Vain Machine has a signature sound drawing inspiration from EBM, Industrial, and Synthpop, including the goth/industrial Los Angeles nightclub scene.
Formed and established in Los Angeles by Beau Baker and Omar Quiñones in 2013 – both veterans of the LA alternative music scene; Vain Machine self-released several singles through social media and online services. In 2014 the band signed to Manchester-based AnalogueTrash to release their first official single, Push, which gained popularity amongst the Los Angeles industrial/goth club scene, followed soon after by their debut full-length album Lost.
2015 saw Vain Machine continue to expand their audience. They played a range of grassroots within California, eventually being invited to perform at the Dark Arts Festival in Salt Lake City and the Colorado Goth Festival in Colorado Springs. Later that year – and seeing a departure in sound from their earlier material – the single Eat You Alive was released on an AnalogueTrash label sampler. This track received considerable airplay on online radio stations and downloads via Bandcamp.
Fast forward to February of 2018, and a rework of the famous KISS song I Was Made For Lovin’ You was officially released, and collaboration on the title track of Black Violet with local Los Angeles artist Vió. Late 2018 saw the band drop a three-track EP titled Harm, marking the band’s first original material to be released since 2015. The duo spent 2019 rebuilding the sound of the back catalogue for live performances, recording new music, and playing gigs on both sides of the Atlantic.
2019 also saw the band embark on a small west coast tour with The Secret Light and Xibling, with gigs in Denver, Palm Springs, and Albuquerque, while November of that year saw Vain Machine embark on a career-defining UK tour, performing in Manchester and Birmingham and culminating with a rapturous reception at the final Beat:Cancer Festival at London’s infamous Slimelight. The visit was preceded by the release of Invisible, a radical reimagining of the Skylar Gray song, with proceeds from the track being donated to Project Semicolon, an organisation dedicated to the prevention of suicide.
Vain Machine showed no sign of slowing down in 2020, with the EP Disconnect released in March that year in cassette and digital formats. In the wake of the EP release, Vain Machine became a solo project, comprising of Omar alone but looking forward to a bright future.
Personal reasons and the pandemic led to Omar’s plans for Vain Machine being placed on creative hiatus for much of 2021, though progress on other fronts continued as the year drew to a close. However, past and present combined to bring the future of Vain Machine into a much clearer focus. Reveals Omar, “After Disconnect, I had already started working on new material for the next album. My focus was to explore out of my comfort zone. I knew that the next album had to be different and needed to sound unlike what I had previously released.
Unfortunately, when I finished the music for Subterfuge, I was under extreme stress, dealing with anxiety and depression, resulting in writer’s block. I was at a dead stop. “I thought about my options and instinctively knew who would be perfect for helping me complete the track. Then, around 2001, I was introduced by my spouse to a band called Deathboy. I automatically fell in love with Music To Crash Cars To and purchased the album. This album was a permanent fixture in my CD player and iPod for months. At one point, Scott and I spoke over the phone, talking about different writing methods.
“It wasn’t until 2019 that we reconnected while playing London’s Slimelight for the Beat:Cancer Festival. Our casual run-in that day was a good experience, and connecting with Scott afterward, he had not remembered our conversation from almost 20 years ago. That was when I shared the track with him to see if he was interested in taking the task of writing the lyrics and singing the vocals on Subterfuge. “This song was transformed! Scott had landed his vocals and sent them to me. I knew it would work. But, unfortunately, the track sat for several months with no traction due to other obligations.” Fate was to play Omar another favourable card, however. “
In late 2021, I connected with another talented soul, Bobby Stevens, who soon became Vain Machine’s official drummer. “I knew he had talent I required to add a missing element to the track. I had become obsessed with trying to achieve the perfect mix, spending many hours only to find that my hearing had become affected by constant ear fatigue. So again, the task of completing the track took time.”
Finally, in March 2022, Vain Machine resumed live performances, playing shows with LA electronic outfit, BlakLight. “We tested to see how the audience would react to a song so different from the others, receiving extremely positive feedback, so I knew we had something special, so I had to move quickly,” discloses Omar. “Subterfuge is a small glimpse of what to expect from the next album, taking on the roots of the AnalogueTrash’s ‘No Boundaries, No Scenes’ motto.”
Omar highlights what Scott and Bobby have brought to Subterfuge: “I thank them both for their talent in giving life to this track. They ignited a spark to what can be achieved when working from distant parts of the world.” The collaboration, the expanded lineup, and Vain Machine’s return to live performances have sparked a creative rebirth for the band: Omar and Bobby are currently working on a new Vain Machine album titled Transmute.