The Secret Machines

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Secret Machines

Img_capt =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Dallas, Texas, United States
Genre = Psychedelic rock, new prog, space rock
Years_active = 2000–present
Label = Reprise
Current_members = Brandon Curtis Josh Garza Phil Karnats
Past_members = Benjamin Curtis

The Secret Machines are a three-piece American rock band. Originally from Dallas, Texas before moving to New York City, they describe their band as space rock. The original lineup consisted of two brothers, Brandon and Benjamin Curtis, and Josh Garza. In March 2007, Benjamin left the band, and was replaced by Phil Karnats.

Early years

Before forming The Secret Machines the members played in various Dallas bands such as: UFOFU, Captain Audio, Comet and When Babies Eat Pennies, but perhaps the most significant was Tripping Daisy. Captain Audio was formed by Garza and vocalist/guitarist/chief songwriter Regina Chellew in the late 90s as a two-piece noise duo. Brandon and occasionally, Ben Curtis joined shortly thereafter as the original duo began to head toward a more standard rock sound. In a few months the band was getting regular local press and within a little over a year they had recorded and released the EP "My Ears Are Ringing But My Heart's OK" (1999) and the full-length "LUXURY" or "Whether It Is Better To Be Loved than Feared" (2000) to positive reviews. Shortly after the release of LUXURY the band went on an extended hiatus and eventually disbanded when the boys headed for New York, leaving Chellew behind in Dallas to form the band Chao and later joining indie pop outfit The Happy Bullets.

Captain Audio is essentially the same band as the Secret Machines, with the exception of Chellew. Sonically the groups are very similar, much more so than any of the members' other former bands. Although Captain Audio is a bit more prone to experimentation and sound collage and the Secret Machines are much more a standard indie rock band, the Captain Audio records form the template that the Curtis brothers built upon when they headed for New York. In the liner notes for Captain Audio's LUXURY, all of the additional musicians who played on the album are credited simply as "Secret Machines".

eptember 000 and Now Here Is Nowhere

The band went to Chicago first, where they recorded their EP, "September 000", six weeks after forming, before continuing to New York. The EP didn't sell well, but remained a hit on indie radio while "Marconi's Radio" and "Breathe" are fan favourites.

In 2004, The Secret Machines released their first full length CD - "Now Here Is Nowhere". Their second EP, "The Road Leads Where It's Led", was released on 7 June 2005.The song "Nowhere Again", from the their debut album, was used in promotional spots for American during its launch, and appeared in the 2006 videogame . []

"Nowhere Again" is the band's biggest hit to date, being played at nearly every show since its conception.

Ten Silver Drops and Ben's Departure

"Ten Silver Drops", their second album, leaked onto file sharing websites following the release of their lead single "Alone, Jealous and Stoned" in the UK.

The album once again did not sell well but garnered favorable reviews.

During this time, the band toured with Kings of Leon.

Benjamin Curtis left the band on March 3, 2007 to focus full time on his new band, School of Seven Bells. The news was posted by Brandon Curtis on the Secret Machines' messageboard. []

Third album

Since Ben left the band, the band played two shows in New York, one at the Annex, and the other at the newly opened Highline Ballroom. At these shows, the band played mostly new material, presumably to be put on their next album. They included two new members: Blasco (Interpol's touring keyboardist) on guitar, keyboards, and bass, and Phil E. Karnats on guitar. It is unknown whether they will be on the new album, and to what extent.

Josh Garza has said that the guitar slot will be more of a rotating cast of friends than a replacement for Ben. Phil Karnats, for example, played with Garza in many bands before Josh joined Secret Machines.

At the Highline Festival the band covered "Up the Hill Backwards," a David Bowie song from Scary Monsters. This was likely a thank you, as he chose the band to close the first-annual Highline Festival, which Bowie curated and attended.

Fan reception to the new songs and band has been mixed, with some missing Ben, and others enjoying the return to the heavier sound found on the debut LP "Now Here Is Nowhere."

The band finished recording quickly during May 2007 and plan to release a new, self-titled album in the United States of America on October 14, 2008. [ [ NME news story about future album] ] . The [ online release notice] features a free download of a non-album track titled "Dreaming of Dreaming." Phil E. Karnats announced on his myspace blog that he recorded guitar parts for the album and will continue to play live with the band. The album has received a perfect 5-star review on [ [ review of The Secret Machines] ]


Their music could be best described as progressive rock with some krautrock influences mixed in. They describe themselves as space rock. Many have also cited the Secret Machines as a style of shoegaze, as a lot of their songs on "Now Here Is Nowhere" have samples that mimic that of shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine and Ride. Listeners can also hear hints of Led Zeppelin, Procol Harum, The Who, U2, and The Flaming Lips.

"They take Pink Floyd psychedelia, Led Zeppelin stomp, and The Who-inspired choruses and charge them full of big-rock beats, atmospheric keyboards and all kinds of electronic whooshes." — "Rolling Stone"

They have toured with Foo Fighters, Spiritualized, Oasis, Interpol, M83, and the Kings of Leon. They also supported the British rock trio Muse at Londons Earl's Court, December 2004. They appeared at Lollapalooza 2006 in Chicago and the Carling Leeds and Reading Festivals in England in the same year, as well as the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, TX.

Crossing paths with U2

* In February 2006 they were the opening act for U2's Vertigo Tour in Mexico.

* In an interview for the Uncut magazine (August 2007 issue), The Edge of U2 said that "Now Here is Nowhere" is "the last record he fell in love with".

* In a September 2007 release, the band performs with Bono on the "Across the Universe" soundtrack on track 7, "I Am the Walrus". Both Curtis brothers and Garza receive mention in the "featured musicians" credits as members of the "NY Band". The Secret Machines also perform 2 tracks on the deluxe edition soundtrack, "Flying" and "Blue Jay Way".


*Brandon Curtis: vocals, bass, keyboard
*Josh Garza: drums
*Phil Karnats: guitar (2007-present)

Former members

*Benjamin Curtis: guitar, backing vocals (2000-2007)
*Frederick Blasco: guitar, keyboard, bass



*"Now Here Is Nowhere" (May 18, 2004) Reprise
*"Ten Silver Drops" (April 25, 2006) Reprise #43 UK, #159 US
*"Secret Machines" (October 14, 2008) World's Fair Label Group


*"September 000" (2002)
*"The Road Leads Where It's Led" (2005)
*"Live At Austin City Limits Music Fesival 2006 (iTunes Exclusive EP)" (2006)
*"Morning Becomes Eclectic (Live At KCRW)" (2006)


*"What Used To Be French (Revisit) (7" Vinyl only)" (2003) UK
*"Nowhere Again" (2004) UK #49
*"Sad And Lonely" (2004) UK #38
*"The Road Leads Where It's Led" (2005) UK #56
*"Alone, Jealous & Stoned (12" Vinyl only)" (2006) #93
*"Lightning Blue Eyes" (2006) UK #57
*"All At Once (It's Not Important)" (2006) UK #76
*"Dreaming of Dreaming" (2008)


*"Marfa Mystery Lights – The Secret Machines – A Concert for the UFO's (A performance conceived and filmed by Charles de Meaux) (2007), Les presses du réel"

External links

* [ The Secret Machines]
* [ The Secret Machines social network]
* [ Official The Secret Machines MySpace Page]
* [ The Secret Machines - Self Titled Review]


* [ Interview with Brandon Curtis] at Aural States (01.10.2008)
* [ The Secret Machines talk about the new album]
* [ Interview by Alexander Laurence (The Portable Infinite) © 2006]


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