy content to where our fans pretty much knew what to expect from us, so we decided to hit ’em with a left hook. It wasn’t enough that the song was slightly less “nu-metally,” but we also gave the creative ownership to our melodic vocalist at the time. His perspective was very unique for us because it pushed us into a different realm of thinking. The premise was about his internal struggle with balancing a musical life with Christianity in a world that deemed to be less-than-catering to. Not-so-familiar territory than the norm in our writing experiences.
Music Bugle – What do you hope for from the rest of 2021?
Mike “Nightmare” Weekley – What do I hope for the rest of 2021? Progress. This pandemic has lifted the hood of society and exposed the immediate need for a tune-up. We have shown how less considerate we are towards one another when the chips are down. With technology moving so fast, our ability to demonstrate patience and grace has almost completely diminished. However, I do appreciate the civil unrest. I appreciate the protesting and the loud voices of the disenfranchised. I love the uncomfortable conversations that are being had and the truth that we can no longer turn our heads and pretend that they won’t find us. As I stated before and as history has shown, adversity is the way to inspire integrity and growth, as well as many other great qualities. So now that we’ve found plenty of adverse situations, now we need to finally grow and learn from them.
Music Bugle – What’s something that you wish happened more in today’s music industry?
Mike “Nightmare” Weekley – Something that I wished happened more in the music industry today is simplicity. We need simplicity. We are in a time where things are politically and socially more skewed and divided than we’ve experienced at one time, so the music industry should make things simpler. Figure out and accept the simplest way to pay the creators what we deserve instead of exploiting us and dishing it out practically for free. That’s the recipe for destroying the creators, the dreams we inspire for future generations and the art itself. Plus, creators, especially in the rock genre – keep it simple. Music is perfectly imperfect and it is meant for every situation and circumstance that life offers us. Music will never be perfectly produced or completely finished, so let’s get back to enjoying the ride more than the final destination.
*Photo Credit – Jason Lindley Of Obsequey Photography*