his isn't the first time that we are telling you that the music of the New York City-based hard rock band STATION is more that mere nostalgia, but with the release of their new album MORE THAN THE MOON, it may be the last time we have to tell you. With one EP and a self-titled LP behind them, STATION have stood out from the active rock crowd with a sound that tips it's hat to the halcyon days of melodic hard rock, before grunge came along and uglied it up. The songs on MORE THAN THE MOON do the exact same thing, but rather than taking the tongue-in-cheek STEEL PANTHER approach, it's the heart on the short sleeves of these guys that truly shine through, especially on the album's glorious, VAN HALEN-esque first single I WON'T BREAK YOUR HEART. Lead singer PATRICK KEARNEY walks the line between DAVID LEE ROTH-styled stage presence and HAGAR-styled vocal prowess. Guitarist and chief songwriter CHRIS LANE continues issue the riffage and the leads that can only elevate such delectable pop rock fare. ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with CHRIS LANE regarding the new album. Here is how the interview went.
The album MORE THAN THE MOON is out now accompanied by a fantastic single. I remember interviewing you a year ago and you said you hoped that the sound would mature and it has. In the beginning, it was easy to peg you guys as this "throwback" nostalgia band but when I hear the music on this album, I don't hear nostalgia. I hear something that is more timeless. What do you think?
I write constantly and I think I already have enough songs for a third album. We're at this point where we can all play the songs on acoustic guitar and sing along to them and feel good about them and then when we get to apply that to a studio production where we could add a gong if we choose to. We just go for something that is classic, but I feel like a lot of people want to say that it's an eighties-styled production, but no one seems to agree on that. So to me, it just sounds like music. It's just a reflection of our musical taste.
And more simply, this album puts a smile on my face and there is not a lot going on in rock these days that manages to do that.
There's not a whole lot of stuff in the world that does these days.
CHECK OUT THE ViDEO FOR i WON'T BREAK YOUR HEART!!!
Who all did you guys work with in terms of production?
The band produced it and we worked with the same guys who put the first album together - ANTHONY and RAY at THE MUSIC REFINERY. They own a studio and they helped with production and the mixing of the album. We did the exact same process. As time goes by, we're all getting more and more comfortable with making - not necessarily bigger decisions - but maybe bolder decisions. We have such a good rapport with those guys and we all feel very comfortable with making suggestions. We're okay with being wrong and allowing the others to express that. It's a great environment. It's great to see what ideas come out of it.
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And so far, have there been any reactions to the release of this album that have surprised you at all?
Well, we ended up on the BILLBOARD charts the first week that we released the album, so that was a big thing for us. None of us had ever done that. Given the fact that we released the album independently, which is tough for any band, and to see that kind of reaction was really rewarding. A lot of people have told us that they like this album more than the first album. I don't think they mean any disrespect when they say that. I really just think they enjoy this album more. I think that's positive. My reaction to that is the hopefully they'll like album number three more than this one.
Are there any plans for a tour to accompany the roll out for the album?
We did a short run in May and over the summer we're going to be doing some spotty runs. In July, we're going to be going down to Maryland and in August we'll be going to North Carolina and then Virginia and then up to Ohio. So this summer, there isn't going to be one consistent run of shows, but there are a lot of small things. The Fall is when it's really going to ramp up, because that is when we are going to start expanding into new markets and playing to hopefully new people that we've never seen before.
You said at the top of the interview that you have enough songs for a whole other album. Do all of the songs on this album come from you or is the songwriting more a collaborative process within the band?
The songwriting is all from me. I'm the main songwriter in the band and a lot of times I will bring a song to the guys, but the thing I like about it is that when I present it to them on an acoustic guitar, the song transforms itself into us and not me and I think that is one of the most important characteristics of this band. Someone has got to bring the idea for sure but it's really up to the other guys in the band to help flesh it out.
I could definitely imagine the songs on this album being performed acoustically. Is doing a show of just acoustic performances something you guys would be interested in doing?
It's funny that you say that because actually we perform acoustically a ton. We play about a quarter of our shows acoustically. One of the reasons for that is that we enjoy the aesthetic of it. We really enjoy the lack of volume and the more intimate kind of feel. Also, all of us sing. Instead of having this big loud yelling-into-the-mic kind of thing, it really feels good to strip it back and convey a gentler side to the songs. What we're thinking about doing in September is a FACEBOOK LIVE concert that is going to be completely acoustic with a live studio feel. Because we can organize this thing in advance we're going to deck out the songs beyond just us by having a piano and maybe some strings and all of those sorts of things to enhance the experience. We're hoping to put that on and bring it to the online community. It's very hard to have a show like that travel. Especially for a band like us at our level, because we have fans everywhere but we're not at the level where we can go to every city with this kind of set up. We have to figure out a way to bring everybody to us and doing it online is the way to do it at this point.
