The Machete’s Wild Musical Shape Shifting

the machete

The Machete are a four piece band from the southern coastal city Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. The band consists of guitarists Matt Hallett and Dominic Vermeulen-Smith, bassist John Deacon, and drummer Sam Brawn. They came together seven years ago when Matt and Dom, two self-described ‘non-singing musicians,’ decided to form an experimental instrumental group. With a wildly eclectic streak and virtuosic musical chops, the foursome creates wonderfully uncategorizable music for the masses.

This is instrumental music for the people, not the ivory tower, and it shows a complete disregard for the tyranny of labels and genres.

The Machete

“Shape Shifters: Fact vs. Fiction” is the new three song EP from The Machete, released worldwide to all major streaming services in November. The record is an experiment of sorts for the band. The group’s sound is traditionally built around their stage arrangement of two acoustic guitars, bass and drums. On ‘Shape Shifters’ they have incorporated a number of other instruments for the first time, including piano, strings, keys and something called a synth mandolin. Fortunately for fans they have done so without sacrificing any of the intense live energy inherent to their music and intend to include the expanded musical arsenal in their future gigs.

“One Eyed King and the Flying Guillotine” opens the record with a groove that sounds like a lo-fi bass and drum disco jam. However the track soon morphs into a mix of fusion jazz and old world folk music. We very quickly learn that this sort of wild genre hybridization is par for the course in The Machete’s music. This is jam-band music without all the sloppy stoned improv. These guys know exactly what notes they’re going to play, and when they’re going to play them.

“Lost at Sea” follows with some strong Eastern European vibes. If a group of Romani gypsies were to meet Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention in their travels, this is what the ensuing jam session might sound like. Russian folk meets Acid Jazz as the group rides time and tempo shifts with ease. “Claustrophobic Feet” closes the record. The tune opens with a similar feel but then takes a turn into more of a Pop/Rock structure. True to form though, the band soon ventures into more experimental territory with wild unpredictable breaks and a brief return to the disco groove we heard at the start of the EP.

Listen to “Shape Shifters: Fact vs. Fiction” in its entirety below. You can also hear “One Eyed King and the Flying Guillotine ” on the Deep Indie Jazz playlist. Follow the links below the music to connect with The Machete. Get on their socials and get in the loop on all of the music to come from this wildly entertaining and uniquely talented group of musicians. 


Connect with The Machete

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Artist Website


We started The Machete because we love to play and perform. In previous bands there were a lot of rules and we felt like it killed our creativity and ultimately how fun it was to perform. The gigs were poor and the audience small. So we started just playing for the fun of it, performing as a duo at house parties.

We didn’t think that anyone would pay any attention but we didn’t care, it was fun and we enjoyed it. Now were a 4 piece band with like minded musicians and we get to perform at festivals and play the music we want to play and it’s still amazing fun! The fact that others enjoy our music and have such kind words to say about it still amazes us and we are so very grateful for all the support and love we’ve had over the years. We are very lucky. 

Matt Hallett (The Machete)
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Bob Smith

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