By Jaci Jedrych
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All the glitz and glamour of a rooftop bar at midnight and none of the hangover– this sentiment perfectly captures the journey on which January Jane brings listeners with their newest EP, Your Drug.
January Jane is composed of lead vocalist/lyricist Pat Via, guitarist Mitch Mitchell, and keyboardist Peter Scialla. January Jane’s formation certainly could be called serendipitous. After meeting at a party, Pat Via and D.C. native Mitch C. Mitchell had instant chemistry, and their first song was outlined within ten minutes. One night after playing a gig, they stumbled upon Peter Scialla playing piano at a private party, and knew they had to play with him, forming January Jane.
Alchemical Records sat down with Via and Mitchell to discuss their musical journeys.
Lead singer Pat Via shared that he’s “been musical since I was a kid, playing drums and piano – singing since college when I performed a song I had written in Greenwich Village and was hooked.” Rather than pursuing medical school, he followed his passion for music, working day jobs and performing at night. After years of hard work, “the wave of the city that never sleeps brought me to where we are now with January Jane.”
For guitarist Mitch Mitchell, music was a lifelong passion and calling that began as a young child. “When I was just finding my voice on the guitar, a little demo I made found its way to jazz legend, Larry Willis. Larry took me under his wing and really helped set me on the path I’m on now,” said Mitchell.
Although the group is now based in New York, they have strong roots in the DMV.
Via moved to Centreville, VA for high school, where he played in his school’s marching and symphonic bands. “It was a complete change compared to growing up in the North East, but it was a great time with great friends,” he said. “The diversity of pop, rock, alternative, and hip-hop helped shape my taste in music.”
Mitchell is a D.C. native, growing up in Northwest. He believes a huge part of his sound and music taste is inspired by his home. “It would be a tall order, if not impossible, to not be influenced by your surroundings. D.C. had such an amazing punk and hardcore scene: Bad Brains, Minor Threat, I mean, there’s no Black Flag without D.C.’s Henry Rollins!
“Even though that was before my time, that passion and energy still runs through the veins of the city and mine, as well… I’ve been called a ‘punk’ on more than a few occasions,” said Mitchell. “Eddie Van Halen certainly made playing guitar look like the most fun thing EVER! So like millions of other kids, King Edward unknowingly helped encourage me to pick up a guitar… and stick with it.”
This is evident in their latest release, which draws from all of these influences and experiences, combining to create a scintillating album.
“Your Drug is certainly a smörgåsbord of our lived experiences; here in D.C., and where we live now, in NYC,” said Mitchell. “We’ve had so many crazy, amazing, wonderful experiences in these places, and we hope our EP is a scrumptious and delicious representation of these events… many of which, in hindsight, seem rather insane!”
With such diverse influences, their sound is hard to put a finger on, combining synthetic pop, rock, and even classical.
“But my influences are all over the place: I mean, my first sensei (so to speak) was a jazz legend, I was a metalhead in high school, and I probably listen to more classical music than what’s ‘hot’ right now,” said Mitchell.
“The venn diagram of music the band has is vast. When we met, we realized we had so many influences in common from Depeche Mode, Van Halen, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Prince, the Stones and Elton John to Metallica, Soundgarden, and Nine Inch Nails,” said Via.
“We’ve been described as “30 Seconds to Bruno Mars’ Muse” so there’s that – with genres evolving all the time now, it’s hard to call us a specific thing,” Via said. “Maybe “Always-Evolving New Alt-Synthpop Rock, Wave.” I added the “wave” to cover everything.”
January Jane recently signed to Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG), a global record label responsible for signing huge names in music. “It has taken us to a new level! Having more tools in the toolbox to create and work has been incredible,” said Via. “We are beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with BMG, and it has been amazing. It’s made us work even harder to keep creating.”
Outside of music, they enjoy varied hobbies, usually creative or expressive in nature.
“For me, I’m always working on something to be the best I can be, or at least looking for new inspirations for life – whether it’s my cooking skills, or watching movies or listening to new music, everything is connected so it’s hard to get away from what drives me,” said Via. “There’s music playing in my head most of the time, which is great until you have to sleep.”
“Movies, new restaurants, and sneakers! We certainly all share a passion for sneakers!” added Mitchell.
Both Mitchell and Via agree that being true to your sound and your passion is the most important thing to make it in music. “My advice is: don’t worry about what other people are doing. Focus on what YOU want to do, and do it!” encouraged Mitchell.
After playing online and virtual for the past few months, they are excited to hopefully get on the road and connect with their “family.” Fans can follow their social media to stay up to date on upcoming tour dates.
Jaci Jedrych is a World Politics student at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She loves going to concerts and exploring different genres, and has a passion for arts and news writing.
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