INTERVIEW: How STATION Found A New Perspective After COVID-19 Threatened Their Artistry

INTERVIEW: How STATION Found A New Perspective After COVID-19 Threatened Their Artistry

Rock fans, you’re behind the curve if you haven’t already listened to New York group STATION. Passionate about live performance and giving retro vibes a modern feel, they’re a standout band who have gotten praise from outlets like Guitar World while still staying humble and committing to learning more about their craft.

Vocalist Patrick Kearney and guitarist Chris Lane brought the band together in 2011, inspired by their love of music and classic rock. Along with bassist Emi Asta and drummer Tony Baptist, it was only a matter of time until STATION dominated the underground rock scene. They’ve gotten to play their home city of New York, the Rocklahoma festival (three times, at that), and various gigs across the country!

Most artists were terrified when COVID-19 shut down much of the entertainment industry, but being a band that so heavily emphasizes live music, STATION had to find a way to adapt that would still allow them to stay true to their artistry and focus. After trying livestream concerts like so many other musicians, the group decided they needed a more concrete way of connecting with their fans. Ultimately, they found the perspective they needed in their fourth studio album, Perspective, a ten-track odyssey that explores identity in the pandemic era and includes the energetic lead single ‘Believe.’ 

We at THP believe STATION will be your new favorite rock band, if you’re not already in love with their music. And if you’re not quite convinced yet, we’ve got you! We got to talk to guitarist Chris Lane a few weeks ago about Perspective, how the band has coped with missing live shows, and how they’ve grown as a group in the face of global tragedy.

The Interview

Would you like to tell us a little bit about STATION, you guys’ new album Perspective that’s about to come out, maybe what you’re expecting from the album? 
As you said, we’re a band called STATION. We are based in the northeast, you know, based all around New York City. And although we all kind of moved to different parts of it and New York, we’re releasing a new album. It’s our fourth album [out now] and it’s called Perspective. It’s called Perspective because the songs are kind of about different views on life as things change, and changing perspectives. You know, our style of music is, like, I like to call it just rock and roll, but we definitely have a bit of a retro feel to it, as you can tell by my haircut. We’re very proud of what we’re putting out. It’s self-produced, it’s all done by us, and we’re really happy with what we accomplished with this one.

I love how you always say you’re self-produced because it’s… We’ve been listening to your guys’ stuff the whole week, pretty much ever since we scheduled this interview. And they’re all amazing songs, first of all. You guys are great.
Thank you! Thank you, I appreciate that.

I was also about to talk about your influences, because, like you said, you have a lot of 80s and 70s rock vibes in your music. So what are some of the influences you guys have from that period? Because that’s very apparent in your music.
Well, it’s actually kind of funny because our influences aren’t really bands that we sound like, particularly. For me, it’s a lot of Pink Floyd, and Steely Dan, and The Beatles, and Toto. Our drummer, Tony, is very influenced by Bruce Springsteen and Rush – he has to be, he’s a drummer. Our bassist is very into the blues, and Pat’s into a wide variety of stuff, but on the heavier side of things, like the Maidens and Queen’s Reichs of the world. Our style of music kind of comes from all of our influences together, and then our sense of production, you know, that kind of smooth, big-sounding rock, I think that’s actually what’s influenced more by the 70s and the 80s. That’s our taste in production, not necessarily our taste in songwriting. 

We can actually see a lot of that in everything you guys put out. You also have been called the new wave of classic rock by Guitar World magazine a while ago. How did that feel like? What did you think when you saw that? 
I was really happy about that, that was pretty cool. It was cool because a lot of times when STATION gets compared to other bands, there aren’t that many bands out there that I know of that are playing in a genre similar to us. I mean, there’s a lot of rock bands, don’t get me wrong, and I love a lot of modern-day rock bands. But there isn’t this cultural shift of a band, of a scene. It’s not like, you know, the 90s in Seattle. It’s not like the 2000s in New York and Long Island with emo and stuff. There’s none of that, you know what I mean? We’re not all focused in one area. And to see that Guitar World magazine was grouping these bands all together, it kind of makes you feel like you’re part of a community. And, you know, the company we’re in is amazing. The Struts, and Dirty Honey, and stuff like that. I loved it, I mean, it’s nice to see that there’s a common thread going through rock and roll right now that someone’s picking up on, and I’m very happy to be part of that. 

