Introducing Power + Light

Below is an article I wrote last week for the Danish music zine Kølig Atmosfære about Kansas City musical outfit Power and Light. Because the zine is a photocopied, print-only affair and not something I can link to, I got permission from the KA editors to run the English language version of the interview below. While you’re reading the piece, you should go ahead and click over to to hear the duo’s tracks, which have been getting airplay on 106.5 The Buzz and 90.1 KKFI. Magical sounds from some very enigmatic musicians. Read more below the photo, which was taken by Liz Connor…

Post-Industrial Light and Magic from new American Power-duo

(originally printed in Kølig Atmosfære, issue 57)

Power and Light is a duo of Kansas City musicians, Andrew Connor and Nathan Readey. But as many music fans enthralled by the duo’s brand new 3-song EP have been asking, who exactly is who?

“I’m Power and Andrew is Light,” Readey says. “Power is the forces of production, and I’m the producer. Light is the expression of the soul, the Ghosty in the machine.”

Asked separately, Connor replies: “I’m power. No question.”

The collaboration began after Connor played some unfinished songs for Readey, who began loading the tracks into his computer to develop different arrangements.

“I took a lot of liberties with the material he gave me, but I always tried to serve the song so that it wouldn’t just be a remix: i.e. one style imposed on another,” Readey says. “My intention was to bring out what I thought was great about each of his songs, but I also wanted to bring his work to an audience that might not be interested in rock bands, so there was an aspect of genre-bending as well.”

Readey characterizes the sound as “French Pop,” — full of critical aloofness, sexual excitement and thinly veiled contempt. Others place the EP squarely in the nascent genre of “KC Chillvibe,” citing its woozy, pitch-shifting keyboards and whooshing digital drum brushes layered over crisp acoustic guitar work.

Halfway through the song “Earthly Schemes” is an interlude made up of fluttering sounds similar to a pod of singing dolphins. While Readey acknowledged that the peculiar language and dance of dolphins in the South Pacific were an aural influence, he downplayed their symbolic importance.

“In the context of the song, the fluttering sounds refer to the struggling flight of an angel caught in the attraction/repulsion of certain ‘earthly schemes,’ ” he said.

When asked about the legality of sharing a name with a building, a utility company and an entertainment district, the duo stated that they were “treating it as a creative commons type of thing.”

Connor was adamant that it was only a matter of time before Power and Light took the stage at the Kansas City Power and Light entertainment district, which he has played before as the lead singer and songwriter of the band Ghosty.

Readey is more guarded about the prospect, pointing out that the only time the duo has performed a live show together was, ironically, at a mausoleum in Forest Hill Cemetery just off Troost (So far neither artist has performed in Denmark).

“It would only seem fitting that we would play at the aforementioned entertainment district,” he said. “But we don’t really have a band to back us up, so we’d have to build robots.”

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