This Atlanta based group made up of Jason Kochis, Ryan Paul, and Kayvan Sarikhani has us rocking out to a high energy playlist developed on pop culture that includes tributes to Carrie Fisher, Stranger D&D Things, Scott Pilgram shenanigans, and G.I Joe.
If that isn’t enough to make you want to check this ambitious and playful project for yourself, the diverse collection of tracks on the album, including “Jackie,” were expertly mixed by SAW, who has worked with artists such as, Paws, The Echo Machine and Moon Kids and mastered by Howie Weinberg who has collaborated with, Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins and Beastie Boys to name a few. Take all these ingredients and you have yourself a project destined for greatness.
“Jackie,” opens with the driving of a bassy electric guitar chugging away until the uplifting drums by Paul enter this record giving a full forced introduction it deserves. Kochis’ energetic vocals make you feel like you know the "Jackie" he is singing about in the song and if you don’t, you need to know her.
The power-pop vibes leave us feeling nostalgic and reminiscing on the early 2000’s while tapping our fingers and toes to the instrumentation. The bounce and pep in our step when listening to the first single off of their album leaves us wanting more. When the bridge comes in, you can hear the warm bass of Sarikhani come into the spotlight which leads into Kochis’ vocals with a distant telephone simulated effect that gives the song an out of the ordinary texture before heading into the hard-hitting outro.
As an introduction song, this has us hooked all the way to the end of the album! “Jackie,” brings a type of spirited energy out in all of us, which is enough for us to have the project on repeat.
Hello Hyperspace and welcome to BuzzMusic. Was the plan to always have “Jackie,” as your introduction song and first single off of the project? Jason: Not at all, it actually wasn’t even going to be on this album. I just had a catchy guitar melody I couldn’t get out of my head. I played it for Ryan and Kayvan and it took on a life of its own as they began to add drums and bass to it. During the recording process of our album “Emulator” with Sean McPherson at East Atlanta Recording Studio, Sean mentioned “Jackie” was the standout single on the record. That input planted a seed with us and we eventually agreed to kick off promoting the album with “Jackie”. Ryan: Surprisingly, out of all the songs on "Emulator," Jackie was last-in-line from a collaborative standpoint with the track taking a path of its own. Just like Jason said, he kept playing this riff, and at the time I happened to be listening to a classic guilty pleasure of mine - All-American Rejects. The toms at the beginning of 'Move Along' really inspired my intro in "Jackie." Since forming the band, I can only think of one other instance when a song just congealed with everyone and that's "New Wave Girl" of our first album "And It's You." Kayvan: I suggested the idea of kicking the album off energetically with "Rogue One" and segueing into the moderate pace of "Jackie," but ultimately everyone liked the idea of introducing the album with a song that focused on what the heart of the band was and where everyone's headspace was at the time...that was "Jackie." As Jason said, Sean mentioned the song's quality as a single and it made sense. When choosing the creative content to write about, who in the band usually leads the creative flow process? Jason: Typically I’ll bring a fully formed idea to band practice, then the guys will add their parts to it as we all work on the arrangement. With the latest record though, a lot of the songs were written just by jamming and messing around. Songs like "Baby Baby" and "You Think You're Right" started out that way. Another example was when Ryan was inspired by Blur's song "Song 2" and came up with a really sweet drum beat. I took that beat and created a guitar rhythm to go with it. That collaboration ultimately became the song "Halle Berry". Kayvan completely wrote "Do Or Do Not" a Star Wars-themed song that fits perfectly into our nerdy aesthetic.
Ryan: Lyrics wise, I leave that responsibility to Jason and Kayvan. That's not to say I haven't added some inspiration to a few of our tracks. For instance "Halle Berry" is centered on my obsession with the classic movie Swordfish. Despite its 25% Rotten Tomatoes score, its music soundtrack redeemed some of the cheesier actings, and the cherry on top was Halle Berry's au natural cinematic debut. Kayvan: I'm "the new guy," so most of the songs were already in flight when I auditioned. Former bassist Todd showed examples from songs that we built upon, but ultimately I went off in my own direction. My focus was the song: let's have some bounce, a fill here, a run there, or maybe the song should end a certain way. For example, many songs end with a satisfying resolution, but I thought "Ramona" would be best if it didn't resolve the tension at the end. Or for example, the way "Angela" ended with some bite. In many ways, the closure of a song (and even albums) is just as important as the impact of its beginning. As for "Do Or Do Not," Jason's being too kind. I did have the melody and overall parts, but the final version was quite different. Some things were arranged differently and even after that, the song went in different directions. It's fair to say we all worked on it and contributed, and I believe it benefitted from everyone's input. That being said, songwriting is very important to me and I certainly look forward to contributing material in whatever way I can.
I think the question we've all been waiting for is, who is “Jackie”? Ryan: I'm fairly certain, and by certain I mean largely guessing, that Jackie is… (Jason interrupts) Jason: I would rather keep that a mystery. Mostly because I want the listener to create their own narrative for the song. It might just be me, but when I find out what songs are really about, it changes the meaning and feeling for me. Usually in a negative way, so I would rather let someone enjoy the song as is. Hopefully, someone will come up with an urban myth for the song like Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight". Kayvan: I like Jason's approach - it's interesting for others to have their own narrative. To me, "Jackie" is about unrequited love; she's the one you always longed to be with, but forever unfulfilled. How have you managed to stay motivated and inspired this year? Jason: We were still in the process of mixing and mastering "Emulator" when Covid-19 caused us to quarantine. I think being in quarantine actually kept me focused since so many events were canceled. I was able to finish the album artwork, designing and placing orders for CDs and new merch. I really wanted to release the album on May the 4th, but we ended up moving it back to May 21st. It worked out nicely because that’s also the day Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back was released 40 years ago. Since going into quarantine, we have been practicing virtually with an app called JamKazam. After working out some latency issues, we are now able to practice almost like we're in the same room together. We also got invited to perform virtually at DragonCon. Fingers crossed we get to perform there in person next year. Ryan: As Jason mentioned, all of us have been using JamKazam to practice remotely. Initially, it was very frustrating. Once all of us invested in decent audio interfaces, JamKazam started updating their software. After a few revisions, our latency issues were a thing of the past. While it doesn't completely replace that synergy when practicing in person, something is better than nothing! Kayvan: Quarantine has certainly presented challenges with regards to virtual practice, but it's worked out quite well. I do miss the energy and vibe of in-person playing, but c'est la vie. Performing virtually for DragonCon was nice and I'm hoping we have other opportunities to play. One positive aspect is there is more time for interviews, and we've looked into opportunities to be included in compilations. Jason already brought one new song to the table before Covid-19 happened, so we're continuing with that. I'm always writing and playing, so I've kicked around a few songs as well. Overall I think there's a lot of aspects band-wise that maybe we didn't have time for or hadn't considered previously, so quarantine has at least opened those doors for us.
What can we expect to see next from Hyperspace? Jason: We have a gig set up in March 2021 to open for The Cybertronic Spree and MC Chris at The Masquerade in Atlanta. This show had been rescheduled from this past May. We’d also like to release a music video either for "Jackie" or "Baroness". We're going to keep the fire burning, so to speak; and possibly have a surprise release somewhere along the way.