Ryan Power has been crafting synth-laden pop gems with a knack for unexpected lyrical and harmonic turns for over a decade on his own in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. Following his four, self-released albums, NNA Tapes did us all a favor and put out two Ryan Power full-lengths on vinyl: 2012’s ‘I Don’t Want to Die‘ and 2013’s ‘Identity Picks‘. The man behind these two addictive LPs spoke with us a bit about song-writing and his future plans as his July Snail Ride with Cloud Becomes Your Hand prepares to groove through a number of U.S. cities.
One of those cities is ours, of course, because you know we here at the Boston Hassle had to bring our Burlington and Brooklyn buddies to town for a summer time show at the Cambridge Elks Lodge – July 12th with Chicago’s Cool Memories and locals Saralee and Ian to be exact!
BOSTON HASSLE: It’s exciting to see you hitting the road with Cloud Becomes Your Hand and coming through Boston once again. The connections that have been fermenting between Boston, Vermont, and NYC seem to be strengthening with tours exactly like this one as a perfect example. How did this “July Snail Ride” come about?
RYAN POWER: We met CBYH through Guerilla Toss. Friends of friends baby. We thought it would be fun to share some stages together.
BH: Do you feel that playing your music with a live group of musicians has affected your understanding of your craft in any way?
RP: It’s helped me understand demented psychology better. I love my band.
BH: The harmonies and tonal shifts in your songs, especially on much of ‘Identity Picks,’ are intricate and well-paced. How do you go about plotting the movements in your tracks from one key to the next? Do these decisions come largely from “jamming things out,” or from a more theoretical, formal perspective? Perhaps a combination of both?
RP: I learned a lot about music theory in college and while studying Jazz. Now I just let my ears take the lead and make sure to modulate every 3.3 seconds, so I don’t garner too many fans.
BH: You sometimes engage the lyrical content of your songs with questions and problems that you face as a songwriter, which I really enjoy. A song like “Earth to Fuckface,” for example, does this to some extent. Are these things that you are acutely aware of and thus want to bring into the fold of your creative process?
RP: Not really. That song alludes to critics and press related stuff, but normally I stray away from writing about writing.
BH: As someone who handles multiple different aspects of their own recordings, from vocals, to production, to synthesizers, to guitars, is there a particular part of the recording process that you really enjoy?
RP: Coming up with the song and arranging it.
BH: What’s in store for Ryan Power in the future? Maybe a new release?
RP: I’m currently working on new material for a release that I hope will come out Summer 2015. I’ve been playing guitar more. I still love the pads though. Omnisphere is amazing.
Come dance and croon with Ryan Power and friends this Saturday at the Cambridge Elks Lodge – presented by the Boston Hassle!