n a pop music culture that is all about celebrity and social media, the curious life of the rock band gets overlooked by many simply because there are no rock bands to speak of that get put out into the public consciousness anymore. It's all country and R&B and whatever else shows like THE VOICE want you to believe is going to fly with the American public. It's a shame because the Southern California based band DARK STATION boasts a sound that we don't hear at all in the current pop firmament. It is a sound rooted in the hard rock raucous that typified post-grunge of the late nineties and early aughts with lyrics that aren't about braggadociousness or moving like JAGGER, but about life gone wrong and then horribly wrong but faced with an optimism that isn't easy to understand yet must be embraced if one is to move forward. The push and pull of life is what the music of DARK STATION is all about and they've captured it perfectly on their debut album DOWN IN THE DARK, an eleven song opus produced by AUGUSTUS CRYNS (BUTCHER BABIES, ANTHRAX, VYCES). Since the album's release in October of 2019, DARK STATION has been showing with world what they're made of and proving that rock is on the rise again with the singles HEROES, VILLAIN, NO LIFE and OBVIOUS, all of which were accompanied by some first rate music videos. ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with DARK STATION's front man NATHAN SPADES regarding the band's debut album. Here is how the interview went.
DOWN IN THE DARK has been out for a few months and from the way things look from my perspective, it seems like it is really connecting with a lot of people. Now that it's been out there for a few months now, how do you feel about the finished work?
I'm still kind of in disbelief. I definitely didn't expect to make what we made. If we had any expectations throughout this process, they kind of flew out the window and when got a look and listen at what we had made in the studio, we were nothing short of proud. I've got nothing but good things to say about how everything turned out.
And have there been any reactions to the album that have surprised you or that you didn't see coming?
We all kind of placed bets on what songs would do the best. There is such a variety of music on this album. Lots of people have listened to our music and have said different things. They all have different favorites and one song is just as popular as the other it seems so it's a really good sign that we have eleven solid songs that people have really taken to in different ways.
CHECK OUT THE MUSiC ViDEO FOR HEROES!!!
CHECK OUT THE MUSiC VIDEO FOR ViLLAiN!!!
Who helped you guys behind the recording console?
That would be AUGUSTUS CRYNS. He's produced for BUTCHER BABIES, ANTHRAX and VYCES. I think he's produced stuff for DISTURBED's bassist too. He went through the whole process with us. We consider him a sixth member of the band. He was awesome to work with and we're already working with him again.
How long did it take you guys to put this album together?
I'd say like definitely over a period of eight months.
Talk about the beginning of DARK STATION. How did all of the right people come together to form the band that you are now?
Our guitarist KYLE is one of the founding members of a band called BEHIND THE FALLEN which formed around 2013. The rest of the guys in DARK STATION were in that band as well. Somewhere down the line in 2017 they parted ways with their vocalist and the bass player ERIC ended up seeing me performing with one of my other bands at a CHAIN REACTION show in Anaheim for Father's Day. A day later he hit me up and told me that his band was looking for a vocalist and at that time I was already in two bands and was putting in a lot of work into both of those bands. But when I saw who these guys were I realized that these guys were a well known band and they had a lot of connections and they knew a lot of people. It seemed like a much better opportunity. So I auditioned for the job and I just hung in there until I got it. So that was the line up for about two years. In that time we released one single and one music video. And then KYLE, the guitar player who founded BEHIND THE FALLEN, had left the band prior to me joining and was in this band called SEPTEMBER MOURNING. Eventually they all wanted to do different things so they split up and KYLE joined DARK STATION. That was how it happened. There was no real plan to make this thing happen. It came together because of one band breaking up and another band breaking up and people coming together to do something else.
And talk about the other members of the band. Tell me who they are and what it is you think each of them brings to the table that makes this thing work?
I'll tell you right now that I think our drummer DYLAN is one of the best drummers around locally and I think he will make his way to the top as we continue to grow. He's got a lot of chops and he's got a lot of energy. Sometimes that is hard to find in a drummer. I think KYLE has all of the guitar performing capabilities that you need in order to be in a band like this. He definitely fits the look. DAVID does as well. It would be really hard without him to back me up, especially vocally because he does the back up vocals and the screams. Not having him there would definitely change the dynamic of everything. ERIC is a solid bass player. He's really got the image down pat and I really love the look that he brings to DARK STATION as well as personality. You need a little bit of that. I think we all do our part to make this something unique.
And what was your musical experience before DARK STATION?
Before DARK STATION I was more into the post-hardcore, metalcore scene. There was a little more screaming to it but there was just as much singing to it as there was singing, although it wasn't quite as radio friendly as this. I was in a band called the MIRRORED ATTRACTION and I was also in another band called FOREVER AND A DAY.
Describe the songwriting process within this band. How do you guys go about it?
It could go either one or two ways. KYLE will bring an idea to GUS and they'll work on it together or GUS will have something and KYLE will help him out with it. It kind of goes both of those ways in terms of songwriting. For the newer stuff, I've been a little more a part of what's going on. There never more than two or three people in this band working on a song together. Too many cooks in one kitchen can make things a little too intense. They're trying to get me in there to come up with more vocal ideas. We're just trying to find a formula. We're pretty early on in the evolution of this group and we're trying to find newer ways to start writing music.
CHECK OUT THE MUSiC ViDEO FOR NO LiFE!!!
CHECK OUT THE MUSiC ViDEO FOR OBViOUS!!!
What songs off of the album stand out for you the most and why?
I would have to say VILLAIN. I think VILLAIN means the most to me because at the start of this whole thing when BEHIND THE FALL was ending I was at a point where I wasn't sure if I wanted to do the whole music thing anymore. That was the biggest thing that I had ever been a part of. At that time it took me a couple of months to put myself into the mindset of thinking what have I got to lose. I think the song means a lot to me because when we made it and I heard it, I knew that this whole thing was going to work. It just had that "it" factor for me. Our music was starting to get better and I started to love what we were doing more and more as the creative process went on while we were making the album. VILLAIN stands out for me just a little more because of that.
I would be remiss I didn't point out the excellent job you guys did with your music videos. Who all did you guys work with?
HEROES, VILLAIN and NO LIFE were made with EREZ BADER and those were all actually shot in North Carolina. We flew out there a couple of times. Once was to shoot the video for HEROES and then we flew out there to shoot the videos for NO LIFE and VILLAIN all in one week. The music video for OBVIOUS was shot by ROBYN AUGUST. He is a great producer!
What is the big idea behind DOWN IN THE DARK? What would you like for people to come away with after they hear the album?
The whole time that we were making this album I was going through a pretty dark place in my own head. I didn't know if what we were doing was going to work. I just went along with it because music is the only thing that makes sense to me. I would hope that the music on this album helps people to find some kind of comfort through my experiences in my dark times and kind of be comfortable with things that aren't certain. There are no certainties in life. We came up with the name DOWN IN THE DARK just because it's all about finding the light in your darkest place and being able to see your way out of any problems that may come your way. That was what I learned from the experience in putting the album together.
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