Spacebar
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Spacebar

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"The Spinnaker (UNF)"

Usually, a spacebar conjures up an image of a long button on a computer keyboard that creates a blank on the screen, an end to one thought and start to a new one, a break between ideas. For anyone who has not checked out the musicians in Spacebar, the word will carry a whole new dimension once their tunes have been experienced.

Spacebar played at Jack Rabbits April 15 and brought the crowd into stellar mode after the second act of the night, SNMNMNM, left fans at a standstill.

"The name comes from something like Star Wars, chilling at a bar in space. Maybe." said guitarist Art Hardie.

The band filled the void between the audience and musicians after the slow opening acts, taking control and rocketing into its set. Hardie and vocalist/keyboardist James Rowand jumped down into the crowd, letting the room feed off the fuel of the band's catchy '80s-inspired rhythms and electronic blends.

"We love '80s music - a lot of rock's best melodies come from the '80s," Hardie said. Hardie said his favorite band of the '80s era was The Smiths. He said the influence of Nirvana, which broke up the electronic phase of the '80s by adding more guitars to the music scene, is the balance Spacebar tries to achieve in its music.

Spacebar is not like most bands where the focus is on the electronics; what this group does is keep the keyboard and digital-music play subtle so it complements rather than takes over songs.

"It's a conscious decision," Hardie said. "We talk about the songs being natural all the time. We try to find that balance."

The musicians rounding out the band's roster are bassist and former New Yorker Steve Schwadron, guitarist and Nebraska native Willie Ferris, and drummer Rob Columbus, who was picked up from the jazz program at the University of Miami.

"James and I met in middle school but didn't meet musically until Wolfson High School, when we began writing songs," Hardie said.

Spacebar has a copious sound, especially since the group has only been together since December 2002. Hardie and Rowand began the group, writing and recording a 10-track demo that became Phase 3, their debut album recorded at The Warehouse and Made in the Shade Recording Studios.

During the set, Spacebar played several selections from Phase 3, including the song "Tonight," in which the constant flow of smooth guitar and lulling vocals of Rowand and his uncomplicated keyboard interludes create a sound unduplicated in this cosmos, at least in this current time period of supernova screech-metal rock that has been taking over the stream.

Another song performed was "Monkey," which swings on the metaphor of an outsider watching a friend suffer from drug addiction. From "I'm all wrapped up/ Because you're stuck in a chemical mind" to "So I heard your plans for coming down/ Back here with us/ It's better than a cage/ Or constant fear that I might see you slip and fall recklessly."

Rowand and Hardie have been writing music together for seven years. With this history, they are able to cultivate songs using lyrics from unused pieces and adding to them. "One part builds on the other," Hardie said. Phase 3 is an ineluctable fusion of lyrics and tunes, but the strength of the album is in the melodies, as they stay with the listener long after they are heard, popping up during classes and study breaks.

"It's all about the melody," Hardie said. "A good melody lasts forever. We try to write so that no matter what the format, people can walk away with a melody in their head. Whether it's with an orchestra or with a piano, our music can go with anything."

- Angela Dryden


"Florida Times Union"

Music from the group Spacebar defines itself as “the dark side of power pop.” Spacebar focuses on the essential ingredients of writing songs that will last forever and reach out to their audience.

Even though all the members have been in other bands like Amplifuge, Mellamoroccans, The Casiotones and The Denizens, it was not until they all came together in Spacebar that the music came alive. Their individual styles range from sounds like Nine Inch Nails to Weezer and even Depeche Mode. Cumulatively as musicians, they maximize the potential of simple song structures by emphasizing melody and rhythm.

James Rowand, vocals, guitar and keys along with Art Hardie on guitar and keys, have been playing music and writing songs together since high school. When they started Spacebar, they recruited Willie Ferris on guitar, then Steve Cordelle on bass and the newest member Rob Columbus on drums.

The name Spacebar was created by Art, who randomly thought of it one day while using the computer, or according to band members “maybe he was sharing a martini with a Martian.”

James Rowand and Art Hardie write all of Spacebar’s songs. “The lyrics express the truths about what goes on when you’re trying to have fun,” stated Art. Spacebar focuses on reality, whether it is the pressures of dealing with friends or meeting new love interests, their songs definitely reflect the real world. “We want our audience to listen and know that we understand where they’re coming from,” explains Steve.

