Many people are using Occupy Wall Street as a way to have a voice and for Canton rapper and music producer Matt “Rook” Telford and his band, Mandrake Mechanism, music is an outlet to express those anti corporate greed sentiments and other political undertones.
“A lot of our songs are very political if you read into them, but I kind of wrote them in a way that if you’re not really looking for it, you’re not going to see it,” Telford said. “I’m kind of going so fast, that if you don’t know what we’re saying, it whizzes over your head.”
When Telford attended Occupy Wall Street in New York, he walked around wearing a bear head, a trench coat and booty shorts for what he called Flash Wall Street, to promote Flash BEAR, a character he created.
Needless to say, the “indie-electro-dance band,” which is headlining Halloween show, “Euthanasia Zombie Apocalypse” Friday night at in Avon, is not afraid to take it to the extreme. Mandrake Mechanism’s music draws from hip hop, rock, electro-pop, jazz and drum and bass.
The band also consists of Mike Macbeth on drums, Chris Anander on bass guitar and Patrick "Tricky" Allers on guitar and vocals, who teach at Downright Music & Art in Collinsville. Macbeth recently competed in the Guitar Center's Regional Drum Off in Manchester, qualifying for the finals in Brooklyn.
If you’re looking for love songs, Mandrake Mechanism does not produce many. They generally look to include a social message. Politics ground Telford’s lyrics, giving them substance.
The name, Mandrake Mechanism, itself is political, referring metaphorically to when the federal government produces money out of nothing.
“Starting off as a white rapper, anyway, you can’t really do stuff. Plus, I came from a jazz and punk background. The punk stuff propelled me toward it. It was somehow always there,” Telford said of having politics in his music. “You can have your bragging stuff, which I hate. I think it’s the most overplayed thing ever. You don’t need to hear people bragging about stuff they don’t really have. ”
Sometimes Telford freestyles over improvisational sections of the band’s songs.
For the Halloween show, all of the groups – Ladyhips, Details, The Arrogance and Mandrake Mechanism will be including some Halloween-themed numbers.
Lady Hips, a Hartt School of Music band based in Hartford, will open the show with a jazz set and “funk-infused originals,” according to a press release about the event.
Telford is producing two of up-and-coming Canton lyricist Detail's songs, the second act in the lineup.
The Arrogance, which rehearses in the old Collinsville Axe Factory building, is a spinoff of Mandrake Mechanism, including Telford, Macbeth and Mike Incillo. They are slotted third.
The show is co-sponsored by Neighborhood Watch, “a new collective of artists, musicians and promoters from Canton,” according to the press release. The group worked on making a stage design.
The show starts at 9 p.m.
And, who knows, the Flash BEAR could make an appearance.