The Local 913: Essential Machine


Based in Greensburg, PA, the indie rock band Essential Machine is a family band fronted by husband and wife RJ and Karen Dietrich. The two met at work in 2000. It took some time and courage for RJ to ask Karen to play. 

"I finally got the courage to ask her. We were at work, in the parking garage and I chickened out!I was gonna ask her when I was walking her to the car, but I chickened out. I’m walking away thinking, “Wait a second, dude! Come on!” I turn around and said “Hey, would you ever wanna come over and play some music? Maybe you could sing with me?” And she looked at me like I was CRAZY! So, I thought it was over and I failed. But, then she was just shocked that I did that and everything was cool. She really wasn’t into making music with me until we came up here to Pennsylvania.”

Moving from Florida around 2007, the couple started as Essential Machine around 2009. They have since included their teenage son, Robert into their lineup.

“Robert joined organically. There was not a master plan to do this. He was interested in music and we needed some bass sounds and some organ sounds. I asked him if he was interested and he said yeah. Throughout the years, he’s a teenager now, we’ve talked to him and said “you know dude, this is only if you wanna do this. There is no pressure. This is not something you have to do.” So, we really try and keep it that way. If it’s something he wants to do, that’s cool. And if it’s something he doesn’t wanna do, that’s cool, too.”

Essential Machine’s new album Poison Control is out now. More info at their website. 

Photo by Long Hong