Michael Brandy, Deseret News
Cody Florence performs with Ex Machina at Sinners and Saints.

For nearly two years, Ex Machina has been making music and playing the Salt Lake-area club circuit.

In a couple of days, the band will compete for a spot on the locals-only stage at X-96's BASh.

"It's a big thing," band manager Steven Candland said. "And this band is ready to do more."

Ex Machina's four members gathered recently at their rehearsal space to talk about influences, goals and the challenges of being in a band when record labels are struggling and myspace bands are on the rise.

The band — guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Robbie Jolley, drummer Micah Alldredge, guitarist Cody Florence and bassist/engineer Chad Walker — came together through networking.

"I wanted to get a band together," Jolley said. "I gathered some friends and started a band, but that didn't work out."

But through his connections, Jolley eventually hooked up with Alldredge, Florence and a bassist named Jerry Hines.

"I moved away for a bit," Alldredge said. "And when I came back, Jerry was in another band."

About that time, Walker, who was doing some production for the band, joined up. Not only is he the bassist, but he's also the producer and engineer of the band's upcoming CDs.

"I knew when I was 3 that I wanted to be a music engineer," Walker said. "After high school I did some dead-end jobs and then went to college and got a degree in music production. I've been engineering professionally for three years and then these guys came along."

Before he joined the band, Florence knew it in an earlier incarnation.

"I liked what they were doing musically," he said. "And I wanted to be a part of it. When they asked me to join, there was no way I was going to let this one go."

The group as a whole cites an array of influences.

Muse, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the late Jeff Buckley, Rage Against the Machine, Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana and Pink Floyd were artists that imbedded themselves into the Ex Machina members' souls.

"I wouldn't be playing guitar if it hadn't been for the Chili Peppers or Floyd," said Florence.

For a few months, the band has been working on two extended-play CDs that it wants to release in November.

The songwriting method is, for the most part, Socratic, although Jolley writes most of the arrangements.

"I bring the songs in and the individual band members add their things to it," he said. "We work together and try to make the best music we can.

"When there is a problem, we take a vote and the majority rules," he said. "And while it's too bad for the odd-man out, it has worked well so far."

"We haven't had any fights," said Alldredge. "And we know we all want what's best for the band."

And what's best is to make good music, said Florence.

"One of the good things for us is the fact that musicians like our music," he said. "That means a lot to us."

If you go ...

What: Ex Machina, Collin Creek, Mary May I

Where: Pier 49, 296 S. Main, Springville

When: Sept. 5

How much: $5-$7

Phone: 801-491-9111

E-mail: [email protected]