Star Off Machine: Interview & World Video Premiere

Posted on August 23, 2013
Star Off Machine | Interview | World Premiere Video | Bliss Magazine Online | Wes Geer | Korn | Papa Roach | Dan Korneff | Breaking Benjamin | Paramore | Metal | Rock | Sycfuk
SoCal's hard rocking band Star Off Machine. We’ve hung out recently with these exceptionally cool SoCal rockers - live shows and photoshoots. These are not only super talented dudes but really genuine and good guys. You probably already heard their music on Fox Sports, E! or ESPN.
In our interview here, we’ve got the world premiere of their new video of a sublimely kick-ass song Left Behind, exclusive song clips from their upcoming album, another exclusive video and exclusive photos! So if you are already a STOFMA fan you’ll love it all and if you’re not a STOFMA fan already, you soon will be.
We've said it before, but we don't really do music reviews here at Bliss Magazine. There are a million places for that by people more qualified than us. But what we do promise is to bring you articles, interviews and good shit and cool people you'll enjoy. The guys from Star Off Machine definitely count.
Star Off Machine | Interview | World Premiere Video | Bliss Magazine Online | Wes Geer | Korn | Papa Roach | Dan Korneff | Breaking Benjamin | Paramore | Metal | Rock | Sycfuk

What the hell is a Star Off Machine you ask? "Well, it’s from a Dr. Seuss book. The story involves yellow creatures called Sneetches. Some have green stars on their bellies and some do not.
The star bellied Sneetches are considered the "superior race," while Sneetches without stars are considered inferior. It's really a great little read.
Ultimately it is a satire with lessons involving discrimination and conformity. We liked the concept of the story and the message the story embodied and thought it was a great name for a band with our sound."
The STOFMA members are Erick (Lead Vocals), Robin (Lead Shredder), Tut (Lead Thunderer) and Aaron (Lead Groover). The guys are from all over the country and are now based out of Huntington Beach, CA. They’ve been a solid unit now for several years and are just releasing their second album Wake Me Up.
Bliss: Tell us about yourselves:
STOFMA: Through the hard work of live performance and constantly writing new material, we have gained a solid fan base and notoriety on the local and international level.
The internet and developments in technology have shrunk not only the world, but also production costs. We've dedicated ourselves to being a truly do-it-yourself band. Having worked with a number of very talented people in the past, we have learned a priceless amount about production and publicity.
Through some trial-and-error and practice, we have virtually created our own in-house production company. We handle much of our own recording and production and shoot and cut our own music videos and promotional materials.
With the abundance of media outlets and social media, we have been able to deliver our music to fans on an international level in a way that would have been unimaginable ten years ago.
The journey that landed us where we are today has opened a lot of doors and allowed us to maintain our own creative visions and ideals.

The New Album

Bliss: Tell us about the album – is it a collection of songs or a linear progression/concept record?
STOFMA: The record isn't necessarily a concept record by any means. The title track Wake Me Up seemed to all of us to be a nice blanket to throw over all the ideas of the record.
The themes range from an awakening from unhealthy situations, to the zombie life, to violence. Most of the songs involve being in some state of numb and trying to get that jolt into a better spot.

"...I think it's a great sounding record. I was very happy to be a part of it."
--Wes Geer, Korn

Bliss: How did the new record evolve? Did making Wake Me Up change you as a band or change your sound?
STOFMA: We’d always wanted to work with a talented and professional level production team and we did work with talent of that caliber on Wake Me Up. We started working with Wes Geer (Hed Pe, Korn) on pre-production just as he was getting ready to tour with Korn on their Path of Totality tour.
Initially, we prepared to record a three to five song EP. As we got further into production, our writing started to take off at an exponential rate. We had far too many songs at that point to settle for an EP, so we went with the full album.
Wes inspired us to explore outside the norm. He had a huge impact on the overall sound throughout the entire process. He never stops creating or ceases to amaze you. He’s a machine.
Bliss side-note - We asked Wes to give us his thoughts on STOFMA and the new album:

"The Star Off Machine record was a lot of fun to do. We tracked it in the world famous A Room at the Village Recorder, where some amazing records have been made.
The band had a very definite vision for where they wanted to take their sound and it was a big departure from their previous releases. As with most bands you are continually striving to get on record what you envisioning in your mind.
As a producer it's my job to help them achieve that vision, help them capture what they are going for and hopefully add some flavor along the way. We had some really cool moments creating.
STOFMA are big fans of Dan Korneff's work and so I arranged for him to do the mixes and he really got the record sounding amazing. He added so much of his signature sound and really took it to the next level sonically.
I think it's a great sounding record. I was very happy to be a part of it."
--Wes Geer, Korn