That’s really nice! And you guys deserve it, because seriously, it is really good.
Thank you!

We also noticed that the two singles that you have put out for Perspective, ‘Believe’ and ‘I Can’t Find My Way,’ they’re very different songs. They don’t sound at all similar. Was that something that you thought, “This is something that we want to do,” or was that, not accidental, but it just happened that way?
There are 10 songs on Perspective and I have to say that they’re all very unique from each other. They’re very, very different. And I love that, I love diversity in albums like that. How we chose to release, well, why we chose to release the singles that we did was mainly from a standpoint of, “What’s the easiest to get out there right now and share?” One of the things you don’t want to do is you don’t want to really release a ballad, because it’s usually… you need to get the rock going first before you get the ballad out. So that eliminated some songs. Then you’ve got, kind of, the “Okay, what’s the easiest song to talk about without having to go into this whole, in-depth thing about the album?” And we chose ‘Believe’ because it’s a pretty simple, straightforward, short song, and ‘Can’t Find My Way’ is very to-the-point as well. So we felt very good about being like, “Okay, before the album comes out, if these are tastes of the album, these are the good tastes to put out there now before people can really dive in.”

Awesome! That being said, those are the two singles you have out before the album. What are the songs on Perspective that no one’s listened to yet and you really are looking forward to seeing their reaction to it?
There are a couple songs for me personally that I love on the album. We have a song on there called ‘Spanish Steps’ and it’s definitely the most… I don’t know. It’s the most we’ve ever played with audio in music rather than just musical instruments, more like recorded audio. So it’s got my Sergeant Pepper’s thinking of adding stuff to it. There’s also a song on there called ‘All Over Again,’ which… the only way I can describe it is just, it’s really strange. It’s almost like it’s two songs sandwiched together, but it somehow works and it’s cool. And it’s got a funky kind of vibe to it, so it’s all over the place. I think my favorite song, from the standpoint of what I’m excited to hear about people’s thoughts on listening to, is a song called ‘Tonight.’ That song has a lot of atmosphere, which I love. It’s got, like, a… if you close your eyes, you can kind of hear a world around it, and I’m really excited for people to do the deep listening to it and see if they like it. 

Well, we liked it!
Thank you! So what’s your favorite song on Perspective?

We would probably say ‘Spanish Steps.’
‘Spanish Steps,’ really? Do you see what I mean though by that Sergeant Pepper-y kind of thing? It’s all over the place then at the end it’s got that whole outro that’s different. 

Right. The outro was really amazing on that song, we really liked it. We think that’s one of the reasons why it’s one of our favorites, just… it’s different.
Sure, sure. Thank you!

You also, in other interviews, mentioned how this is the first time that you didn’t test any material because the pandemic happened and you couldn’t play live for a while. How does it feel releasing this album without the audience’s input on it like you usually did with the other three?
We’ve played a lot of live shows. And we’re very much of the mindset that our recordings are… they’re dense, you know? There’s a lot of stuff going on on them. When we’re on stage, we’re four or five guys, and we do our version of those songs live. So, like, our aim is never to recreate exactly what’s on the record, it’s more of just to bring a live experience to the record, right? We’re almost covering ourselves, if you will. One of the things that I’ve noticed is when we were finishing Perspective, because there wasn’t any element of live music put into it, in the sense of, “How do I play this live?,” it kind of unshackled us a little bit to do whatever the hell we wanted. And I started thinking about that because I think on our first record, we actually suffered from the opposite. In listening to it, I like it, but I also think we could’ve done a lot more studio magic stuff rather than just going in and executing what we see as a live performance of it. This time around, I found that very freeing. I think that that’s gonna be the way going forward, you know? I mean, we’re already working on another album and it’s just gonna be recording music to then bring out, not the other way around.

