As the Coppard brother's of Smash Boom Pow were getting ready for their last rehersal before their Peak Performance Project showcase tomorrow, I (Jess) called them up and asked them a few questions. I promise my theme for interviews is not brother bands - it's just a coincidence that so far I've had 2 in a row - who knew that the PPP would become a family affair? Their music is a raw hybrid of garage and electric dance, and it excites me so much to see the duo perform tomorrow on their undoubtedly explosive set they've been building. Here's how our conversation went.
It says on your blog that 2015 will bring a new LP and better shows, how are you planning on delivering on those promises?
Ulysses – Well um, we're putting more time into this than ever before, and now it's not just like a guitar and drums, we play with a midi-synched sub-bass and using more technology. We're trying that out because it's new territory for us... some people were unsure if it was the right move but now that we've done it we got such great feedback.
It's very freeing to have the structure of everything set up in a computer for you and building on a set that you have built out already and that you can build on, instead of songs one by one written on a paper. There's still a live platform to what we're doing. Sonically it's bigger and more modern sounding.
As far as new music, it looks like that EP might be pushed back to 2016 now. When we wrote it, on the website it says 2015, but we probably should correct that.
What was the delay?
Ulysses - Taking the time to release it and after doing the Peak bootcmap we were made hyper-aware of what it is to do an independent release. Especially for independent artists, it's not good enough to put it up online and then start getting press and then get people to pay attention - you really need to set it up.
What was one thing you learned at Peak Boot Camp that you wish you knew?
Ulysses - They made it clear to us that unless you didn't show up for the mandatory talk, they weren't grading you on boot camp, so we just went with an open mind and empty cup trying to learn as much as possible. So I didn't feel like I should have prepared too much, but the big takewaway is that you have to be business savvy. There's only so far you can get making good tunes because you have to build a team around you.
One thing I had no idea really going into bootcamp is that labels aren't picking up bands that aren't already a successful business in terms of sales and reach and all of the things you look at it. You have to build it yourself and be profitable and running your business like a business to some degree. It was good to learn that, and there's so many opportunities that we were made aware of. I had no idea how big a deal having FACTOR is and other forms of funding that they just don't have in the States, and I applied to FACTOR for SBP and my other solo project a few days ago.
What is your solo project?
Ulysses - It's just called Ulysses and it's electronic, dark, pop I'm inspired by James Blake and Jai Paul and The Wknd. I don't do live shows yet, it's just bedroom music.
Are you from a musical family?
Ulysses - Oh yeah. We did a lot of music in the house, when we grew up my dad had a big record collection and grand piano in the house. We always used to just hear him playing throughout the day. He worked form home so he'd always be playing and in our house. We reached a certain age and our parents were like, 'What insrument are you going to play?' Some peoples families want them them to be dentists or doctors and some people want their kids to play music.
So what was that instrument that you first chose?
Ulysses - Piano. We both started with piano, which is a great instrument for songwriting, it's better than guitar. The notes are just buttons, you don't have to move your hand around. Which means that Zane has a great sense of melody - you see him playing drums but he knows what's up.
Did you always know you were going to play together in a band?
Zane - Since the get-go it was like yeah, it will happen at some point. We were focused on it for a good while but around 5 years ago we both played in separeate projects. I drummed in a few bands and Ulysses played on his own and in Johnny Tango and then it was always in the back of our minds. I'm having trouble phrasing this story but I met an interesting, eccentric British man who turned out to be a music producer and... that was the guy. He kind of made it that we were 'Oh, we better start a band now that he's at our fingertips, we'd better utilize this.'
What's your plan to win the PPP?
Ulysses - Umm... I mean really we thought about this a lot actually. We're just going to do a really good job on all of the stuff we have to do and not drop the ball. I was reading an interiew that Evan from Bed of Stars did with a music blog last week and they were asking him and he said 'just don't screw up,' basically. I think that's a super funny and really true piece of advice bcause there's so many things we have to do, from putting on a great show to promoting it to performing well musically and this final report which is quite an undertaking, and constant attention to detail - and beyond that it's kind of out of our hands.
Zane – I think another thing that's maybe out of the ordinary – visualization is important. You can't do anything you don't believe you can do. I was surprised when we first got in, and it's been a process of building up confidence and vision to the point where when you wake up in the morning you're like 'I want to win this thing.'
What are you going to do to prepare for the showcase tomorrow? Do you have a pre-show ritual?
Ulysses - I'm going to check out my outfit in the mirrior make sure I'm looking good. We meditate too so we're going to meditate before we go up.
Did you pick that up from your parents?
Ulysses - They've been pretty into it since the 70's or 60's even. They're not the hippy parents you're envisioning, they're pretty normal but they have some left wing things. They won't impose on us.
Zane - I'm going to get up, get an oil massage, go for a jog, go for a really delicious meal and read a book.
Do you not have a job?
Zane - I just got back from a tour I did with another band like 3 days ago and we kind of booked these 3 days off to just go for it.