Earlier this week the NYC band January Jane talked with TRB about their upcoming Summer EP, “Your Drug” (due out on Whiskey Vinyl & BMG) and working with Matt Pinfield. The musicologist and DJ helped shape the trio, and signed them his Whiskey Vinyl label. Read Matt’s interview below.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Hi, Matt Thanks for taking this time out. Can you talk some about the backstory of how you met January Jane? What was the catalyst the brought you guys together and ultimately you signing them to Whisky Vinyl?
MATT PINFIELD: I was told about the band from a friend who I trusted his musical tastes and they were doing a showcase in New York City. It was a crazy day, it was in the days of Blackberry’s still. So, I got on the path train from Harrison, New Jersey trying to get into the city. When the Blackberry completely sizzled in my hand and it was recent, you know, it was new. So it was a faulty one. It literally felt like it was going to catch fire. It died. Unfortunately, I didn’t know exactly where I was going. So the crazy story is that I had no idea where I was going to go. I did not have the address. So when I got to New York City, you know, I’m like who am I going to ask to use their phone and I see a nice family. Like a husband and a wife packing their car with a stroller with their daughter. And I figured well, they’re they’re nice people all. I’ll ask them and explain my predicament. So I told them, that I put that I really needed to call because my phone had died. And it was a bit of an emergency. So I call my girlfriend back in New Jersey and said, Listen, here’s my passcode to my voicemail, can you go in there, get this phone number from a friend of mine, call them and tell them I don’t know where the address is. So literally, she got in touch with my friend. I got the address. It was a Midtown. I jumped in a cab and I went to Midtown. Not too far off the west side, near 42nd Street. This rehearsal space used to be an old porn theater. I met Pat outside, he recognized me and said, Hey, man, I know you’re coming to see us. I went upstairs into this place where there’s a bunch of different bands playing in different spaces. And I was literally blown away by by Pat’s voice, I thought that that was an incredible singer, and his potential to be an incredible frontman. Mitchell was just this amazing guitar player, who was able to do so many different things with his guitar. They had a different backing band at the time, but it was just an incredible show. And I thought, Oh, you know, they have great potential. So that’s why I got to know these guys very well. I was impressed by their talents, and eventually signed them to Whiskey Vinyl.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What would you say has the most rewarding about your kinship/mentorship with January Jane?
MATT PINFIELD: Well, you know, I became great friends with them, we spent a lot of time together because, you know, we’re kindred spirits with our love for all different styles of music. And, you know, we would run around New York City, seeing music, I’d be in the studio, those guys when they were rehearsing writing songs, we’d be going out and just turn up New York City with karaoke, just having fun, you know, just doing a lot of different things. Our most rewarding thing is to see how many I’ve come so far. And you know, just that I see people really reacting to their music. And that’s the thing that means the most to me.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What was it that first caught your ear when you first heard January Jane? What was it about them?
MATT PINFIELD: Pat was this incredible singer was amazing range, very emotive, and I loved his voice. And I knew they could sing a lot of different things. And then again, Mitchell, you know, and also keyboardist is Pete is an incredible player. And it just adds a different texture and feel to the music as well. So, I mean, that was the thing that I noticed right away, and that they understood the meaning of a good hook in a song. You know what I mean? It’s important, of course, is very important thing, something identifiable, something that you can sing along to somebody that you can grab ahold of, at any level, whether it’s a deeper emotional level or just a sing along so that was the feeling there.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What are you most excited for the world to hear from January Jane when their EP, ‘Your Drug’ drops?
MATT PINFIELD: Well, I love the song, ‘Your Drug’. I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s a great follow up to ‘Versions Of You’. It’s one of my favorite songs from the guys. They’ve got an arsenal of so many songs. I’d say at least 50, maybe more, to be honest with you, but I think people will be really excited to hear how diverse, upbeat and cool these songs are. And just again, you know, it’s the tip of the iceberg with these guys.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I also read that you were instrumental in picking ‘Versions Of You’ as the first single. What was it about that track?
MATT PINFIELD: I thought I loved the feel of the song. I thought the feel was really cool. I thought there was a great underlying groove to it, which I think is really important. And I think the thing that’s really interesting about January Jane, is that there’s a feeling in their music that definitely is derivative, like a something’s all right now, in a sense from the 80s. Yet at the same time, it’s very modern, and of this time, absolutely, of this period of music and time with pop alternative and everything else. I think it’s it works incredibly, you know, so that’s why versions view was what I thought would be a great lead off track. And then of course, I’m really excited about their Hall & Oates cover because I think they make it their own. I know Hall & Oates have heard it as well giving it their thumbs up. So it’s a really cool thing.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What would you say is the most rewarding about finding new and upcoming bands? Particularly ones that you want to sign?
MATT PINFIELD: I mean, I think you know that I still have that passion that I had when I was a 12 or 13-year-old kid. When I find a new band or I hear a song by an artist that just blows me away or still gives me that incredible feeling. I don’t think there’s anything more magical than music and the feeling that music gives you, you know, it’s your friend. It’s also the thing that just gets you through it all so for me the most rewarding thing is finding someone who I feel has incredible potential and just has that thing that will make them stand out.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I couldn’t help but add this question. What is the single piece of pop culture that has kept you sane during quarantine?
MATT PINFIELD: Certainly Music Music has been the thing that has kept me going for this entire time. You know, I have an incredible collection of vinyl but I also stream music all the time, you know I still have in storage CDs and stuff. But I have a lot of vinyl. I stream a lot of great music Doc’s and shows like Peaky Blinders, you know, things like that.
THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To end… Is there anything else you would like to add, Matt?
MATT PINFIELD: Thanks for supporting January Jane. I’m very happy to see how people are reacting to ‘Versions Of You’ and I can’t wait for everyone to hear the rest of the EP.
Thanks for taking the time out, Matt!