Love that! The name of this album is Perspective – how would you say your perspective about making music as a career changed from Album 1 to Album 4?
Well, I think that when we did the first album, we knew very little about recording music. We had the pleasure of recording our EP with a legendary engineer, a mixer, a producer, Michael Wagner. And he taught us a lot of things in a very short period of time, but it was more of a psychological kind of thing. The mentality of being in the studio. And that really took us to the first album where we were like, “Okay, we’re gonna do it. We’re gonna be prepared. We’re gonna look for the things.” What no one can teach you is who you are and what your taste is. So when we first got into the studio on the first album, we worked with Anthony and Ray, producers at Westfall, who we still work with in various capacities on different albums. I think we kind of showed up and were like, “We’ve got some songs.” We talk about it, we record them, and we’re like, “We think that sounds good, cool!” And that was how we recorded it, you know? And then there were some magical moments where we’re like, “Oh wow, I didn’t realize that would happen!” Or there were some frustrating moments where it was like, “Why can’t we get this to sound like this?” Flash forward six years, and all of a sudden, we have a much better grasp on who we are. We have a much better perspective on what we want to accomplish. So when we started recording it, and when we finished recording it, we were very satisfied by the fact of like, “Okay, we’ve learned enough to get the sound from here to the recording.” And that’s a big thing because it’s taken a lot of time and a lot of investment, and kind of learning what we like. 

You’ve mentioned your first show live since the apocalypse [of COVID-19] started. How do you feel about finally going back onstage? Are you planning on playing any of your new stuff onstage, or are you waiting after the album’s out to start playing those songs?
The album will be out by the time we take the stage, so we’re probably playing… about 30% of the set will be new songs, maybe a little more. I’m excited about it. I have this kind of weird… I don’t know if it’s a “me” thing or if a lot of people feel this way, but it’s kind of like having a really good friend where, you know, you’re really, really good friends for a very long period of time. But then there’s also a long period of time when you see them last. And then you see them again and it almost feels like you saw them last week, right? It’s almost like no time passed. I feel that way about live music. I talk to the band, I talk to Pat, Emi, and Tony maybe three or four times a day. So it’s not like we’ve missed a beat in terms of knowing each other or anything like that. The live thing though, it’s funny because… I’m very excited to play live, I love playing live, it’s a fundamental part of who I am. But I don’t feel like it’s been a year and a half. I feel like it’s been a month, and I’m just gonna get back onstage. I hope to God that I remember the songs, but after that, you know? It’s one of those things where it’s like… I don’t know, it feels like the last year and a half has been kind of a blur and now we’re just doing what we do normally again, you know? Which is great.

It is great! And we can’t wait for more live performances from you guys because we’ve watched some on YouTube from before the whole pandemic happened, and you guys are great on stage. 
Thank you!

Is international touring something that you want to do? Are there any places you want to visit?
Oh, absolutely! We were actually planning on doing our first European tour in 2020 and, you know, that didn’t work out. Although it’s great that we’re gonna play a show, it’s not really back yet in the way that it needs to be to be consistent. I definitely think we’re on the way out, which is great, but it’s not tomorrow. I think for next year, for 2022, we’re planning on touring and we would love to go international. You know, Europe, and South America, and Japan, and all these places that we had originally talked about being good places to go last year before, you know, the world ended. 

