Pop song stockpile leads to Powers

Crista Ru and Mike Del Rio team up in Powers. (Courtesy photo)

Sometimes musicians need a little outside affirmation to convince them that they have a band.

Producer-multi-instrumentalist Mike Del Rio, employed by Alex Da Kid, was sculpting pop songs for artists like Christina Aguilera and Kylie Minogue.

Meanwhile, Crista Ru (his New York songwriting chum who moved to Hollywood at his urging) was penning ditties for acts from Icona Pop to Tim McGraw.

In their down time, just for fun, the pair was composing together.

“We always joked around about being a band, but we were just stockpiling songs. We didn’t really know why, because there was no real purpose for them,” says Del Rio, who, with Ru, formed the techno-funk duo Powers, which plays The City next week. Their Chic-sleek debut EP is called “Legendary.”

Ru barely noticed the considerable amount of material they were amassing. “But every time we got together, we’d end up coming up with something,” she says.

In retrospect, Del Rio thinks the universe forced his hand, roughly two years ago.

One of the team’s early collaborations, “Birthday,” was picked for recording by ex-Disney star Selena Gomez.

“That was just one from that pile of songs,” he says. “But that opened up a magnifying glass for our management team. They were like, ‘What are you guys doing?’ And from there, it just escalated.”

The clincher was landing the bouncy Ru-Del Rio original “Gimme Some” on a J. Crew-themed MasterCard commercial.

“Gimme Some” would become the first official Powers track.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily the sexiest way to start a band,” Del Rio says. “But it definitely forced our hand. In a week, we had to come up with a band name and an actual picture, and we probably wouldn’t have formalized it for a while otherwise.”

The duo then took a year off to formalize its sound, even camping at a Lake Arrowhead retreat for several weeks, which shaped thumping cuts like “Money.”

Initially, Powers toyed with being a cartoon band, like The Archies. But label interest and successful hometown showcases convinced them otherwise.

The members cite their personal eccentricities as key influences. “I had my eighth birthday party at Lips, a drag club in the Village, so I got my sass – and hair and makeup tips – from a bunch of drag queens,” Ru says.

“And for the record, Crista and I are very much into aliens and conspiracy theories, alternate history and alternative news,” Del Rio adds. “We just try to be as aware as possible. It’s a very big part of our lifestyle. And even some of our songs.”


with Powers
Where: Chapel, 777 Valencia St., S.F.
When: 8:30 p.m. Oct. 26
Tickets: $20 to $22
Contact: (415) 551-5157, www.ticketfly.com

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