We flew out to the House of Loud for mixing and post production and had the opportunity to work with one of the best mixers of our time, Dan Korneff (Breaking Benjamin, Paramore, Papa Roach, Adtr, My Chemical Romance).
Dan has got to be one of the most genuine people on the planet. He's a true professional. He has the ability to read your thoughts and put them to track before you get a chance to speak. We sought him out because his name kept appearing on all our favorite albums.
I'll never forget the day he booked us. I felt like we had won a huge battle for the best possible sounding album. Working with Dan was stress-free and enlightening through and through. Our tracks wouldn't have half the power they do now if it wasn't for him.
Mixing with Dan was my favorite step of the whole recording process. We are honored to have worked with him.
Dan also introduced us to Ted Jensen of Sterling Sound. Ted has mastered nearly every major record you hear on the radio today. He added a huge final touch to the overall sound of our album.
All in all, we had a dream team behind the making of this record. They worked on records from some of our favorite artists. Ultimately they took our material and our recordings and raised them to the next level.
We learned a priceless amount about the process, the industry and ourselves in the process. The entire experience was an enlightening journey that made us better on a number of different levels.
What’s your inspiration for the guitar work on the new record? It's very different each song with some cool, unusual sounds. It’s a bit of a departure from regular guitar riffs you hear elsewhere.
Working with Wes Geer added a huge advantage to the guitar writing. Wes is an out of the box thinker. He challenges you to make a better record and to push your limits.
This was key to Robin’s sound on this record. With the help of the production work, Robin was able to express the mood of each song track more thoroughly. Robin doesn’t just get the job done; he adds an exclamation point at the end of every riff.

And now the Bliss Magazine, exclusive, WORLD PREMIERE of the new song Left Behind. Enjoy!



Q&A for the band

Do you prefer playing live or enjoy the studio more?
It's an interesting thing actually...Robin could live the rest of his days in the studio trying out new tricks. Writing new music and improving on the music that we already have.
On the other hand, Erick considers the studio a necessary evil to arriving at new material to perform on a live stage. The stage is where Erick lives.
He would play two shows a day 365 days a year if it were possible and never go back into the studio again if he didn't have to.
Who are your typical fans?
We definitely run the gambit on fans. Our fans range from age 6 to 66. We're not really sure who we are targeting because so many different ranges like us.
We're not saying that everybody from every age bracket love us, just that we have a fan base in every demographic.
The most fun is to watch the children of our fan base start to enjoy what we do. Even though we've only been together for about five years, we've had the unique opportunity to watch some of our fans’ kids come of age and connect with the music that their parents have been following for a couple of years.
It's pretty awesome to watch these young adults come full circle and say, “Hey, mom and dad have been following these guys around for a couple of years and now I wanna follow them around too.”
Star Off Machine | Interview | World Premiere Video | Bliss Magazine Online | Wes Geer | Korn | Papa Roach | Dan Korneff | Breaking Benjamin | Paramore | Metal | Rock | Sycfuk
Who writes your lyrics? How do you collaborate on creating new songs?
Erick writes the lyrics, but not without counsel from the rest of the guys. The flow is indicative of the process of STOFMA. The lyrics go nowhere without the music.
This record was intended to show the "fuck where are we and what are we going to do" attitude of a lot of people in our generation in this country.
We collaborate over all mediums. Sometimes a song is done and is emailed between us…sometimes it is organic and happens in an instant in the studio…sometimes one or two of us sit in a room and fist fight over it in a room…there is no science. It's a case by case scenario.
How about your equipment?
Tut prefers Pearl drum kits and Zildjian cymbals. They translate best live and in the studio.
Robin uses a bit of everything. He has been using ESP guitars more often than not and occasionally he’ll pick up a PRS. Guitar amps are always changing. Mesa boogie is great live amp all around but in the studio, it’s another story all together. The more the merrier!
Experimenting with different sounding amps, if you have the opportunity, is always the most fun. Wake Me Up has five to six different amps being used at various times.

"We wanted people to feel something...anger, sadness, elation, defeat, hope...anything. I think we accomplished that."

Aaron used to use Ampeg amps with an Ibanez bass, but he found a better sound by switching to Mesa Boogie and Schector basses.
Tell us about the industry and how it's changed. How do you produce in a world of free downloads?
I'm sure that we’ve lost a sale or two to the free download syndrome, but it's nowhere close to the millions the big boys have lost. I suppose it is all relative.
The system is the most kind to independent acts as it has ever been. We are able to get our music out all across the world at the cost of basically our time. People still buy music from artists they love.
We reach out to a lot of our fans and develop relationships with them. I think that inspires our fans to be loyal.
Can you tell us about your process in getting signed?
The fun part is we have never had a “process in getting signed.” We said from the beginning that a record deal was not going to be a goal. If it made sense…if it were an obvious next step then we would take it.
We've been lucky. A lot of the goals that independent bands set for themselves we have already met. We've gotten to realize a lot of dreams on our own, without the support of a record label.
If the right arrangement came along we would not be against it though.

