In our latest Band Spotlight, we chat to alternative metal legends Powerman 5000. Here, Spider One talks us through the band’s new record, being associated with the industrial genre, punk music and its inspiration on the band, and more.
S] Hey! What are you up to today?
Tackling a long list of things to do leading up to the release of our new record and tour! This interview being the first!
S] What’s inspiring the band now, outside of music – think movies, games, people and places?
Everything inspires me! I like to surround myself with stuff! Books, art, movies! I was particularly into the encyclopedia of new wave last year which is probably why the new record is called ‘New Wave.’
S] How do you look back on the success of ‘Tonight The Stars Revolt’ now?
That success was crazy and very unexpected. We made a record that was not, in my opinion, very commercial and did not expect the reaction that it got. We were not singing about normal things and the vibe and the look of the band was pretty much the opposite of what had been popular then.
Though, I do think, we benefited from that time period in the late 90s when there was an openness in the music business to different shit. It was a very exiting time. Everyone from Korn to Beck, from Sonic Youth to the Butthole Surfers were finding success. We were fortunate to slip in there somewhere.
S] How has your attitude to success in the music industry changed and developed over time?
I can’t control ‘success’ so I try not to think about it too much. The most important thing to me is to create music that I think is interesting and cool. Of course, I always want the records we make and the shows we play to do well but it really is out of our hands. So, honestly, it’s never been about being popular. If popularity comes from what we do, great! If not then I guess it’s not meant to be.
S] How would you say you yourself have changed through the music that you’ve made with PM5K?
I’m not sure how I’ve changed. I feel like the same kid who started back in Boston all those years ago. I still approach everything I do the same way, which is with a very DIY attitude.
S] How does the new record represent the next evolution and/or new challenges for the band?
There is never a straight line in terms of evolving when it comes to creating music. An album just kind of captures a vibe of the moment. For ‘New Wave’ I definitely wanted to make a record that was more rough around the edges. Keep in the mistakes. It’s very easy with Pro-Tools and all the tech to clean stuff up too much. It’s funny, each record seems to get more aggressive and the tempos seem to get faster. Ha. Usually by album number eleven and band is sitting on stools strumming acoustic guitars!
S] Does industrial music still have the same vibrance, and interest to you now?
To be honest, I was never heavily influenced by industrial music. We kind of get thrown in the industrial metal pile but the electronic side of Powerman came much more from 80s new wave than anything else. I was always a big fan of Devo and bands like that and that is where the synth elements came into my world.
S] What about punk music?
Punk is in my blood. I grew up on punk rock and it has shaped me in every possible way. Even though Powerman is not a punk band, the attitude and philosophy of punk infiltrates everything I do. I don’t think I would have ever cared to make music if I hadn’t discovered the Clash or Minor Threat or Black Flag or the hundreds of other bands that showed me a different way of thinking.
S] When will we see PM5K back in the UK?
As soon as possible!!