My name is Tom Schleiter, I play guitar and sing backup vocals.
How long have you all been together and how did the band come about?
We've been a band for about two years. Dan (bass) and I were friends in high school and played in different local bands, and we used to jam a lot together in different side projects that all had awesome names like terrorblaze, the chain gang, little blue bullets, ect. we were in jazz band together. He played tenor sax, i played guitar. Dan is a year younger than me. Dan's freshman year of high school the jazz band went to disney world to play and we ended up sharing a hotel room. There was alot of pillow fighting and wrestling. I poured garbage all over him while he was sleeping...put pizza sauce in his pillowcase. So, obviously we've been close friends ever since. I went off to school at Miami of Ohio and played in a band there and jammed a lot with Kevin (drums). the summer after my freshman year I was just bored at home writing and recording stuff in my basement. Dan decided to go to the same college as me the next year and we decided that when we got to school we would start a band in the direction the stuff I was recording was headed. We had a long period of trying out different singers before we found Alec. Dan and I kind of knew Alec in high school and I had become good friends with him at college because of that connection. I didn't really know he could sing, but it turns out he has a really loud beautiful voice and a really high range. We played a bunch of shows around the Cincinatti area but spent most of our time in the studio in my dorm writing and recording stuff just because it was something to do besides homework and I was majoring in recording arts basically.
Where did the name Powerspace come from?
We had about 200 awesome band names. Like, really, really good ones. There were so many, and they were all so good, we couldn't decide on one. This is a problem we have alot. After we had a few songs recorded I wanted to put them up on purevolume, but we had no band name. I was sitting around in my dorm room waiting to go to a party, talking to Kevin online about band names and just got tired of thinking about it and said something like "Ok, the next thing you type in here is our band name." I left for the party, Kevin probably went and read some plato. He came back some while later and typed in 'Powerspace' and we've been stuck with it ever since. It's grown on me though, so..
How did signing to Fueled By Ramen happen? How much of a role would you say that the internet played in getting you signed?
It was definitely a big help. Absolutepunk is actually the only way some labels found out about us. As far as FBR, basically it went like this: our friend BA was filling in on drums for the summer because Kevin lives in Green, Ohio. Kevin came in to record the EP then went back to Ohio. BA sent our EP to his friend Nick Scimeca, who runs friendsorenemies.com, equal studio, and is kind of just a modern day renaissance man. He dug the EP and sent it to a few people he knew at FBR and we got a really good reaction immediately. Johnny Minardi, the A&R guy at FBR came to see us play a showcase in Chicago and he fell in love with my smile.
What would you say is the major difference between your EP and upcoming full length?
At this point I decided to start capitalizing things. When we recorded the 'Houston, We Have a Party' EP I think we were focused a bit more on making everything really dancy and I was hell-bent on having the least metal guitar tone ever. For 'The Kicks of Passion' there is still the dance element but we also made sure that it is a solid straight up rock album, and I beefed up the guitars a bit. I’m still into dancy music and electronic stuff as much as ever, but we didn't want to record something that tied us down to a particular trend. Some of the newer songs we wrote were just hard-hitting rock songs so we were kind of headed in that direction anyway.
What bands, past and present, influence you the most on your new record?
Honestly, we're never really sure how to answer that question. But it would probably be pretentious to say that we don't really have any direct influences. We all listen to a ton of music and a lot of different stuff, and I think our record is kind of an amalgamation of all those influences. That said, we listen to the classics as much as anyone, but we're not afraid to say we're influenced by modern bands. When we were writing the record I was listening to like, the Wrens and the Notwist a lot...Ashley Parker Angel, Kill Hannah, Justin Timberlake, the Velvet Teen, VHS or Beta, Squarepusher, the Prodigy, Boys Like Girls, Shiny Toy Guns, TAI, Chicago, Joe Satriani, Phantom Planet... The list goes on and on I guess. I'm not really sure what bands really come through as influences in the final product. Unless you make a conscious effort to sound like another band I think it is hard to listen to your own band and be like, “Oh, we sound like ____.” I think people outside of the band would better at saying who we sound like, because I don't really know.
What made you decide on re-recording the whole EP for the full length aside from just a couple of songs?
We recorded the ‘Houston, We Have a Party!’ EP in less than four days. I think it turned out pretty well considering the limited time, especially "Right On, Right Now" and "Powerspace Snap Bracelet" turned out pretty much as I had always imagined them in my head. The other songs turned out good too but we were incredibly rushed and I think it shows. We spent a lot of time working on the demos to all those songs, and we kind of felt that on the H,WHAP! EP (that’s a pretty funny acronym...never used that before) something from the demos was lost – not quality or production level obviously, but just a general feeling, or energy, or some intangible thing where us and our friends who had our demos weren't really feeling the new versions. I always wished we could have spent the proper amount of time in the studio with Marc on those songs, and in recording TKOP we got to do just that. The way the songs are on The Kicks of Passion is how we always wanted them to sound. We re-wrote some weaker parts of songs, brought back some things we had left out from the demos, ect.. It feels good listening to the new versions and knowing that there is nothing I would change about them.
