It’s the stories within the music which keep it in our minds, returning us back to special moments or connecting us with a feeling that’s greater than ourselves. For Empathy Machine, this is a vital part of their driving force as musicians, showcased in the layers of thought and energy that has been put into their Debut EP “Music for the Video Game of Your Life”. With an ever present motive to encourage people to “smile, dance and be empathic,” Empathy Machine uses their music to share the messages which have been important to them throughout their lives.
Beginning in Bogota and having lived in Madrid, Sydney, Barcelona, London, and now landing in Berlin, the band members Simon, Jimmy, and Dan have accumulated many lessons which have influenced the direction of their creativity. Some of these lessons are expressed in their premiere EP through tracks like “The Commitment” which is about being aware of compromises and making a commitment to excellence, “Stranger Love” which tells of a universal love in recognition of our oneness, and “Velvet Denim” which celebrates that special flame of life shared between friends. Their lead track “Emma” describes the magic of the moment as can best be expressed through electronic music – that sense of freedom that comes from letting go of all the surrounding nonsense and discovering how good it feels to dance to your own rhythm. EMMA captures what Empathy Machine wants everyone to experience; a way to find their own story reflected in the universal messages that music can provide.
A few years ago, EMMA decides to leave her home country to start from the scratch betting for a new life in Berlin away from family and friends. Working in cafes, cleaning houses or being an au pair, she learns from start to value the simple as she realizes simplicity is freedom.
Money, social status or popularity are not the engines of her dream, as she learns these motivations are empty and don’t last for ever. Her dream is powered by the fact that she is able to live in the present and to enjoy every single moment the way she wants.
EMMA celebrates having autonomy over her life, so she committed to dancing, smiling and connecting with her peers everyday regardless of her falls. That is her real wealth and this wealth is the force that makes her rise up again to remain happy.
Emma discovers that happiness is a personal choice, which should not depend on external factors. This is her battle and this is her dream.
EMMA is an EMpathy MAchine.
While music can offer us many positive benefits, research has shown that the more emotional connection we have with what we listen to, the greater our ability is to get into a flow state. Through their focused stories, meaningful messages and collaborative efforts combining drum machines, synthesizers, and a funky guitar, Empathy Machine opens the door for us to find that state through their sound. They encourage a lightness, love, and empathy for ourselves and others that flows freely in the present moment. It was a pleasure to catch up with the band to learn more about them and to find out what lies behind their perspectives on their music and lives.
Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.Alan Watts
What is the origin story of Empathy Machine? What was the main focus or mission behind its creation?
We are friends a long time ago. We have been working with music and sound in Berlin since years having similar interests for Electronic music. All started as Friends Jam sessions at Dan’s and Simon’s place. After recording a few Jams we listened to the results and liked a lot so we decided to create a music project with a powerful message of empathy. The main focus is to spread messages about it through our music around the world.
Let’s commit to dancing.
I’d love to hear more about how you collaborate together – besides the individual instruments you play, do you each have different roles which you bring to the band? If you could describe each band member only in one word, what would it be?
We get together several times a week to jam and practice. These rehearsals/Jams are recorded so each of us can take them home to work on their own instrument in order to provide more clear and developed ideas for the next meeting. In these rehearsals all ideas are put together as one piece. Every idea is interesting but not all are doable. So we think like a band to create the best for it.
The tracks are recorded in Berlin and after are sent to our producer Pol Moreno in our lovely city, Bogota.
ROLES?? Simon plays the Guitar and runs all the management part, Jimmy plays the Drum machine and is in charge of the social media and Dan plays the synths and is a Stage manager.
How did the move from Bogota to Berlin come about? How have the different cities influenced your style?
We have always been curious about the different places and cultures around the world so we all had the opportunity to come to Europe to study.
After completing our study programs, we fell in love with Berlin and decided to stay. We felt there was a place for us in this wonderful town.
How have the different cities influenced your style?
Electronic music is universal, it is played everywhere in the world. In some cities more than others. We have lived in Madrid, Sydney, Barcelona, Bogota and London. Every of these cities has a different scene, I mean the clubs and the way people enjoy music. Each of these cities has its own identity which influence the way we perceive music.
We feel very pleased to have the privilege to coincide in Berlin, one of the most emblematic capitals of electronic music and art.
We brought to Berlin individual positive experiences from other cities we lived in.
I love the story of EMMA – learning to find power in the present moment, and to enjoy the freedom of living her own life. What inspired you to want to share this particular message?
Well, we all see ourselves reflected on Emma. Our own personal story is about fighting day to day to live our life doing what makes us happy in the present.
The message conveyed on the video is the same message that give us strength to be better people. Despite daily struggles in life, there will always be a smile to overcome them.
What were some of your favorite moments in the making of the music & video?
One of our favourite moments was to work with a crew led by Rafael Espinel (video director) having the opportunity to shoot scenes throughout Berlin and specially at Sage Club/Kit Kat Club which is one of most important locations of the music scene of Berlin. We would like to thank Sage Club for its incredible support.
How do you think music is helpful in expressing these deeper messages?
To us, music is the most effective way to transmit feelings. Everyone needs music. Music is a powerful universal language that spreads around quickly, and it is able to unify people with nature through its harmonic and melodic combinations. These combinations are indeed great tools to transform emotions and thoughts into something more tangible.
Could you share some of the thoughts behind the other tracks in this EP?
Well, “The commitment” is about being aware that the compromise in life, the commitment to excellence, is not only at work or with your family, the commitment is also on the dance floor 😀
“Stranger love” is basically the love song which can’t be left out. It’s about the feeling to love each other as we are all one in this universe.
“Velvet Denim” has the same feeling you have when it’s is about friends sharing the flame of life.
What is most important for you to express through your music? What do you hope people feel or understand when they listen to Empathy Machine?
We express freedom, freedom to dance and be yourself in every single moment. This world needs more people committed to dancing. The name “Empathy Machine” encourages and invites everyone to be empathic.
What has been the greatest struggle for you as artists? What has kept you going through the difficult times?
The greatest struggle has been to find people you can create music with. I mean, people you connect with in terms of music.
We have lived in different multicultural places and adapting to these places and cultures can take some time.
What has kept you going through the difficult times?
Love and passion for what we do (music) has kept up going and believing in this. The empathy and support between us has helped us to overcome difficult moments.
What do feel is the most rewarding or beneficial part of the creative process?
The most rewarding part of creative process is when thoughts, ideas and emotions turn into tracks and live sets. Learning from experimentation is also a great beneficial part of the process.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
This world is under constant changes. There are all sort of ideas that influence people in several ways. Empathy machine brings a message to live this unique life. Let’s try to smile, dance and be empathic as much as possible.
Don’t miss out our Debut EP “Music for the video game of your life” and our first video clip “EMMA”. Emma has arrived to stay! Emma means Empathy Machine.
Visit us in our social media and keep tuned!!!
Be an EMPATHY MACHINE: www.empathy-machine.com
And one of the most important words in every language: Thanks!
Pictures by Manu Becerra and Ivano Garcia