And with all of the activity recently, how is the rest of the band holding up?
Everybody's doing well. We all get along very well. We all enjoy being on the road and we very much enjoy the experiences to traveling place to place and meeting new people. What makes it kind of fun and easy is that we look forward to each other's company because none of us is actually very different form one another. We're in similar places in life and because of that there is no one person that makes the other uncomfortable. We're just a bunch of geeks on a bus talking about MEL BROOKS movies.
What is your favorite MEL BROOKS movie?
I think mine is BLAZING SADDLES, but with the band overall, I hear more SPACEBALLS quotes than anything.
How has the fanbase for the band changed over the years? I obviously imagine that it's gotten bigger.
One of the things that has been really cool but very odd at the same time is that we've grown on people that we don't know. That became incredibly clear when we did our May run. We have a very good presence in Baltimore Maryland because we go down there a lot, and I don't know if it's something in the water, but people down there are very adamant in how much they love rock n roll. As we go down there and play a show and when I meet a person there, I will almost always see that person at the next show that we play there and then they become band friends and you start to know more than just the face of that person because you interact with that person. When we played a show in Maryland for our mp3 party it was great. There were a lot of people there and it was great to see them. The next night, we went over to Chicago for a festival there and we recognized a couple of people, but there were so many people there who knew our music and tons of people made us gifts, like woodworking things like signs and giant picks. These were people that we never met and it usually a response like that for us comes from fans whom we've had multiple interactions with. This was the first time that these people were able to see us and my reaction was like "How did you hear about us?" We no longer have to make first contact with every single person. It's a really cool experience because you never know what is waiting for you at the show.
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The music video for I WON'T BREAK YOUR HEART looks fantastic. Who did you work with in putting it together?
The music videos are my little pet projects. I love music videos. We worked with this director IGOR PATRIK and he is incredibly talented with both editing and filming. He and I pretty much co-direct and IGOR is pretty much the editor and director of photography. One of the big challenges with us and music videos is budget. If we had an extra million dollars, I could absolutely see us spending it. But because we have ideas that we can actually whittle down to being do-able, we make them. A lot of the conversations I have with the band aren't about what we can do but about what we want to do and then pair it down to something that is actually reasonable. I was very proud of how this video came out. It was very labor intensive and it took a lot for it to make it happen.
What other songs off of the new album stand out for you the most and why?
I think that my favorite song on the album is EASIER SAID THAN DONE. I don't know why, but I just really like that song. I like that it has a different kind of recording vibe. It's the same thing with the song LOSING YOU. It's a song where we really started to learn how to use all the tools available to us to create a sonic landscape. That is something that is very important to us. We're going to make another album eventually and I think what you'll see more of that. The first album was pretty much the songs as we play them on stage that we walked into the studio with and thought "how do we make them a little cooler?" For the second album, I don't think we played anymore than two songs live before we went to the studio. The third album might be a collection of songs that we've never played live. The songs will just be creations from our minds and we'll transferring what we want recorded in a studio onto a live arena. It's the reverse from where we started. There is so much that you can do in the studio. It's unbelievable. If you can imagine it at this point, you can do it. So we're trying to expand our vocabulary by trying new things out.
From the inception of the band, up until now, what has been the biggest surprise for you?
The thing that has surprised me the most about our experience in how we interact with people is how some people are unwilling to give things a chance but when they are thrown into that situation, they do. One of the things I was surprised by was this. We're from New York City and it is a pretty tough place to play music because in a lot of other places, you get a night where two bands are playing and it's like "Oh no! We're competing with the other band!" In New York City, you're not competing against other bands. You're competing against everyone's social life. You are competing against birthday parties, Broadway shows and other things. When we first started playing, it was a struggle to find a way to stand out and making people want to come to our show instead of something else. When we go to places that aren't in New York City, we're playing in places where people are just hanging out and they don't really seem interested. But, by the end of the show, they've bought a CD. It's amazing to me how we're able to catch people in an environment like that and then having them in our corner when the show ends. I'm sure if we asked any of them if they would buy a CD from a band like ours, I'm sure they would say no. As an avid music lover, if you tell me about something I haven't heard, I'll listen to it the first chance I get. But most people who are not of that mindset won't be out at shows and when you do see them, they are open to it. They just don't realize it.
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