Star Off Machine | Interview | World Premiere Video | Bliss Magazine Online | Wes Geer | Korn | Papa Roach | Dan Korneff | Breaking Benjamin | Paramore | Metal | Rock | Sycfuk

What do you enjoy most about playing live? Any funny fuckups from live shows?
When we can be quiet and listen to our crowd sing what we wrote back at us. There is nothing like it. That's when you really know you hit them. You know they were listening.
One time Erick tried to jump onto the drum riser when we were playing Angel's Stadium and he fell on his ass.
Tut had a kick pedal malfunction mid song and was forced to play with the left foot on the slave pedal on the fly. Not something that you really prepare for or are used to doing.
How about the streaming sites like Spotify, rdio or Pandora - how do these technologies change your access to fans?
We love those sites…especially Spotify. It's a chance for people to listen to your entire catalogue. They don't have to steal it. We get paid like two cents, but it is what it is.
You also use APM? What shows have featured your music?
Fox sports, ESPN, MLB network are big ones. The sports channels love our stuff. But we've also heard our stuff on everything from Restaurant Impossible to Auction Hunters to E!, on the news and everything in between. Weird...but awesome.
We've been extremely lucky to get a lot of placements on a lot of diverse stuff. If you think you have never heard us before...chances are you probably have but just didn't know it.
How about your first video. You were concerned about how it might be received by your fans. How’d it turn out?
We started with the idea of doing a song that would be a promotional video for our first single release for the Wake Me Up album.
As we progressed with the ideas and went deeper down the worm hole that is the frightening state of society and youth in our country the video started to take a turn. We had something to say and with our music video, we had the vehicle to do so.
Eventually we completely stripped any images of the band from the project. In the end, we vacated the promotional aspect of the video and ended up with one of the most powerful things we have ever created.
We were definitely nervous about the reaction and possible backlash of releasing the video...the reception was mixed. Some people loved it, some people hated it.
We wanted people to feel something...anger, sadness, elation, defeat, hope...anything. I think we accomplished that.

Watch Wake Me Up here:


If you dig it, you can buy it HERE

The Guys - Meet the band

What type of training/background do you have? How’d you get started?
I come from a family of musicians - both my mom’s side of the family and my dad’s. My dad had been in rock bands most of his life by the time I was born. I was named after Robin Trower ‘cause that’s who my dad was into when I was born.
My dad suggested that I start playing harmonica when I was 9. I picked it up pretty quickly. My parents had me entering music contests and oddly enough, I usually won. I probably had some sort of hidden talent that could have turned into something greater, but… by the time I turned 12 it was time to lose the bow tie and pick up a guitar!
Star Off Machine | Interview | World Premiere Video | Bliss Magazine Online | Wes Geer | Korn | Papa Roach | Dan Korneff | Breaking Benjamin | Paramore | Metal | Rock | Sycfuk

I started taking guitar lessons and learning all my favorite songs as fast as I could. I started a cover band in my basement as soon as I could find other like-minded musicians to jam with. The rest is history.
How do you describe your style?
I have more of a heavy melodic style. I love using syncopated guitar rhythms along with heart wrenching melodies. I’m no Malmstien, but I do put my heart and soul into my work. The result is what you hear. It translates well in the studio and live.
Any advice for someone interested in learning guitar?
Pick up a harmonica. It’ll probably take you further
Do you have any tricks for writing fresh-sounding riffs?
I will turn off the radio, ipod, cd player or any other means of music and do my best to create riffs from as few influences as possible.
For me, this trick helps me move forward without feeling like I’m writing something I’ve heard before.
Which riff or song on this new album are you most proud of (your contribution to the song)?
This is a tough one. I love this record! One riff that stands out would be the main guitar riff in the song Make Me.

The riff really drives the song forward and is one of the more aggressive riffs I wrote for the album. I was really proud of myself when I put that together.
The working title of Make Me was “Super Riff,” interestingly enough.
If I went through your music files, who’s an artist I’d be really surprised to find?
Aerosmith. I was raised on this band. Love them.


