I'm starving like a child / I need a symphony /
Let the branches of your life / Spread out like a tree /
See the heights that we can reach / You got to let your baby be"
- Power Boxx, "Touch The Sky"
The lyric from the title track of Power Boxx's debut CD, TOUCH THE SKY, can be applied to the Toronto rock band's work ethic and goals. As lead vocalist Davey Wales puts it, the song is about ?trying to reach one's potential by striving for the dream that's been living inside you. That's what we want to do."
The degree of time, money and energy invested into the band shows that this four-piece outfit is in it for the long haul.
Already in its career, Davey, guitarist Alex Hayes, bassist Guy Carione and drummer Renato Salerno have managed to sell their initial run of 1000 CDs - a feat which is quite impressive considering today's declining music sales. "We have a wide network of friends," says Renato. "Our bass player works for a company that has branches all over Canada and the United States, and I have a large network of friends and acquaintances through my working environment. As such, the band has been able to sell a number of CDs."
The self-released TOUCH THE SKY currently is available for sale on the the band's web site (www.powerboxx.com), as well as at local record retailers, and of course, at the band's live shows. Various tracks off the CD have received airplay on 49 campus radio stations across Canada, according to radio trackers Music Media Network. Commercial radio is the next target, as well as stepping up Power Boxx's live shows.
Counting among its influences Deep Purple, Lenny Kravitz, Led Zeppelin and Rush, Renato says, "We are pleased with our CD. These songs represent snapshots of our lives, and we are putting out a product that we can stand behind. We feel that there is a gap in rock music right now. We are not trying to re-invent the medium, but we're definitely adding our own twist to it."
Alex, Guy and Renato have all known each other for many years. "I would say that's why the band is so stable, as far as our chemistry as musicians and friends goes," says Alex. In fact, Guy and Alex played in a cover band that never made it out of the garage. With Renato, the three put together Power Boxx in 1996.
"We rehearsed and had fun for a few years. We then started to write songs and to develop the band to see how far we could get," says Alex. "Certain song ideas go back a few years; however, they did not really blossom until the current
line-up worked on them."
That line-up wasn't solidified until Davey became Power Boxx's frontman. The band continued to hone its songwriting skills and perfecting each individual part. The singer wrote lyrics to go with the band's music or he re-fashioned existing lyrical ideas.
With enough material for a debut CD, the band spoke to some musician friends about finding a producer, but decided to self-produce. "A lot of them were disappointed after working with a producer. They had been steered in a direction they weren't happy with," explains Guy.
Power Boxx worked with engineer Fred Mauti at Samara Studios, in Maple, Ontario - an experience filled with its own tales. Alex recounts that, "on the song 'Time To Move On,' there's a part that has me playing the guitar with a violin bow. Originally, I tried to do it with a real violin. The problem is that I don't play the violin, and so it really didn't sound very good (laughs). I ended up re-doing the part on guitar and I highlighted certain key phrases with underlying keyboards."
With all six tracks completed - "Touch The Sky," "Cross Codes," "Time To Move On," "Overdrive," "Shake You Down," and "You're A Drifter" - the band enlisted George Graves to master the CD.
Meanwhile, Alex designed the CD cover, which is surprisingly new age and serene for a hard rock band. "It's taken from the lyrics to the title track," he says. When Davey wrote the words, it was written in the context of a guy-girl relationship song. When I read the lyrics, I got something more spiritual out of it. I wanted to illustrate reaching one's true potential and to retain one's innocence - "your baby" - while striving to achieve it."
The band played its first gig at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern and was so well-received that they were asked to play a return engagement. While Power Boxx will continue to work the clubs and promote TOUCH THE SKY, the band is also looking ahead to the next CD project. The band wants to retain many of its current musical characteristics while upgrading the sound quality and production value of its future recordings.
"A lot of bands are trying to capture 'today's' sound," says Alex. "We don't want to chase that 100 percent. I find that if we try to go after that, by the time something happens, another sound will come in. We want to keep our identity and incorporate elements of that into our creative process. Hopefully, the wheel will come round and pick us up where we are at the time."
Check out the artist's website:
1. Touch The Sky
2. Cross Codes
3. Time to Move On
4. Overdrive (The $110 Song)
5. Shake You Down
6. You're a Drifter