January Jane look to the 80s while kicking off a new era of their career with “Versions of You,” a synth-infused track from their upcoming EP Your Drug, due this summer. The band dropped the song’s electrifying music video earlier this month, using double-exposure shots to mirror the lyrics about duality and perspective.
“Like the title, there’s a few different meanings behind it,” the band told Play Too Much. “It’s versions of who you are, of life, love, relationships. More importantly, what does it mean to you?”
January Jane came together when vocalist Pat Via and guitarist Mitch C. Mitchell met at a New York art gallery, then met up the next day and wrote a song within 10 minutes. They later attended a private event in the Meatpacking District together, where they met their keyboardist, Peter Scialla. The band’s adventures in the city culminated in the aptly named track “NYC,” which celebrates New York’s nightlife with a retro flair reminiscent of The 1975 and The Driver Era.
“We’ve come to the conclusion that our song ‘NYC’ is our homage to the endless party that is New York,” Pat shares. “Now get in that 1980s limo and live it up!”
Mitch adds, “At this point, It would be near-impossible to exclude NYC from our music. It’s in our blood. We also hung out of the windows in our Midtown studio with microphones to capture the sounds of the city, so NYC is literally in our music.”
Even while staying grounded in New York, where they once sold out the famous Gramercy Theater, the band has found national success that led them to a performance at Texas’ SXSW, and they’re eager to get back onstage once venues start opening back up. Staying true to the group’s NY roots, Pat says, “Playing Madison Square Garden has always been a dream. To me, that’s one of the greatest stages on Earth.”
If “Versions of You” and Your Drug are any indication, it won’t be long until the group is rocking MSG. You can find “Versions of You” on your favorite streaming services now and connect with January Jane on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Look out for Your Drug, out via Whiskey Vinyl and BMG, this summer, and keep reading for more from our interview with the band.
Your new single, “Versions of You,” plays on the idea that everyone can influence reality and how others see them. Why did you choose this song as your first release from the EP?
Pat: We were fortunate to have BMG and Matt Pinfield going through all our tracks and giving us insight, and we always felt it had a great energy to it to start the listener’s ride with us on this new adventure.
Mitch: Writing, recording, and performing music is one thing, but choosing singles and album track order, well, that’s an entirely different beast. Luckily, we have the great Matt Pinfield to help with those eternal questions. Matt’s our brother, and we’ve known him long enough to know that he knows what’s up.
What’s a “Version of You” you want to show more of to the world?
Pat: Our live show! That’s a version of ourselves where we can be in our element. There’s nothing like connecting with an audience.
Mitch: Yeah, definitely the version of us that’s back on stage! Most of what we do is an excuse and a vehicle to get on stage and connect with the audience, so we are definitely jonesing for that at the moment.
New York City has been a fairly instrumental part of your evolution as a band, between meeting in New York and selling out venues like the famous Gramercy Theater. Was it intimidating to wrap up the excitement of those experiences on “NYC,” a song that’s named after and takes place in the city?
Pat: We’ve come to the conclusion that our song “NYC” is our homage to the endless party that is New York. Now get in that 1980’s limo and live it up!
Mitch: At this point, It would be near-impossible to exclude NYC from our music. It’s in our blood. We also hung out of the windows, in our Midtown [Manhattan] studio, with microphones to capture the sounds of the city, so NYC is literally in our music.
“Your Drug” is an electrifying song about wanting love from a certain person. What inspired you to make that the EP’s title track?
Pat: Glad you like it! It’s really about the euphoria of love, the “head over heels” moments that will take you to the highest highs and drop you back to the start of that climb. Love’s the greatest drug of all.
Mitch: Thank you very much! When it’s right, it’s right… and that applies to both love and EP title tracks 😉
The EP closes with an 80s-infused cover of Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do).” What drew you to the song, and what inspired you to choose that as the closer to a fairly personal project?
Pat: Well, we’re big fans of Hall and Oates, and BMG wanted us to jam on some of their songs to see where it went, and “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” is just a massive track full of great changes and different vibes in each part. It spoke to us, and we ran with it.
Mitch: We had so much fun recording that track! It flowed so naturally for us, which was interesting, since, of course, it’s a cover song. We’re big Hall & Oates fans, so we really wanted to deliver the goods. The feedback has been wonderful so far, so thank you.
You told BMG that a lot of your songs come together naturally, whether it’s the lyrics or the instrumental. Were there any moments while making the EP when you got stuck on part of a song or couldn’t figure out where to go next?
Pat: It comes in waves honestly, sometimes I can write lyrics freely and it flows then it subsides, sometimes for awhile. With these songs, I wrote a couple of different iterations of the lyrics, then went back and rewrote them. Then the song’s music evolved as time went on too, so it was less getting stuck, but more painting on the same canvas with different colors and brushes over and over until the song was there.
Mitch: Pat and I wrote our first song together in under 10 minutes – ironically, that song will be released on our next EP, or full album – and we’ve recorded around 50-60 songs so far. Knock on wood, but there have been too many ideas floating around to get stuck. If things don’t flow naturally in the studio, we just move on… “NEXT!”
Pat once said “it’s about staying ready for when the big lights come on” about jumping at new opportunities and experiences. Right now, what’s a “big light” you’re looking forward to or want to pursue in the future?
Pat: We’ve got our eyes set on the moon (Mitch actually wants to play on the moon live, I’m not against it 🙂 ) but playing Madison Square Garden has always been a dream, to me that’s one of the greatest stages on Earth.
Mitch: MSG, Tokyo Dome, and then to the Moon, and beyond! …But I’d be happy playing on any stage right now! We’re really jonesing to get back out there; I’m shaking just thinking about it 🙂
Before signing with BMG, you worked a lot with Matt Pinfield, who produced a lot of the songs that helped you get that BMG deal. What was it like working with Matt?
Pat: It’s like having the Encyclopedia of Music right there with you, he knows so much and has great insight. His knowledge of how legends he’s met and worked with have paved their own paths is invaluable to learn from. It’s been so much fun!
Mitch: The man, the myth, the legend, the voice… some of our crazy nights together likely influenced song content, so Matt may actually be more instrumental in some of our songs than we even know… wait! I just remembered, we actually recorded a song with Matt and Pat trading vocal lines! We’ll have to release that as a bonus track one day!
Your music is a really fun blend of retro sounds and modern hooks! Who are some of your older and more contemporary influences?
Pat: Well, the band has so many influences in common, but to name a few, everything from the Beatles and Stones, to Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Michael Jackson, and Prince, to Duran Duran, INXS, Van Halen, Metallica, Soundgarden, along with contemporary artists like The Killers, Muse, Daft Punk, The Knocks, Disclosure and Foals – the list goes on and on.
Mitch: Yeah, we realized that the musical union in our Venn diagram was quite diverse, and very large, when we were first introduced… we’re all over the place with our influences!
Is there anything else you want to mention that the questions didn’t touch on?
Pat: Make sure you check out our new video for “Versions of You” and look out for more music coming on Spotify and all streaming platforms. Hopefully we’ll see you this Summer live!
Mitch: Amen! See you soon!