Spacebar is currently in the studio recording a full-length album and planning a full U.S. tour later this year. - Gina Logan


"Movement Magazine"

Pop-punk and nu-metal bands of Jacksonville step aside, and get ready for more of the sort of swooning induced by The Julius Airwave and Cubby -- Spacebar has arrived, crafting songs with pop precision and radiating a healthy dose of sex appeal in the Jacksonville music scene. The band consists of frontman James Rowand on the microphone and keys, guitarists Art Hardie and Willie "No Frills" Ferris, bassist Steve Schwadron and drummer Brandon Denton rounding out this new and welcome addition.

Playing together since last year, the band has been working on a self-released, ten-song album (Phase 3), currently defying accurate description, at Warehouse Studios.

"I think what we're trying to do is like an 80s dance thing, but with distorted guitars and real drums. And good songs," Rowand said.

Adding covers of The Cure's "Lovesong" and Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence" to their own batch of sweet, infectious songs has them on the right track. At a recent show one crowd member commented on Rowand "making love to the microphone," a charge he quickly embraces. A blend of grown-up innocence and flirtatiousness ("Spacebar after parties are top secret...unless you're a girl," says the band) lends interest to their brand of pop.

Spacebar acknowledge that the realm of pop music itself has slowly undergone a dramatic, and not necessarily bad, change. They admit that old Weezer records just aren't packing the same punch they once did. "Oooh-Whoa-Whoa," they collectively moan, mocking the simplicity and repetition of so many back-in-the-day pop hits. As a recent departure from that style, bands like the Faint and the Postal Service have wowed the indie rock community by incorporating more electronics than the average tinkering session - equaling the musicians' share of center stage. However, Ferris makes the distinction that Spacebar is willing to let their music be enhanced by electronics, but not be reliant on them. He found the extent of the Faint's pre-recording of their recent Marquee show irritating. "I couldn't quite shake the feeling that I just paid $14 to watch them dance," he says. The group agrees. "It didn't feel like a rock band, and we want our shows to feel like you're watching a rock band perform," adds Hardie. "We have a vision of something grand and a persistence to reach it. Once the album's done we're going to recreate the sound and make it (the show) a complete spectacle."

As the imaginary lines between pub and club dissolve, the excitement this union can create is not lost on the members of Spacebar. Ready to fine tune their already solid songs for the dance floor, the rest of this year will be spent largely in the studio, tweaking with that goal in mind. Although the spacebar on a keyboard can signify a pause or break in ideas, this Spacebar won't be having any of those for quite a while.
- Rachel Schimp


"Smother"

Spacebar is what a lot of bands ranging from the annoying “The” bands to Rooney have been trying for in the last year or so. With a sound that is pop but with a knack to rock, Spacebar shows why they took their name after arguably the most important key on the keyboard when writing. Recently this Jacksonville, Florida band has played showcases at South by Southwest and as far north as New York City and add their music to the upcoming feature film “The Shed”. The keyboard work is ironically what brings it all together and helps form these cohesive pop rockers into potential chart toppers. But what is even more daunting is that they’ve been together for only a year. Imagine what they’ll do in five! I remember another band that had that sort of talent and potential—the little known pop band The Beatles. Sure this may sound occasionally like what The Police and other ‘80s electronically based rock groups were doing back then but all of them went on to have huge and influential careers. I’d expect nothing less of these guys.
- Jsin


"New Times Broward Palm Beach"

Don't be fooled by its innocent good looks: Power-pop has a dark side, and its name is Spacebar. The band's mix of electronics and indie-rock adds a third dimension to the catchy hooks and melodies essential to the pop aesthetic. Its sound is a result of the band members' varied influences, which range from Weezer and Guided by Voices to Nine Inch Nails and the Smiths. You can check out www.spacebarmusic.com for updates. Spacebar performs at 10 p.m. at Dada (52 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach). Call 561-330-3232. --Jason Budjinski - Jason Budjinski


"Orlando Citybeat"


This is an excerpt from an article that rated us in top 10 appearances of the Florida Music Festival. Over 150 bands played.

Excerpt from article:

"Spacebar – This Jacksonville band deftly infused their melodic indie-rock with nice electronics. The sound was painfully loud though, even for someone as deaf as me." - Bao Le-Huu


Discography

RECORDING NEW ALBUM produced by Pete Thornton to be released in 2005

Phase 3 - 2003 (self produced ep)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Spacebar is from Florida.

The sound is dark, loud, hard, and poppy. The songs are honest and fun. People into Weezer, My Bloody Valentine, New Order, or Snow Patrol dig the sound.

Spacebar are currently recording a full length with producer Pete Thornton (Shinedown, Cold)

The band has played as far north as New York and as far west as Austin and shared the stage with Mae, Enon, Flickerstick, Lovedrug, and many others.