Powerman 5000’s Spider One Talks ‘Builders of the Future,’ Band’s Evolution + More
Powerman 5000 are back! Spider One and his crew are returning with their ‘Builders of the Future’ album on May 27 and the frontman took a few moments to speak with ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie about the new disc.
The vocalist opened up about the journey to discovering their current sound, shared some of his musical influences and also discussed what it’s like seeing culture catch up with the Sci-fi and comic worlds he’s always supported fully. Check out Full Metal Jackie’s interview with Powerman 5000’s Spider One below:
Loudwire Nights, Full Metal Jackie. With us on the show tonight, Spider from Powerman 5000. How are you my friend?
I am great, how are you?
I’m great, I’m happy to hear from you and happy there’s finally some new music from Powerman 5000. Brand new album, ‘Builders of the Future’ coming out May 27. Spider, you’ve been something of a chameleon throughout your career, implementing different musical styles as part of the Powerman 5000 sound. What triggers the direction you take with new music specifically this new album?
You’re right, over the years, that’s been the center of this band is that it’s a very bizarre eclectic mix of stuff. Electronic, metal and new wave, punk rock. Somehow we’ve combined it all to make some sort of sound that makes sense to someone somewhere. Honestly, for this album it was in a weird way trying to not change it that much, which is the opposite of what I usually do. On the last album, ‘Somewhere on the Otherside of Nowhere,’ I kind of wholeheartedly got back to that sound that we created on ‘Tonight the Stars Revolt!,’ which is that electronic mixed with metal, the sci-fi undertone. It felt great to get back to that.
For once in my life I was happy with where the band was at. I felt confident in that’s what we are and that’s what we do. For this album, instead of trying to switch it up, I just wanted to continue with that and make it a better version of that. I feel like the wandering and experimenting is maybe over and finally coming to terms with exactly what I should be doing.
As a kid starting to make music, you were inspired by the minimalist approach of bands such as The Clash and Black Flag. What aspect of that simplicity still inspires you now? How did it affect ‘Builders of the Future’?
That’s where I always start. That punk rock kid in me has never gone away. I’ve always valued aggression and attitude over technique. I just think that there’s — ultimately that’s what great rock music is. Whether you are a punk rock band or a metal band, or an electronic band or whatever it is you do. I always try to start from that attitude, although on this record I definitely tried to push myself a little more vocally. We did some things I haven’t done in the past, in terms of maybe some melodic stuff or sneaking in some subtle harmonies here and there you would have never imagined 20 years ago. It always does come back to that — those are the bands that still mean the most to me. It’s about being authentic and making sure it feels feral and those are the bands, as a kid always felt the most real to me.
Spider, comic book and sci-fi geekiness has become a huge buzz over the past few years. What excites you the most about pop culture finally catching up to the things you’ve been infusing into Powerman 5000 all along?
It’s sort of a double edge sword quite honestly. It’s that weird thing where, I always think about this, when I was a kid, if you wore a ‘Spider-Man’ tee shirt to school you were most definitely getting your ass beat. It was not cool, it was not accepted and it was not popular in the sense it is today. It is pretty remarkable that all this stuff that meant so much to me as a kid — it was like this weird geek club back in the day where there was you and maybe two other kids that understood what you were talking about when you went to the video store and rented some weird horror movie or sci-fi movie. But now, ‘The Avengers’ makes 20 billion dollars or whatever it does.
It’s become such a normal thing. It blows my mind when you drive down the street in Hollywood and there’s billboards for ‘Captain America’ movies, I’d never have imagined that as a kid. On the one hand I love it because it’s sort of got the respect it always deserved and the people that were into that kind of stuff can now thrive. Thrive in the content and thrive as professionals. But I have to admit, I do sort of miss when it was a bit more of a private weird secret that not everyone knew about.
Thanks to Spider One for taking the time to chat. Pre-order PM5K’s new album at iTunes, and check out their current list of tour dates here. You can listen to ‘Loudwire Nights’ with host Full Metal Jackie Monday through Friday at 7PM through Midnight on more than 20 stations across America. To find out where you can hear ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.