How do you describe your vocal style?
It's definitely presentational. My vocal influences range from Jeff Buckley, to Ted Neally. I spill any ugly I’m carrying inside of me into my singing.
It takes all of my energy to do it. I'm completely exhausted when a performance is over and it is the best feeling I’ve ever experienced in my life.
Star Off Machine | Interview | World Premiere Video | Bliss Magazine Online | Wes Geer | Korn | Papa Roach | Dan Korneff | Breaking Benjamin | Paramore | Metal | Rock | Sycfuk
One of the songs from the new album called Lacerate is pretty intense. What were you going for with this one?
Lacerate is probably one of the crazier moments in my life that have inspired a song for me. Without going into much detail, I had a "friend" over to my home one night.
After an evening of wine and philosophy and such he decided to hold a knife to my throat and challenge my will to live, or my fear to die...anyway, he ran out of my house and I never talked to the guy again.
It was just one of those weird and frightening moments in life when you think you know someone and you clearly don't. It was was was even a little exhilarating.
Whatever it was, I got a song out of it.
Which vocals on this new album are you most proud of (your contribution to the song)?
I'm really stoked with the final vocals on Wake Me Up. It’s essentially a pretty straight forward pop/rock song.
I really wanted the vocals to have some acrobatics in the verses to match the up and down flurry of the music. I guess at the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of fun to sing.

If you dig it, you can buy it HERE
Who would you like to work with in the future? Who are your favorite musicians?
Most of my favorite musicians have unfortunately passed on. I'd love to sit in a dirty cocktail lounge with Tom Waits and a piano.
It would be great to collaborate on some material with Greg Dulli (The Twilight Singers) and Mark Lanegan (Queens of the Stone Age). It would awesome to have the next Star Off Machine record produced by Rick Rubin. Hey dare to dream right!?!


Drummers are the backbone of a rock band. Without a drummer a rock song is like a sentence without punctuation. A drummer makes the story come alive. How’d you get your start drumming?
I started out very young playing on my older brother’s drums when he was out of the house. When I was old enough (3rd grade), I tried out for school band to be a drummer.
The music teacher picked trombone for me. Guess I didn’t play enough!! I think my dad later had a talk with the teacher and I got my start in percussion.
I continued in school with concert band, orchestra, jazz band etc.
Star Off Machine | Interview | World Premiere Video | Bliss Magazine Online | Wes Geer | Korn | Papa Roach | Dan Korneff | Breaking Benjamin | Paramore | Metal | Rock | Sycfuk
Which drumming on this new album are you most proud of (your contribution to the song)?
That’s a tough one. I’m really happy with how everything turned out. But if I had to pick one it would be Power of One.
I think the work on this song embodies everything a drummer should be. There really is nothing outstanding about the drumming itself. It’s dynamic and has a groove that just fits - almost as if it were another guitar or voice.

In my view, drums are the backbone but also a supportive instrument and should never overpower the melody. I really tried to accomplish that on this record and am very happy with the outcome.
Who is your fan? Who typically enjoys your music the most?
We have a broad range of fans. We have the guys in the front row ready to jump around and bang on each other...the one's that the music gets them going.
Then there is the fan that listens to the lyrics, sits at the back of the crowd, and feels a different part of the music. We like them both.
I'm sure that is true with most musicians, but we feel like we've been blessed with a very diverse group of followers that inspire us from every direction


Dude, you have to be the happiest bass player on the planet. How do you do it, you’re always smiling?
I am so happy you asked me that! What is there not to be happy about? I have a life I am truly grateful for, a good family, a killer band with some great musicians…’s all good!
Star Off Machine | Interview | World Premiere Video | Bliss Magazine Online | Wes Geer | Korn | Papa Roach | Dan Korneff | Breaking Benjamin | Paramore | Metal | Rock | Sycfuk
You get great support from your family. How cool is it to look out and see your wife and sons in the crowd?
Family is everything to me. My wife is truly my greatest supporter and has always pushed me to never give up on my dream. Seeing all of them in the crowd rockin’ out is, by far, the best feeling ever.
Which riff or song on this new album are you most proud of (your contribution to the song)?
I would have to say Left Behind is definitely. Ironic that it is the new single and new video being released, but it encompasses all of the energy and power that I feel we are capable of putting out musically.

If you dig it, you can buy it HERE
Do you have a favorite kind of gig? Who do you like to play for?
All of them!!.....I just love playing live. I prefer playing clubs like the House of Blues, but I don’t discriminate.
Just seeing one person in the crowd singing the words or just having a good time, enjoying the music, makes it all worth it.
Who do I like to play for?? Everyone who wants a piece of STOFMA!


We want to thank Bucky Bakes and the guys of Sycfuk Clothing for the great wardrobe and providing such a kick-ass location for our shoot with STOFMA. Sykfuk makes truly awesome clothing. Check them out at
Here are a few more of the great clothing and great shots from our photoshoot and of course some of our delicious Bliss Girls.


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