Powers Makes Music You Can’t Get Out Of Your Head
Crista Ru’s bright red hair is glistening in the sun. She peaks out over her John Lennon-style sunglasses and eyes several dogs passing by. I’m the park around the corner from Los Angeles concert venue The Echo, where progressive pop duo, Powers, is about to play a sold out show. Mike Del Rio, lead guitarist and other half of the band, laughs and informs me that they really want to get a “tour dog.”
On our walk back to the venue, I’m watching Crista walk perfectly in her platform sneakers, never stumbling over a single crack in the sidewalk. As we get closer, there’s a ton of fans already lined up, even though the show doesn’t start for another two hours. But instead of rushing through the door past the fans, Mike and Crista greet every person in line — giving them hugs and thanking them for coming to the show. I’m baffled by their kindness, since normal rock stardom does not seem to include a free meet and greet with purchase of a concert ticket. A young teenager, with a very similar haircut to Mike’s, leans out to tell me that he and his friends drove all the way from Arizona to be here.
It’s in this moment I realize, these two are the real deal. Their hit “The Beat of My Drum” has been spreading wildly all over Spotify and into the ears of fans everywhere. And as they take the stage hours later, I am again left baffled at the talent level; Mike shreds Prince-style on his guitar and Crista jams out groovy bass-lines on the bass guitar, still clad in her stacked sneakers, all while singing hooks that will remain locked into your mind for days to come.
Check out our Q&A with super duo, Powers, below. And listen to their new single “Sunshine,” out now.
Galore: Where did the name Powers come from?
Crista: We had come up with a few different names and nothing was fitting, but music is powerful and so we thought, what about Powers? It feels right, you know? We want people who listen to our music to feel empowered and that was the most fitting word that we could think of.
Mike: We had some terrible band names. Daffy Glamour was the original name of Powers. Daffy Glamour was going to be this cartoon band. I don’t know. Maybe that’s the name of our third album? Who knows?
How did you decide you were going to be a band?
Crista: We met in New York, we played for a bunch of different projects together, so we bumped into each other through that. We had this crazy chemistry and were super drawn to each other.
Mike: I think creativity is best when it’s fun. Like, when you’re five years old and you’re playing with legos or you’re painting a picture, that feeling of making something out of nothing is eternal and timeless. I think the two of us do a pretty good job of tossing that emotion back and forth and I haven’t really found anybody else in the whole universe that I get to do that with.
So everyone hates the genre question – would you say that your music is progressive pop music?
Mike: Yea, we throw this word around a lot: collage. We are influenced a lot by collage artists like Terry Gilliam, who did all the Monty Python films – we are huge Terry Gilliam fans, and the Dust Brothers who chop up stuff. That’s kind of how we work. I’ll sample stuff or we’ll chop up vocal samples, we kind of pick and choose different things and put them in a blender. It’s like a collage pop thing – I hate putting a genre word on it. Obviously, there are things that are made to be Top 40, especially these days, but Pop [music] I would say is more of an award like, when you get to a certain place.
Let’s talk about your new single, “Sunshine.”
Mike: I kind of had a verse melody and had a lot of the production done but I didn’t have a hook or anything. It’s actually Crista [singing] on the hook – people think it’s a sample. It’s her, and she sang it through an iPhone – she said it would be funny if [she sang with an accent], like a crooner in a romantic time period.
Crista: We just wanted it to have that feeling of old-timey nostalgia, just the good ol’ days.
“The Beat of my Drum” has over 25 million spins on Spotify, how do you feel about that and where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever heard it?
Crista: It’s totally amazing and just blows our mind. It’s the coolest thing in the entire world. We try to keep track and every few days we’ll be like how many plays does it have? It’s so exciting. It feels good to know that people are actually listening to it and liking it.
Mike: On Spotify specifically, you get to see what everyone’s listening to, so people from all over the world are finding the song. That’s the beauty of the internet — you can reach a million people in a completely different country with completely different upbringings, but you can still connect on these levels.
Crista: Our friends have heard it in Singapore, my friend was over there working for months and was really homesick and said “I just heard you guys playing and it makes me feel like I’m home!”
Does Fashion have any influence over your music?
Crista: I mean, pretty much whatever I wear on stage is usually worn when I go out and for [Mike] as well. We do plan ahead though.
Mike: I think that fashion is an extension of yourself. It’s a measure of how you view yourself, your self awareness, what you’re comfortable in, and what you’re trying to say. It’s very colorful.
Crista: A lot of yellow and a lot of red. I wake up with red hair, so it’s just kinda there and it makes everything more colorful!
Galore: If you were to appear on MTV’s famed show, Unplugged, what songs would you want to cover?
Crista: “Bittersweet Symphony” by the Verve.
Mike: “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails and like, an old Sinatra tune.
Some people have written that Mike’s voice sounds like Adam Levine from Maroon 5? Have you heard that?
Mike: I have. I think it’s a compliment because he’s an amazing singer. I don’t feel that at all, and I actually hate my voice… [laughing].
Crista: It’s the strangest thing.
Mike: I produce for a lot of other artists, and I think Crista is an amazing vocalist, so I’m surrounded by a lot of amazing talent. The voice is this incredible instrument – I’ve grown to be more comfortable with it as I’ve gotten older. But I work with a lot of incredible vocalists, and so the bar is pretty high. I’ve always felt like I sound more crooner-y than Adam Levine, but I’ll take it.
And some people have said that on the track “Sunshine” that Crista sounds like Billie Holiday?
Mike: Crista is the lady of a thousand voices.
Crista: Yeah, I started as a kid mocking – I was only able to get my parents to let me sing because I was mimicking people. If you ever need a fake Shakira, or David Bowie…
Mike: You do a good David Bowie…
What’s next for you?
Mike: We have our album coming out in September, which is really exciting! Also, a bunch of Sunshine remixes, and tour.
Crista: Finishing up an album with [producers] Rich Costey and Mark Rankin.
Mike: And world domination.
For more information on Powers, follow @givemepowers on Instagram and Snapchat, or check out www.givemepowers.com
The Echo photo courtesy of Mallory Turner