Smile Politely

Having a blast

Man Made Blast are ready to bring the rock to WEFT Sessions tonight. The show will begin at 10 p.m. and can be heard on WEFT 90.1 FM, or streaming online at

The band, which includes some members of Wasteoid Workforce, is made up of Josh Winters (guitar, drums, train whistle), Aaron Blythe (guitar, drums, backing vocals), Erich Hehn (bass, vocals), and Michael Hogan  (guitar, electrical drums). Josh and Aaron were kind enough to answer some questions by email, and the results are below. They went with a third-person voice for the responses, which is very metal.

Smile Politely: Can you give a little history of Man Made Blast?

Man Made Blast: Yes, they can. They (Aaron & Josh) had always talked about working on a side project. However both Aaron and Josh were always involved with other things. Aaron with “the confines”, with whom Josh did some demo recording, and Josh with his career as an art student at the Art Institute of Chicago, and later as an English teacher in South Korea. Finally in January of this year, both seemed to have no music projects on their agenda. They agreed to make a six song EP and to finish it by summer. So here we are.

SP: What brings you to Champaign-Urbana?

MMB: The utter lack of any decent rock music, and Metallica said so.

SP: Will you go with your standard lineup for the program?

MMB: The answer’s yes. Well, it’s got to be.

SP: Have you played for a radio show before? Any complications or advantages that you expect?

MMB: Some members have with other projects. We expect no complications other than nicotine withdrawal.

SP: How does the songwriting process work for you?

MMB: Aaron and Josh write all the music. The lyrics were co-written with Erich. On some songs, Aaron plays drums and other songs Josh plays drums. There’s a couple ways we write music. One is to jam and record a sketch, then go back and listen to the sketch for anything that stands out as an interesting riff or part, and then take those parts/riffs and rework them a bit until they seem to fit together. The other way is much more mapped out. We like to make diagrams of a song before its been played, particularly when there is improvisation. We’ll make a song map, decide what goes in each part, and then work it till it bleeds yummy sweet sounds.

SP: How would you describe your sound for someone who’s never heard your music before?

MMB: Gritty, improvised, non-linear, solid, riff-oriented, rhythm-based, rock.

SP: Was there a moment when you realized that you wanted to be a musician? How did that come about?

MMB: For Aaron, he was 8. It was the moment he saw the cover of The Eagles’ Greatest Hits, you know the one with the painted eagle’s skull on it (pictured at right)? For Josh, it was when his dad gave him an old acoustic guitar at the age of 13.

SP: What’s a singer or band that you’ve been compared to that you don’t think is representative at all, and why not?

MMB: The White Stripes. It makes no sense. Our sound is much more layered and much less repetitive than the Whites’ music.

SP: What is the greatest album of all time? Why?

MMB: Aaron: Master of Puppets, because it combines great drumming and great riffs to create the ultimate mega-force album. Josh: The Stooges’ Funhouse. First punk album ever.

SP: What was your favorite band when you were in junior high?

MMB: Josh: metallica. Aaron: metallica

SP: What do you do for a living?

MMB: Aaron: carpenter. Josh: thrift store donation coordinator.

SP: What do you like to do in your spare time?

MMB: Aaron: work on music. grill. Josh: build websites.

SP: Would you like to say anything else that wasn’t covered in these questions?


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