The world nearly ended!
You know, what’s funny about the timeline of all that was that we played our last show on March 5th, and on March 7th, I got very, very, very sick. And it was terrible because I ended up in the hospital and it was one of those things. So we actually had been planning on doing a second leg of Stained Glass touring in May, and what happened was that… and, you know, COVID was definitely becoming a word, but this was before even New York City shut down. This is a couple weeks before that. Basically, what happened was we canceled all of our touring plans because I developed, like, really bad pneumonia. And then everything happened. So we were kind of one step ahead of canceling everything and, you know, then it got to the point where it was like, “Oh no! But by the end of the summer, it’ll be back! Oh no, by the fall! Oh no…” And then, you know, eventually we just gave up, being like, “I don’t know when it’s coming back.”

And then we just don’t know.
Then we don’t know, exactly! So it was kind of, like, a weird timeline because we were ahead of the game in one way, but then at the same time, we were just wondering like everybody else.

And you guys are in New York City. The whole thing just shut down immediately and we can’t imagine what that feels like, especially for artists. It must have been hard. It was hard for everyone, but for people who work in the industry, we can’t imagine what that felt like.
From the band standpoint, one of the biggest problems that this caused was… you know, we’re very fortunate, knock on wood, that we can record music as we choose to. You know what I mean? We’re not really tied to any one thing, so we do it all ourselves and that has kept us sane. From the live music perspective though, a lot of bands started doing livestreams and internet performances, and it just didn’t work for us. It’s not a matter of not wanting to do it, it’s a matter of just… we just don’t love it, you know what I mean? We’ve gotten so used to the volume and the live audience and I mean, anyone who’s ever been to a rock show knows that the person onstage putting out energy is getting the energy back from the audience, and it’s this big thing. It just felt a little sterile because we had tried to do that originally and we were like, “You know what? We’d rather not do something that we feel is kind of, like, 80%. If you’re gonna do it, do it 100%.” So we chose not to do livestreams. We tried to do some live chats and things like that, but we’re so focused on the music and stuff that it became… the only way to reach people is social media, and that’s not really our thing. Social media’s fun, but it’s not our focus by any means. And to take away such a huge part of the band, the live element, and replace it with digital, it was… it still is very, very tough for us. 

We can definitely see why that would be really tough. But speaking of social media, you guys posted a while ago a Throwback Thursday to you filming the ‘A Matter of Time’ music video and said how much you enjoyed making music videos. You ended the caption with “Should we release more of them?” First of all, yes, you definitely should because they’re all amazing. And second, what songs would you guys like to make these music videos for, either from the album that’s coming out or from earlier work that you maybe didn’t get a chance to make music videos to?
We really like making music videos. We’re really big cinephiles, we love film and movies. And, like, when we’re not on stage and we’re in the bus, we’re talking about movies. That’s what we’re doing. So when we make the music videos, we like to make them interesting. And we have a very campy, fun, dad joke sense of humor, so when we make music videos what we try not to do is we try not to appear like something we’re not, you know? We’re not, like, tough, we’re not that. A lot of bands will go with the whole, “Oh, it’s sex, and drugs, and rock and roll!” That’s just not us. We try to go with humor and campy, you know, like the ‘Matter of Time’ video with the werewolf. It’s fun! It’s happy, it’s not dark. 

We filmed a music video, well, about 60% of a music video, several years ago in… I wanna say 2016, for the song ‘I Can’t Live Without You’ on our first album. We might remake the video with the concept, and I can’t tell you the concept because I need it to be a surprise when we release something else. But that was the one time where like, we filmed most of it and then because of issues with filming and just some general issues with the schedule alone, we couldn’t complete it. And instead, we chose to kind of abandon it and move on to filming the music videos for ‘All You Need Is a Heartbeat’ and ‘Never Enough.’ So that kind of moved us into the next set of music and got us away from the first album before we release the second album. That was more of a timing, logistical decision, but we’re gonna probably release more music videos from this album. I would expect one by the end of the year, for sure. I would also expect them to be our taste in music, so not necessarily a super serious video, more of a fun, happy video.

Would you be able to tell us what song you’re planning that music video for, or is that a surprise, too?
I don’t know, should it be a surprise? Well, I’ll say that I really enjoy certain songs on the album, like ‘Tonight’ and things like that, so I would say that maybe that would influence my decision to make a music video for that.

