Shipwrecked At The Shore Interview Series: Tango Machina

jeanne crump speaks with the Central Jersey rockers before their appearance on pop-break’s March 8 Shipwrecked At The Shore Showcase at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J. …

Hailing from Monroe, N.J., Tango Machina provides the original scene in Jersey punk-fueled swagger. It’s fuzzy, gritty, full of energy and groove. It evokes memories of the glory days of Clutch, cKy, Fu Manchu — those fuzzed out, groovy hard rock bands that we all know and love. And Pop-Break is bringing these guys to Asbury Park on Thursday, March 8 to perform at the third Shipwrecked At The Shore Showcase at the famed Wonder Bar.

Pop-Break’s Jeanne Crump sat down with Tango’s bassist Damion DeStefano to talk about the band’s sound, their new EP and what sounds he’d like played at his funeral.

Photo: Chris Rotolo

Pop-Break: Some people describe your music as “garage punk.” Would you agree with that? And was that the style you were going for when starting the band?

Damion DeStefano: It’s not a term we use describe our sound, but if others are using it, that’s fine with me. I usually describe us as “aggressive rock ‘n’ roll,” which I think sums up our music pretty accurately. I mean honestly, we’ve only played in the garage a handful of times, when the basement was flooded.

PB: I saw that you recently recorded an EP. When do you plan on releasing that? Can you give us some juicy details on what to expect?

DDS: All the songs are tracked, and Paul’s about halfway done with mixing. After mastering and getting the physical CDs printed, it should finally be out this Spring. We recorded the whole thing ourselves at [guitarist/vocalist] Paul [Caffrey]’s house, with him handling the engineering and everything — total DIY. Because of that, I’d say it’s a pretty accurate representation of our live sound, with some extra nuances that we can’t really pull off in a live setting.

PB: What are some of the band’s major influences musically?

DDS: Paul and I have very similar musical tastes, I’d say the major common ground influences would be Queens Of The Stone Age, CKY, The Misfits — ’77-’83 — Clutch … I could go on. I don’t know that we necessarily set out to make music directly inspired by them, but we definitely share those as all-time favorite bands, so I’d say they’ve naturally influenced us in various ways.

I’m pretty sure [drummer] Jesse [Comerford] only listens to Rage Against The Machine and the first few Mars Volta records. He’s all about Jon Theodore. And he looks just like Ryan Gosling, it’s crazy.

PB: What kind of touring are you planning on doing this year? Just keeping it local or is there a city you’re dying to play?

DDS: We’ve been sort of holding back on taking bookings over the last few months in an effort to get the EP finished. Once it’s released, we’ll be going hard with shows to support it. I’d like to do a mini-East Coast run this summer, maybe up and down the coast, but we’ll see what happens. Paul really wants to hit NYC, and I’m trying to get something going in Philly ASAP.

PB: If you had to make a playlist to listen to at your own funeral — dark, I know — what five songs would it include?

DDS: I think what makes this question dark is that I have to come up with five … one would’ve been pretty easy. Now I legit have to think about my funeral.

1. CKY — “Stripped Your Speech”

2. T. Rex — “Spaceball Ricochet”

3. Drink Up Buttercup — “Lovers Play Dead”

4. Weezer — “Longtime Sunshine”

5. Quasi — “Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler”

Tango Machina will perform at Pop-Break’s Shipwrecked At The Shore Showcase at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, N.J., on Thursday March 8, along with North Jersey’s Cicada Radio and mix-hop pioneers Aquavibe. The door charge is $5, plus there will be giveaways to the March 15 show Pop-Break is presenting with The Fighting Jamesons at The Wonder Bar.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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