HomeInterviewsHappy Mondays with Tango Machina

Happy Mondays with Tango Machina

Tango Machina’s aggressive hard rock music encourages show-goers to burst into movement and start moshing. This Asbury Park trio is Paul Caffrey on guitar and vocals, Damion DeStefano on bass and Jesse Comerford on drums. Together, they create music that packs a punch and stands out from the mainstream genre of hard rock.

The Pop Break had a chance to speak with Tango Machina to discover more about their music, from their location to background about their band name and what’s in store for them this summer. You can read all about them in the interview below!

I see that you guys are from Monroe—where do you tend to play in Central Jersey? Where are some of your favorite places to play and why do you like them so much?

Damion: We are all originally from Monroe, but we’ve been based out of Asbury Park for the last 5 years or so. Paul and Jesse live in town and we have a room at the Hot Dog House. That’s good for us, because really the only place to play in Central Jersey of note is the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, which we’ve probably played more than we have any other venue. Our favorite places to play outside of Central Jersey are The Saint, Brighton Bar, John & Peter’s in New Hope, PA, and formerly the original Asbury Lanes (RIP).

How did you decide on the name Tango Machina? What does this mean and how does it reflect who you are as a band? 

Paul: Face value, you can take it as dance machine. Doesn’t go much further. Damion and I used to play a game to come up with the silliest band name. Damion said Tango Machina one time. It’s not that silly, so it was a shitty try at the game.

You explain in your Bio on Facebook that your goal is to “create quality hard rock music for personal and public consumption, in an era that has watered down and homogenized the very definition of what “hard rock” music can and should be.” So after reading this, I’m wondering, what should hard rock music sound like? What do you think is the original/true/non-homogenized definition of hard rock and how does your music channel it? 

Damion: Thank you for reminding me that I need to update our bio! What we were trying to convey there is our distaste for most “popular” or “mainstream” hard rock music of the last 20 years or so. When people find out you’re in a band, generally the first question they’ll ask is what kind of music you play, and when I answer “hard rock,” more often than not, it gives the impression that we sound like Five Finger Death Punch or something. I’ve taken to describing it as “aggressive rock” or “riff rock” just to try to distinguish the difference, but that naturally leads to listing several bands we like or we’ve been compared to. If popular hard rock (not that hard rock is very popular in 2018) sounded better on a whole, I wouldn’t feel as compelled to qualify it when describing our sound, so that’s really the goal: rising tide and all that.

While you’re up on stage performing, what do you want show-goers to be feeling during your high-energy set? 

Paul: Joy. I would like them to feel joy. Maybe a little lust.

What are the highlights of the Tango Machina EP? When you think of this collection of songs, what are you most proud of? 

Paul: We recorded the EP in 2012. We play those songs still, but we have new ones too. One day we’re going to record them. What I’m getting at is, that’s an old hat. We have a secret song after the last track. Shouldn’t have done that. Nobody listens to it and there’s a good riff in there. It was recorded in one live take with a few mics in the room. Now Damion considers it recorded and doesn’t want to do it proper. His girlfriend describes the song as “mad interesting.” I’m proud we recorded the whole thing in my old house. Did it the best we would with what we had. Chad I Ginsburg mastered it, so that was also pretty alright.

How would you describe the lyrical style of your music? Do your songs share any common themes? If so, what are they and how are they explored in your music? 

Paul: I can tell you that I’m not good at direct story telling. I always get mega cheesed out when I try, so I guess I focus on invoking kinds of feelings and atmospheres. I like to get spooky.

Do you have new music in the works? What can you tell listeners regarding upcoming music or other exciting news? 

Paul: We’ve had a collection of songs we’ve written over the years that we keep not recording. We’re going to change that very soon.

What’s in store for Tango Machina this summer and the rest of 2018? 

Paul: Recording, very soon. Then play all over this land. Make friends, beat high scores, meet new animals.


Laura Curry
Laura Curry
Laura Curry is a Rutgers University graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Interviewing bands and writing about music is her passion. She is a frequent concert-goer, whether they’re happening in New Brunswick basements, Asbury Park venues, concert halls in NYC and anywhere in between. Alternative rock is her go-to genre (i.e. Kings of Leon, Cage the Elephant, Foals, The Maine and lots more). When she isn’t writing for The Pop Break, she works at the North Brunswick Public Library, which offers plenty of Fantasy/Adventure novels to quench her love of reading. Additionally, she takes on creative projects from dream catchers and scrapbooks to paintings and jewelry making. She’s always happy to talk about her furry Maine Coon cat Austen and his knack for playing fetch and hide and seek. Just try not to ask about her next career move, because trust me, she’s working on it.

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