Honestly, the whole album deserves music videos. 
Thank you! You know what’s funny about that, too, is that… again, back to social media, is that it becomes almost a conversation of… because, you know, it costs money to make a music video, and it takes a lot of time. So do you invest in making 10, 4 and a half minute little movies, or do you make 30, 15-second clips that are TikTok-able? It’s such a weird conversation now.

It is! What do you think of TikTok? Would you guys start using it for band-related purposes or just having fun to have a TikTok?
Yeah, we have a TikTok account and I post pieces of music videos or some behind-the-scenes stuff, but that’s pretty much what we use it for. It’s more of a behind-the-scenes outlet. Truthfully, we don’t really have much time to create content. We’re focused on making music and we’d rather find all the different ways of sharing that music, do you know what I mean? I find myself to be very uncomfortable sometimes. Like, I’m not an actor, right? So something I try to really avoid in music videos is acting. I’ll play the guitar, I can do that and I can let you film me playing the guitar, but the second that I get up there and play a part, someone needs to smack me because I don’t do that. That is something that I feel exposes you a bit on TikTok and stuff like that, like, if you’re gonna create content, you’re kind of being an actor. And that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I’m not an actor. I’d rather stick to what I do. I’ll play a guitar solo, but let’s keep it to that.

And it works for you guys. All the content that you do put out on your social media is great because it looks like you guys. 
Thank you! Well, it’s honest. It’s really documentation, it’s not more than that. And that’s one of those things. I always make the joke with Pat where it’s kind of like, if you have to post something and it’s supposed to be reflective of real life, I have yet to take a photo of him eating a sandwich. But at the same time, it’s like, does someone want to see you eating a sandwich? I don’t know! It’s very odd for us, so a lot of what we capture to post on social media is a little bit more after the fact, where it’s like, “We’re recording something. Hold on, get a picture.” Kind of like fly-on-the-wall stuff and not stuff that we try to actually create to post.

Definitely, and that’s the way most social media works, so it makes sense. We’re almost done here, we talked a lot and we appreciate it. Last thing we wanna ask: you guys talk a lot about how you view your albums like a book, with songs being chapters to tell a story. What would you say is the story in the album, Perspective?
Perspective is like a scrapbook or a photo album. A photo album captures a specific period in time. We are very, very aware of who we are as people and how we’ve changed over the decade of working together. One of the reasons why it works so well for us internally is because we’re friends, and we get along, and we’re very similar types of people with very different interests and very different thoughts on things. But we just have this friendship that gets us through. On top of that, we respect each other as musicians, so there’s really no second-guessing of anybody. Pat does his thing, I do my thing, Emi does his thing. And we’re very comfortable being all-in on talking about everything. Our philosophy has always been, like, Tony, our drummer, has just as much of a say on my guitar solo as I have over what he does with the cymbal. It’s a group, it’s a unit. 

With Perspective, it’s kind of a “How do we feel right now?” conversation. How has our perspective changed in the time that we’re releasing it? Because don’t forget, Stained Glass is the opposite. Stained Glass’s message is actually future us interpreting songs that were written by younger us, and how has that changed? This is the opposite where it’s more like, these are current songs in our minds that reflect our current state of being. What do we want to do with them to really bring them to life? And I think that that’s kind of the story. I think it’s a coming of age story, but it’s a story about, like, how did we get here and why are we here? That’s what the commentary on the album is. Why are we here? 

Image Source: Steven Lane

Thank you so much to Chris for making time to talk to The Honey POP! We can’t wait to see what’s next for STATION. What do you think of their new album Perspective? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Wanna read more interviews? We’ve got you covered!

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT STATION:
BANDCAMP | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TIKTOK | TWITTER | WEBSITE | YOUTUBE

Featured Image Source: Photography by Steven Lane. Edited by Momodou Sonko for THP.

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