"Cash Machine" is the debut single by English indie rock band Hard-Fi, taken from their debut album Stars of CCTV. It was originally released on 24 January 2005, where it was ineligible in the UK Singles Chart due to the inclusion of a sticker. After the success of singles such as "Hard to Beat", it was re-released on 26 December 2005 peaking at #14 in the UK singles chart and #15 on the US Modern Rock chart. There have been three different music videos: one low-budget for the original release, and two versions for the re-release.
Hard-Fi frontman Richard Archer describes this song as being about "Having no money"; the song however, is much deeper than that, it tells of the kind of life Archer may have lived before reaching success, "Go to a cash machine, to get a ticket home, a message on the screen, says don't make plans you're broke" and "I try to skip the fare, ticket inspectors there." Another issue that he mentions is "What am I gonna do? My girlfriend's [pregnancy] test turned blue (she had become pregnant)... I can't afford to be a daddy so I leave tonight".
Also interesting to note of this song is the reference/adaptation of an old folk song. The lyrics towards the very end of the song are: "There's a hole in my pocket! My pocket! My pocket!" This is an adaptation of the folk song, "There's a Hole in the Bucket." 
The original release of "Cash Machine" was not intended by the band to be chart eligible, instead it was released to get the band radio play and hype for the following release, "Tied Up Too Tight". As a result, it was released with a free sticker, a stunt pulled to force the single into being released. The single sold approximately 3,000 copies, which was about how many copies of the single were actually released and would have reached #40 had it been eligible.
The band had pre-planned to release the song later which turned out to be on 26 December 2005, where it reached #14 in the UK Singles Charts, #15 in the US Modern Rock chart and top 40 in the Netherlands, Italy and Ireland.
The song is featured as part of the FIFA Manager 06 soundtrack.
There are three different music videos for the song.
Directed by Kimberly Frescas
This is the original video which has Hard-Fi's boss "Mr. Big" telling the band that "the reason you boys are so skint is the record company hasn't paid us." He orders them to steal the tapes from a courier at Heathrow Airport. The band, wearing masks of political figures such as Queen Elizabeth II and Tony Blair, end up mostly fighting each other, while lead singer Archer discovers the case believed to hold the tapes. He is then held at gunpoint by the courier, but saved by the other three band members, guitarist Ross Phillips, drummer Steve Kemp and bassist Kai Stephens, who jump on the courier and take the case. The band cover him with Silly String and take the case to a hideout to discover that it contains only the courier's lunch. Archer then exclaims "Oh knickers!" and the others shake their heads in disappointment.
The video is interspersed with shots of the band playing in a field near an airport as large planes fly overhead. It contains a sly reference to their idols the Clash: during the performance in the field, Archer pulls a mask off of Stephens' face - in the video for "Rock the Casbah", when Joe Strummer reveals guitarist Mick Jones' face.
Archer explains that "The budget was less than £1,000. The whole budget was pizza, beer and world leader masks. The rest was favours from friends, but for the second one we had much more money. When we made that single we weren't signed to a major label yet but a small independent (who we're still signed to but have licensed to the major). So we had no money, we'd made this little mini-album for just £300 in a lock-up in Staines on a moldy old laptop that kept crashing. And we thought we needed a single and a video for it. But we had no money. A mate of mine was pretty good with a camera, and we decided to make a Heist movie, because we'd seen a documentary about a heist and the U2 "Beautiful Day" video - obviously that was done with CGI graphics and hundreds of thousands of pounds, but we thought 'Let's use our brains, our resources, what's round us. We live right underneath Heathrow Airport, let's go and do it for real.' So, we scouted the area, worked out which way the planes were flying, and got up early one morning, got the gear over the fence, set up and assessed the risks: Best case scenario, we could get away with it - unlikely; or we could get moved on, that wouldn't be so bad; arrested - tricky; or shot - dead. That's pretty bad. But we were there for about half an hour. The security must have seen us with all this gear, playing a gig at the end of the runway and thought we must've had permission. The hardest bit was we had a portable stereo playing the track to mime along to, which sounded loud in the room but outdoors with a 747 going over your head and the ground shaking you can't hear anything. So, if you look carefully we're all out of sync. And then we'd gone by then. I love it when a plan comes together."
"We were trying to make an impressive looking video with no money. And of course, the airport's on our doorstep so we thought we'd use it. The guy who was directing it went into the visitors centre and said 'I'm moving into the area. Can you tell me where the planes will be coming in tomorrow cos I want to know how they relate to the house I'm buying.' So we found out which way they were coming in, got the gear over the fence and set it up thinking that any minute now, we'll be out of here and it will be all over. But I think the people who saw us - a band set up and playing music - though they must have permission otherwise it's too ridiculous, so they left us to get on with it. So we got what we needed then quickly got out of there."
Directed by Dougal Wilson
This is the second video made, but is the one most often used on television. This due to that many channels would not play either of the other two as they feature too much illegal activity. This video is a more literal interpretation of the lyrics of the song (for example, Archer using a mobile phone while singing "I try to phone a friend - my credit's in the red"). It also shows the interior of a cash machine staffed by miniature humans, including the four band members, who are working in conditions akin to coal mines. The images are similar to the Fire planet from season 3 of the science fantasy television series Lexx. The video shows these people involved in all steps of making the money, from cutting down the trees used for the paper, to painting the money, to pushing it through the slot when someone requires it. The workers finally rebel, and destroy the interior of the machine in a series of explosions. Life-sized Archer comes to the machine shortly after these events and, finding a message declaring the machine out of service, again proclaims, "Oh knickers!"
Dougal Wilson, the director of the video, is also known for directing "Fit But You Know It" by The Streets, "Dream" by Dizzee Rascal, "Life in Technicolour II" by Coldplay and "Tribulations" by LCD Soundsystem.
Directed by Ben Crook
The third video is an X-rated version of the video which the band put up as a download for mobile phones and is still available on iTunes. The video follows a ten-pound note through several owners. It begins with Archer getting the note from a cash machine and giving it to a friend. The friend uses it to buy a beer. The bartender keeps the note in his back pocket and puts it toward buying drugs. The drug dealer collects money from a man on the street and gives the note as change. The man's wallet is pinched by a woman and given to another man, who takes the note from and takes it into a stripclub. A stripper's breasts are pixelated after she takes off her bra and the man holds the note out in front of her, begging her to go fully naked. The stripper takes the note, but it is taken from her by the club owner. He accidentally drops it in the alley behind the club, where it is again found by Archer. After examining it for a few seconds, he walks off with it and the video ends. Archer is the only Hard-Fi member to appear in this video.
Archer said, "When you first buy a mobile phone what's the first thing you do? Most of the traffic on mobile phones is obviously pornography, and we're just filling the niche between pornography and music, put them together and there you find the alternative Cash Machine video."
Cash Machine has been listed for 12 weeks on the UK Singles Chart, 4 weeks in the Germany Singles Top 100 3 weeks in the Italian Top 50, 2 weeks in the Irish Top 50 and 1 week in the Swedish Top 60 . It entered the UK singles chart at #14 on 3 January 2006.
|UK Singles Chart||14|
|US Modern Rock||15|
|Italian Singles Chart||25|
|Dutch Top 50||35|
|Ireland Singles Top 50||39|
|Sweden Singles Top 60||60|
|Germany Singles Top 100||75|