Today’s Feature, November 23rd-24th: Powerspace

November 24, 2007 at 1:18 am (Today's Feature)

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It all began in a pretty common way: Childhood friends Tom Schleiter and Daniel McMahon began playing together around the time courses commenced at Miami (of Ohio) University where they met current Powerspace drummer Kevin Kane. After an exhaustive vocalist search, another Miami student and high school friend of Schleiter and McMahon’s, Alec Cyganowski, joined the group and Powerspace was born.

While the roots are familiar, the result, the sound and the band are not. Fueled by Ramen Records (who has also signed The Academy Is…, Cobra Starship, Cute Is What We Aim For, Fall Out Boy, Gym Class Heroes, Panic! At the Disco and Paramore) saw the exceptional ability behind Powerspace, signed them to a deal and helped them produce their debut album, “The Kicks of Passion.” The record is a sort of “Frankenstein” creation with a complete collaborative quality to it “full of dancing, catchiness, guitar solos, and basically everything else that is good and right in the world.”

One of their singles, “Powerspace Snap Bracelet” was recently featured by SPIN magazine. You can find other “ballsy pop songs” on the record, such as “Sleep Everyone,” “Quarantine my Heart Baby” and my personal favorite “Right On Right Now” (seriously, check my MySpace). And luckily for America, this is a band that loves to tour… probably why they put on a ridiculous show with “lots of energy… a sick intro… and an amazing light show.” TheyÕll be wrapping up their tour with Madina Lake and Mayday Parade soon, so get out and catch them before they take off for Japan in April. Dive into their XXQÕs.

XXQs: Powerspace – Daniel McMahon

Pen’s Eye View: How and when did Powerspace first form as a band?

Daniel McMahon (DM): The band started a little less than two years ago. It was the summer going into my freshman year of college and I was going to be attending Miami University where Tom had already completed a year. We had always wanted to be in a band together and even had a couple failed experiments in the past. So we decided to start writing some stuff. Tom had been playing in a band with Kevin, so he was the obvious choice for drums. We auditioned (and in some cases scared off) a few singers. We settled on Alec, who we had been friends with but never knew could sing until he told us he wanted to be in the band.

PEV: What was it like attending college (Ohio’s Miami University) and putting together a band? Was it hard to manage both simultaneously?

DM: I always felt kind of out of place in college. My heart just wasn’t in it. So when the band started becoming more and more serious, college turned into second priority. I think I would have been unhappy there even if I didn’t have the band to worry about.

PEV: Growing up who were you listening to?

DM: I was always surrounded by music growing up. My parents both really appreciated good music. So from an early age, artists like Bruce Springsteen, INXS, The Grateful Dead, and Genesis all had an effect on me. When I started getting serious about playing in bands, I drew inspiration from the local music in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, which was dominated by more pop punk and post punk bands. Fall Out Boy, 504plan, The Academy (Is…), Knockout, Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence arms. Those bands made me want to be in a band, and also influenced me a ton musically.

PEV: Tell us about Powerspace’s first live performance together. What was going through your heads?

DM: Well when the band started, it was kind of just a fun thing to do. We didn’t really take it too seriously. So we booked this show at a place called Pachinko’s in Oxford, Ohio. We dressed really crazy and we were kind of drunk. We probably played our songs about 30 times faster than they were recorded. It was a lot of fun.

PEV: How have you changed from the first year together to where you are today?

DM: The band has gone from a small part of my life to pretty much all I do. It is still really fun though. I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else.

PEV: Describe to us the first time Powerspace stepped into a recording studio.

DM: In the beginning, that’s all we did. We started as a strictly studio band. We’d sit in this kind of make shift studio in the basement of the dorm Tom and I lived in and kinda write and record at the same time. We didn’t even start playing live until we had like 13 demos recorded.

PEV: Tell us about your full-length debut, “The Kicks Of Passion”. What can people expect from this album?

DM: I think the album came out as a completely collaborative effort. There’s a little bit of each one of us on the record. It’s basically like if you sliced our four brains in quarters and took a quarter of each and sewed them together to make one brain and then you put it in some sort of Frankenstein. And then he recorded an album. The KOP is what you would get. Full of dancing, catchiness, guitar solos, and basically everything else that is good and right in the world.

PEV: How is “The Kicks Of Passion” different than any other music out today?

DM: If you’re referring to the bands that we often are grouped with or compared to, I think the KOP doesn’t really conform to many things you’ll hear from your average “scene” band. All we really wanted to do was make a ballsy pop record, and in my opinion we did a pretty good job.

PEV: What is your take on the current scene of pop/rock music?

DM: I think the scene has its strengths and weaknesses. I wish more kids would actually buy music, rather than steal it. But that’s basically just so I can eat. Also, I think there are just too many bands these days. Sometimes kids just get it in their head that they can pretty much regurgitate whatever their three or four favorite artists are doing and just start a band. I wish people would think a little bit harder about what they want to do before just deciding to start playing shows and plastering themselves all over the internet. On the other hand, I think there are a lot of great bands that get lost in the shuffle.

PEV: How has life on the road been for Powerspace? What are the best and worst parts about road life?

DM: I love touring. It’s literally the only thing I want to do. We get to see so many places I never dreamed I’d get to see. Yea sometimes we don’t sleep and money is tight, but in the end it’s the best thing in the world to do.

PEV: In all your travels, which is your favorite place or city to play? Why?

DM: Personally, I like hanging in Portland, Oregon. The Northwest is a beautiful place to be and that city has this chill vibe about it that you don’t really get anywhere else.

PEV: What do all your friends and family think about your success?

DM: I am definitely blessed with some amazingly supportive friends and family members. I miss them a lot, but they are always encouraging even when times are rough.

PEV: Is there one artist that you have not had a chance to collaborate with that you would like to?

DM: Tough question. At this point, Kanye West.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the guys of Powerspace?

DM: 75 percent of us are single? Wink.

PEV: When you guys get some downtime what can we find you doing?

DM: Alec likes to build and fix things. Kevin likes to read and play Tetris. I like to bum around Chicago. Tom likes to hang out with his girlfriend.

PEV: What can people expect from a live Powerspace show?

DM: Lots of energy. A sick intro. An amazing light show provided by our TM, Bob Debelina.

PEV: What is the best part about playing live?

DM: On rare occasions, hearing people sing the songs you wrote.

PEV: Is there an “up and coming” artist that you think we should all be paying attention to?

DM: I’m psyched to hear the Cab’s new record. We’re actually going to chill with them in the studio in the next couple days. Good dudes.

PEV: In one word what best describes Powerspace?

DM: Sexplosion.

PEV: So, what is next for Powerspace?

DM: Finishing out this amazing tour with Madina Lake and Mayday Parade. Going to see our families for the holidays. Other than that, we don’t have many plans for the New Year besides going to Japan in April. I’m sure we’ll be on tour though.

For more information on Powerspace, check out www.PowerspaceTheBand.com

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