Two of the songs from the full length that were originally from the EP has made its way to the internet, and the reaction from most has been that new versions are a lot more slower. What is the reasoning behind that, and will that be the case for the rest of the songs that were re-recorded?
We slowed down a couple of the songs very minimally, I was actually kind of surprised people picked up on that, because I actually kind of forgot they were slower...but I've been listening to the new versions so I’m used to it. Anyways, we didn’t just go and slow down all our songs though, so no one has to worry about that. The first two songs online, “Prologue: Adam Beckett” and “Right On, Right Now” were slowed down a few beats per minute and that was a conscious decision. Instead of just taking the exact tempo from the EP songs we went ahead and jammed on the songs and tried out different speeds until we found what music teachers like to call ‘the pocket.' The pocket is basically just where the songs feels right. Right On was a little too fast we felt, so the pocket was a little behind the EP recording. I didn’t even realize Prologue was slower until people online noticed it. I think we sped up ‘It Smells Like Electricity In Here,’ or at least it feels like we did from the EP. Anyways, I understand what people were saying about the tempo changes, because if you listen to two different versions of a song back to back, you’re probably going to dig the faster version. But I’ve been listening to the album versions most of the time and had completely forgotten about the tempo changes until we put the song up in our AP.net profile and people mentioned it to us. I think once people get the album and listen to it a few times it won’t even be an issue which versions are faster or slower. Plus, in the end it doesn’t really bother us which version people like better, we’re just glad people are listening to us at all.
Are you planning on making a music video for "Right On, Right Now?"
As soon as Kevin Costner agrees to our budget. So yes, probably shooting it in July.
What song off the new album do you feel is the one that represents the album as a whole the most?
That’s a good question. Maybe the last track, ‘Sleep, Everyone...’ It’s got a lot of ups and downs, some cool beats, big guitars, soaring vocals, a vacuum cleaner sample..It kind of climbs to this epic peak then just stops completely. It also kind of captures the mood at least I was in while writing the record, which was just basically never sleeping and being stressed all the time. Either that or the new versions of ‘Powerspace Snap Bracelet’ or ‘Prologue: Adam Beckett’ rock really hard.
You guys just finished up your tour with Monty Are I and Amber Pacific. If anything, what do you think you gained off that tour?
We definitely gained a lot on that tour. The guys in Amber gave us a lot of advice about touring and such. They were really good to us. I think the main thing we gained though was intensity as a live band. The first time I saw Monty play I was scared. It was like noon at South by Southwest and they were playing in a parking lot in the blazing sunlight. But they are so tight live and so intense, that we had to step it up a couple notches or else we’d look like pansies compared to them. Steve from Monty has some of the most genius stage moves I’ve ever seen so we all stole some of those too.
Now that your tour with Hawthorne Heights is here, what's the main goal that you would like to accomplish off of it?
Like I kind of said in the last question, we just want to put as much energy out there as humanly possible during our live show. We’ve been working really hard on that and getting tight musically. I’d like to play a Chicago show because I think people would be surprised from how our shows sounded/looked in the past. I guess our goal is that nobody, whether they like our music or not, leaves a show thinking ‘That first band was boring..’ Also, we’re giving away free Chipotle burrito coupons with our album presale, so our ultimate goal is to feed the hungry.
What do you have planned for after your shows with Hawthorne Heights? Do you plan on having a headlining tour anytime soon?
After the Hawthorne Heights tour we are doing a 10-day tour with Envy On the Coast which we’re all really pumped about. Then we’re playing Lollapalooza in Chicago which is ridiculous, considering last year we were basically sneaking in to the backstage area and afterparties we weren’t invited to. We’re also playing a kickoff party for Lollapalooza at Metropark with Motion City Soundtrack. We don’t have any headlining tours in the works, gotta at least get the album out there first.
Now for the last question..if given the opportunity, would you record your next album in a bubble?
Planning on it. Anything to get us out of Marc McClusky’s disgusting basement.
Lastly we wanted to give a shout out to absolutepunk.net: Jason Tate for his excellent webmastering, Ryan Imhof for setting up our AbsoluteEXCLUSIVE, Joe DeAndrea for being a tight person and supporting us, and to DroppedUrPocket, PunkWalker, and Slade775 for posting a lot in the forums.
Haha yeah, that question's kinda lame, but I was always wondering where it came from ever since I heard about'em since it seems kinda random, so I figured I'd ask.
Yeah I'm just kidding around. I agree..when I first heard of them I was like "Powerspace? wtf?" That question was warranted this time. As a fellow interviewer I understand how hard it is to break the mold for interviews.
Wow...I didn't realize Kevin was from Green. I've followed them from their days at Miami after hearing about them through the grapevine. It's nice to be represented from Miami of Ohio though! These guys need to come back and play though!