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Interview with Hyperspace
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Jason: I have always had music in my life. I remember being a little kid and dancing to a Smurfs record. I got interested in making music in high school when I discovered bands like Def Leppard, Poison, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. On an alternate Earth I would probably be a comic book artist.
Ryan: Truth be told, my mom gave me her Sony walkman. A quick trip to our local mall, and I ended up with albums like Green Day's "Dookie" and Guns N' Roses' "Appetite For Destruction." Combine that with everything I saw on MTV and I was immediately hooked.
Honestly, I can't imagine my life without some involvement in music. Thinking back, during my mid-teens there came a point where I had to choose between dedicating my time towards strictly making music full-time, or going to college. The risk averse side of me chose the latter of the two. These days I'm fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds by having a full-time profession in a field I enjoy and making music with Hyperspace.
Kayvan: I think I first really paid attention to the music from old arcade machines or video games; I just loved the bleeps and bloops and the simple yet catchy melodies. I distinctly remember using this big cassette recorder to record game music from the TV. Afterwards I discovered bands like Metallica, Black Sabbath, and Venom, and just quickly descended into the abyss of death metal. Eventually I started listening to punk rock, both the old stuff from '77 as well as newer material from labels like Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords. And really I just continued to absorb all kinds of things over the years.
In another life I would have liked to be a writer or journalist for National Geographic or something like that.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Jason: When not playing music I am creating art or watching movies. Art and pop culture definitely influence the subject matter of my lyrics.
Ryan: Man oh man, where do I start? Since I was a teen I've been obsessed with building/troubleshooting computers. To this day, it's panned out to be a decent side-hustle. I'm also somewhat of a health nut. You can find me researching various supplements, and work-out routines. Monday-Friday I "eat-to-live," but Saturday and Sunday I "live-to-eat" as a reward, which leads me to my next passion - cooking! If one takes a few minutes to scroll through my IG and Facebook posts, you'll quickly notice I love to cook. From freshly made chicken stock to homemade chili powder, there are no shortcuts when perfecting great-tasting food. Much like playing the drums, I just can't sit still. There has to be a distraction that helps me achieve "flow" (shout-out to Mihaly).
Kayvan: I always seem to find myself fixing things around the house or working on some project. I'm simple though; I just enjoy days out with the family. Reading is a favorite, as well as watching movies or shows. Going on walks and just breathing in the fresh air and listening to the nature around me. Staying up late after everyone's asleep. It's usually in those quiet nighttime moments that I'm most inspired.
How long has your band been around?
Hyperspace first began back in 2011, so the band has been around for 12 years now.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
We're based out of Atlanta, GA. We don't feel that our geographical location really played a role in our music. There are plenty of great musicians in this town, but we're really kind of the oddballs in the Atlanta scene. In actuality, we're probably the only band around here playing pop punk and singing about Star Wars. So musically, probably very little influence. But our DIY mentality and friendliness are possible influences of our location; Southern hospitality and all that...
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Ever since he discovered bands like Nerf Herder, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Red Five, Jason had always wanted to have a Star Wars related band name. Ryan and David (original bassist) were on board with it, so we made a list of 50-75 names and just went through them. Eventually we picked one we all agreed on, and so Hyperspace it was.
Hyperspace is essentially the faster-than-light travel in Star Wars, but it's also vague enough that it could relate to other things.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Wow, there's been so many memorable shows over the years. 2021 had a few. We had the chance to open for The Cybertronic Spree which is a Transformers tribute band from Toronto; they actually have some pretty amazing costumes where they dress up like Transformers and play songs from the 1986 animated movie. The crowd really appreciated our music and the band was really kind to us.
In 2021, we also played DragonCon in Atlanta, which is a massive convention for sci-fi, actors/actresses, authors, artists, comics; if you can think of it, it's probably there. Anyway, we had a great reception that night; it was really fun to see people dancing around in a line with wizard staffs or Star Wars costumes or whatever. A fun time with fun people.
This year, we also went on a small tour of the Southeast; we really appreciated the chance to play everywhere we went, but the Milestone in North Carolina and Will's Pub in Orlando in particular were on fire. It's always nice to get a warm reception and see people getting into it. Just great, great venues with lots of great bands.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Jason: Since the pandemic hit numerous venues have closed in the Atlanta area. A few of the remaining places to play for me are The Star Bar and The Masquerade. Both have really good sound and tons of bands I admire have played on those stages as well.
Ryan: I absolutely loved playing at the Highlander, which sadly is now closed. Performing there was viscerally raw, and intimate as the audience was literally a foot or two in front of you.
Kayvan: I'm one of those weirdos that has fun playing period, whether it's a state of the art stage or a lo-fi setup in someone's basement. I'm not really particular to specific venues, but I would like to check out Boggs Social & Supply in Atlanta.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Jason: Wow! That's a fun question. I'd love to play a show with Superdrag, Matthew Sweet, and Nerf Herder. Hyperspace would gladly open that show (hint hint).
Ryan: Bowling For Soup, Sugarcult, Nerf Herder, and The Ataris.
