Music Existence sat down with alternative pop trio January Jane to discuss their new EP dropping this summer, recording music while in lockdown and how New York City inspired the band’s sound. See our conversation with vocalist Pat Via and guitarist Mitch Mitchell below!
ME: It seems like this EP was inspired in part by New York City. What do you love about NYC and where are some of your go-to places to hang out?
Pat: The New York City streets are running through these songs, so it’s definitely shaped who we are and this EP. I love the competitiveness and the heart of New York, people are here fighting for their dreams, it’s really like no other place on Earth. Some go-to hang out for us? Definitely our studio in midtown which we call the Clubhouse. When things were open before “Wilfie and Nell” in the West Village was one place we’d frequent, fun place!
Mitch: Pat and I used to take turns hanging out of the windows of our Clubhouse, on 8th Ave, with microphones to capture the sounds of the city… so NYC is literally in our music. Many of the pivotal moments in our musical journey ONLY could have happened here, because in “City That Never Sleeps,” there are simply more hours in the night for these chance encounters to occur… It’s astounding what we accomplished @ 3 or 4am here 😉
ME: Do you find your band to be an amalgamation of all the music that has come from NYC over the years?
Pat: I think not only the music, but everything from the train traffic to the clubs, to the late night diner food and after hour bars. This City is all about experiences, so it’s a collection of adventures that really draws our full picture.
Mitch: Our music is certainly a smörgåsbord of our lived experiences in NYC… and we hope, a scrumptious and delicious representation of these events… many of which, in hindsight, seem rather insane! You can take us out of NYC, but you can’t take NYC of our music.
ME: Your sound is definitely inspired by 80s pop/rock, who are some of your favourite bands from that era?
Pat: We definitely overlap with our love of all different 80’s music, but my favorites are Depeche Mode, MJ and Prince. There’s also so much incredible music from every part of the 80’s like Joy Division and Kraftwerk to George Michael, Madonna, Genesis/Phil Collins, all the way to Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine. The list goes on and on for me.
Mitch: When Pat and I were first introduced, we were dumbfounded by the diversity and size of the union in our musical venn diagram. It was everything from Van Halen and Michael Jackson, to Metallica and The Beatles. I love the 80’s, but I also love music from just about every decade… including some decades in the 1700’s… Bach was a beast!
ME: What was the most difficult part about finishing the EP during the pandemic?
Pat: Honestly trying to be productive while being busy spray everything with alcohol! It drove me crazy trying to be as safe as possible, but even then there were no guarantees. Luckily we all made it through, and with music done, we feel very lucky (sprays hands with alcohol just because).
Mitch: Music helped keep us sane during an insane time! I’m glad that we were able to stay productive… we signed with BMG during the Summer, right in the middle of the madness… so it’s certainly been quite surreal, to say the least.
ME: You’re signed with Matt Pinfield’s label Whiskey Vinyl (as well as BMG), what has it been like working with them?
Pat: Imagine having the history of music stored in one person’s brain – hearing stories of all of the experiences he’s had in the music industry, all of the legends he’s worked with and interacted with, it’s something to learn from and draw inspiration from as well. Plus he’s fun to hang out with, we’ve had some awesomely fun times!
Mitch: Matt’s our brother, so from the beginning, it’s really just felt like family. Now with BMG, it just feels like our family got a LOT bigger. Everyone has just been so awesome!
ME: Let’s talk about the “Versions Of You” music video. What was the inspiration behind the video’s colour scheme and visual effects?
Pat: It was really about showing different dimensions of relationships, imagine a love story from the end to the beginning all while chasing ghosts of what was and what could be. We used double exposure to show different versions of ourselves that sometimes can appear from the depths of the subconscious. We had the opportunity to work with Peter Roessler as Director and his team, along with the talented Nicole Sammantha – it was a great experience, especially with everyone testing negative for COVID!
Mitch: Yeah, hopefully that will be the last time we have to bring a mobile medical rapid test team to a video shoot! Lol… everyone tested negative, so that was a positive.
ME: Will you try and bring the same vibe as the music video to your live show?
Pat: Absolutely! We are working on creating our new show using imagery along the same lines as the video. Something about seeing different versions of people, it’s really interesting visually. Maybe stunt doubles? We’ll see!
Mitch: We are really jonesing to get back on stage… I’m shaking just thinking about it! I hope we don’t spontaneously combust when the lights go on 😉
ME: From the EP, what song are you most excited to start playing live?
Pat: Definitely “Your Drug”, it has a great energy to it live, and it’s always fun going through the rollercoaster of euphoria that this song is.
Mitch: I’m most excited to play the first song of the set… the last one will be quite thrilling, as well!
ME: Let’s talk about social media because you guys are pretty active on instagram and have been doing everything from cooking videos to IGTVs and more. Is that a result from pandemic boredom or is it more about connecting with fans?
Pat: Well the cooking was out of necessity for me during the quarantine and also just always wanting to learn and sharpen skills. But it turned into a cool way to connect with fans, and it turns out I love cooking! We’re always trying to keep it creative.
Mitch: Sharing means caring, and we aim to please! We’ll certainly be posting some really cool content in the days/weeks to come, so be sure to follow us across Instagram, TikTok, etc. See you soon!