By Mike Romero
The original launch of Cyberpunk 2077 was plagued by bugs and fan backlash. But the anime adaptation of the game became a worldwide hit and helped heal the brand post-launch, leading to 20 million game sales. Netflix’s Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is what Michael Collins, the drummer of Utah rock band Spirit Machines, was watching when he heard that game developer CD Projekt RED had invited fans of the game to create original music for the upcoming Phantom Liberty expansion.
“I found out about it about a month before the competition deadline,” he says. So the band wrote and recorded a brand new song in a day at Rigby Road studios with producer and engineer Jordan Clark. The result was the new Spirit Machines song “Candy Shell.”
“In the game, you can add cybernetic mods to your body, like lungs, hearts, new bones made of steel, stuff like that,” Collins says. “It all gives you advantages, but if you do too many mods you go insane and basically start murdering everyone with all this crazy tech. The song is about the process of someone living in this dystopian world and using implants to survive and succeed while getting closer and closer to going insane.”
With such a love of the Cyberpunk world and such attention to detail lyrically and musically, it’s no wonder that CD Projekt RED selected “Candy Shell” for the upcoming DLC. The song was so impressive that it beat out 7,800 other entrants.
Now, their song is going to appear in a game that will feature renowned actors Keanu Reeves and Idris Elba. Releasing in late 2023, the game will propel their new song into the homes of millions and millions of people. That’s amazing news not just for Spirit Machines – but for the entire Utah music scene. When one of us wins, we all win. As a big fan of the Utah music scene, Collins agrees.
“The best part about the scene is the talent,” Collins says. “There are a ton of amazing musicians – more than I’ve seen anywhere else. A lot of them are really cool and down to work together.” While he noted that Utah doesn’t yet have the infrastructure to support its talent (we agree!) he noted, “We’re working together to build an environment where talented musicians can get the word out, and that’s exciting.”
Spirit Machines has four members: Pepper Rose (lead vocals), guitarist Dave Crespo (guitar), Sergio Marticorena (bass), and Collins (drums). Together for about five years, Spirit Machines has independently sold thousands of records. The band had their first major success in 2020 when their mashup of Tool’s “Sober” and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” went viral. While “Candy Shell” won’t drop until after Phantom Liberty is released in late 2023, they are currently working on their second album.
Make sure to follow Spirit Machines on Instagram and check out their song “Watch It Burn” below.