Kayvan: There's a LOT of bands I'd love to share the stage with, but in terms of just being a fun show I'd totally love a set with Shonen Knife, the Groovie Ghoulies, and MxPx. I think our material would be a good fit with their audiences.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Jason: Have fun and be respectful to each other and other bands. Your peers are your community and we need to support each other.
Ryan: For those just starting out, stick with the big three C's - Communication, Compromise, and Commitment. Heavy emphasis on knowing when to compromise. Advice to myself? Getting private drumming lessons instead of skateboarding so much! :D
Kayvan: Some of my favorite guitars have been super cheap; don't worry about brand name gear or lots of effects. You can go very far with just a decent amp and a cheap guitar or bass; if you can't find a sound you like out of that combo, just familiarize yourself more with the controls. I've seen a lot of people over the years dial everything to 10 and they're surprised when it sounds like shit; learning about sound frequencies and how everything sits in the mix is an important lesson here. After a while, try an effect here and there, but no one really needs a pedalboard like The Edge (except him).
Play, play, play some more. If you're young and have no real family commitments, don't be afraid to hit the road with your band and play everywhere you can. Find a booking agent and be relentless in playing shows. Get to know others that are into photography and video and try to find a way to work with them on a regular basis.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Jason: Don't hesitate and start earlier.
Ryan: Stop spending so many wasted hours on mIRC and ICQ. That time could have been better spent on practicing my chops.
Kayvan: Tackle stage fright early and overcome it. Don't worry so much about playing here or there; just play wherever anyone will have you. Find bandmates with their heads screwed on straight and not full of drugs. Don't let a bad performance come between bandmates; there's always going to be good moments and bad moments, but solid friendships are rare. Oh, and don't start learning jazz guitar and try to replace a power chord with that 7th chord you just learned.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Jason: This one is hard for me. I wrote a lot of the early material/lyrics and it's like asking who your favorite child is. I will say that I fall in and out of love with songs and the meanings of the songs change for me over time.
Ryan: "New Wave Girl" really resonated with me. Despite Jason having written the lyrics, every time it's played it conjures old memories of my own failed relationships.
Kayvan: No idea. I don't think any of the songs hold a major significance to me, but the entire record "Emulator" was special. It was my first recording with the band and I can hear my imprint on it in various ways. I also had a friend who passed that was in and out of the hospital for much of that time period; I remember listening to the various mixes on the way to the hospital each time. The record means a lot, but it's a bittersweet memory.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Jason: Currently I have been into playing "Barbara Gordon" a lot. "Goonies" seems to be our most requested song.
Ryan: Speed to me equates happiness - if it's above 100 bpm, I'm happy!
Kayvan: "Christy" is a very catchy tune and one of my favorites to play; Todd, the bass player before me, created a wonderful bassline to go along with it. I had some trouble wrapping my head around it at first, but now it's one of my favorite things to play. I also really like "Goonies" and "Amidala," which are both just anthemic and full of energy. I really like "Green Eggs and Ham," which I have to push Jason and Ryan to play since they've played it a million times.
I don't know if we really get tons of requests, but I've heard more than a few people mention "Goonies" at shows.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
It can differ, but everyone contributes. Jason sometimes brings in an almost fully formed song with lyrics and the guys would add drum and bass parts to it and tweak the arrangement. Kayvan does a lot of recording at home and likes to bring in fully recorded arrangements of songs. Ryan might show us a drumbeat he's working on; that can become the heart of a song and we build around that. Regardless of who did what, we usually end up changing things; parts might be switched, a chord might be changed, lyrics could be reworded to fit better, and maybe a song should start and stop in whatever way. There's really a lot of little nuances that go into it.
The most recent songs have come together mostly in the practice space. At least one or two have been while Ryan's tuning his drums and Jason and Kayvan are noodling around and we'll say "that's cool, what is that" and go from there. One of Jason's newer ones has the same melody, but what started off as a slower song became a real thrasher after Kayvan and Ryan suggested speeding it up and giving it a bit of a swing in the rhythm. Ryan also had a couple of different drumbeats which became the integral foundation of what was upon it. Really we've all just been contributing during practice and feeding off various suggestions and going from there. We also try to make a simple recording so we can go back and listen to it and see what works and what doesn't.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Well, we've never really had a driving message; we just like to have fun. A lot of our songs are usually about relationships in a sci-fi vein with whatever pop culture geek reference. Some of our songs could be about whatever on the surface, but maybe it's up to the listener to interpret them and decide for themselves. But we would hope that anyone could listen to our songs and could relate to the lyrics; Hyperspace is for everyone to enjoy. So if you're a racist, bigot, sexist, or homophobic we're not the band for you. We leave the politics to the politicians.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Sure, we push each others buttons until we're screaming "fuck" in each others' faces like Lars Ulrich! Haha! In all seriousness though, any band is going to have disagreements from time to time. Sure, we express concerns about things, but we're all friends and adults and we try to find that happy medium to compromise. Nothing is really worth destroying what has been built, you know?
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Currently, we're writing new material; we have several songs already, maybe enough for a small EP and an album. We're not really sure how we want to do that, but we at least hope to record everything in 2023 and go from there. We've also been booking shows for next year and we're looking into whether or not a label can bring any good opportunities.