L.A. Machina: The LA Beat Interview

L.A. Machina, photo by Erica Vincent.

For years, Michelle Balderrama, Suzi Moon and Rikki Watson have been among So Cal’s major movers and shakers where rock and roll is concerned, powering some truly inspiring bands. When last seen together in the first-phase lineup of the Darts, Michelle and Rikki were part of a combustible force that made that group unforgettable. During those years, former Civet guitarist Suzi Moon was setting her own place alight as the leader of Turbulent Hearts. The three have now converged to form L.A. Machina, a step into the future from three women whose past accomplishments suggest anything is possible.

We caught up with the band last week as news of their new single coming from Alternative Tentacles was just hitting the street.

You folks have been teasing a big announcement, and the big day is finally here so – out with it! What’s up?

Suzi: It’s our 7” preorder release day !!! We’ve been waiting for this for months! It was supposed to be out in May, before Punk Rock Bowling but with the pandemic and such, the vinyl pressing factory had to close down so we were waiting patiently for production to begin again. It is such an incredible feeling to see our music and art on a record! We’re going to be releasing a music video for the second single next week, as well!!

Michelle, this feels like a darker and hairier kind of sound than I’m used to from your other bands. The darkness that was maybe always there is more at the forefront. Are you trying to get to a different place than you went with Brainspoon and the Darts?

Buzzerrama: I would say I gained some wisdom, throughout these years of creating & playing music. I really wanted to perfect the dream sound & vision for this next chapter. We love all the faces of rock, I personally never like to box myself in a genre. The combination of the dark heavy riffs & melodies I created in Brainspoon with the garage psychedelics I created in The Darts, added with the futurist visuals of the future. I overall really wanted to push the full potential of our creativity, become the character that embraces our sound. It feels so free for us to be able to have that artistic freedom. I been loving every minute of it! The birth of this band has been thee ultimate machine! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us!

Rikki, you’ve clearly had no shortage of opportunities to play music. What made this band the thing to say yes to this year?

Rikki: To be honest, after leaving The Darts in September, I just wanted to focus on what I was already doing at the time but Michelle called me to check-in and said that she had been writing. She sent me the songs and there was no way I could say no. The songs are so good, and Michelle and I have played together in two bands in the past. Then she said Suzi might want to play bass. I’ve known Suzi for years and our bands toured together. At that point it was a YES for me!

Let’s talk about futurism. How are you incorporating it into your music? It seems to me that a band of women make natural futurists because to a feminist, the past is not necessarily something to be nostalgic about. Do you think that’s true?

Buzzerrama: I’m very nostalgic on the past! The influence on how men have embodied rock n’ roll throughout the years, is why I gravitate towards celebrating and embracing rock n’ roll music In this time of age, its a huge influence, gender is not an issue! As far as incorporating futurism in the band, the visual aspect of becoming a classic science fiction/warrior character, really fit with thee band name, and us three coming together couldn’t be more perfect!

As far as our sound, gawd, I wanna have fun and get creative and add some new guitar pedals to the family to really expand the futuristic drive!

It’s got to be tough trying to launch a band right at the moment that physical togetherness and live music are largely impossible. I enjoyed your appearance at Virtual Punk Rock Bowling. What else do we have to look forward to this summer from your band?

Michelle: We all have such positive spirits & unity, that despite hard times we keep pushing! Since our Europe tour got pushed til the following summer 2021, we decided to hit the studio and put together our first full length album. We will be releasing a spanking brand new music video featuring our second single “Go!” and releasing the double 7” single, August 14th under Alternative Tentacles label.

Suzi: Glad you enjoyed our PRB lockdown set! We jumped at the opportunity to join in the virtual festivities. For me, I’ve been attending Punk Rock Bowling for over 10 years, and I know a lot of other people felt sad & lost when it got postponed. L.A. Machina is all about bringing people together and spreading joy through rock n roll, so we are happy to have done that on a smaller scale. Folks seemed to enjoy it, and we had a blast too!

Next up is finishing the recording of our full length LP! We have a great batch of songs that we’ve been working on, and can’t wait to share them with the world next spring!

Rikki: We’ve been very careful with other people, but since we consider each other family, we have been writing a lot. I’m fact, we are going into the studio to finish the full length. Lots of video shoots and photo shoot pre-production is happening and we are just gearing up for when things get back to normal.

Speaking of things getting back to normal – let’s hear each one of your dream lineups for a five band bill with you on it that could actually happen in 2021.

Buzzerrama: Heres a lineup that would be epic to take place! Fu Manchu; Verbena; Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats SuperShit 666; L.A. Machina

Suzi: Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, The Who, Blondie, L.A. Machina

Rikki: Iggy POP, The Misfits, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Amyl and The Sniffers. LA Machina

Check out the band’s new music video below and someone please get working on putting these bills together!

You can also find them here:


Instagram @ L.A. Machina

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