Inspiration for “Happy Machine” developed over two years by events that unfolded over that time – from Istanbul’s Gezi park protests (“All Equal”), the jailing of the founders of The Pirate Bay (“Free.mp3”), the Syrian refugee crisis and Europe’s shameful response to it. Album features guest appearances by Manu Chao, Benji Webbe from Skindred, Italian trumpet player and singer Roy Paci, Punjabi singer BEE2, Catalan ska-rumba band La Pegatina and Dzambo Agusev trumpet player from Macedonia. Songs are in English, Spanish, Punjabi and Italian.
What is a Happy Machine? A Happy Machine is, simply put, a Balkan moonshine contraption. This local firewater, called rakija, is distilled all over the countryside throughout the region. Grandfather has his own secret recipe, grandmother has her glass every morning for her health. Drinking fresh-hot rakija straight from the Happy Machine is known to cause instant happiness and other effects similar to an LSD adventure (exemplified in their music video “No Escape”). Yet, this age-old practice has been banned by the EU in recent years, requiring special permits even for producing small qualities for non-commercial domestic use. And has turned normal families into outlaws. “We thought it would help if we spelled out how to assemble a Happy Machine, so we put the blueprint on the cover.” Happy Machine is rant on the freedom of everything – speech, movement, ideas and knowledge, and the struggle of ordinary people trying to protect these freedoms from the relentless soul snatchers. “If we fail at that, at least we have the happy machine to drown our sorrows in.”