You could say that New York City is essentially acting as a fourth member of alternative pop band January Jane. The trio that makes up the band (lead vocalist/lyricist Pat Via, guitarist Mitch Mitchell, and keyboardist Peter Scialla) all met through various gatherings in and around NYC.
“The story of January Jane is so absurd – but then, everything about being in the music business is absurd,” says January Jane guitarist Mitch C. Mitchell with a laugh.
He’s correct: January Jane has taken an unusual path so far – but this strategy seems to have worked, because BMG is set to release the band’s much-anticipated EP, Your Drug, this spring. Every track is ridiculously catchy, overflowing with melodies that are at once smooth yet highly textured, seamlessly blended with unapologetically emotional lyrics.
With their epic songs, January Jane quickly gained a loyal fan base. One of their earliest supporters was Matt Pinfield, the DJ, journalist, television host, and all-around music industry legend. Pinfield has proven instrumental for the band: he took them under his wing and produced some of their early recordings (under the auspices of his own label, Whiskey Vinyl). Those songs, in turn, brought them to the attention of BMG, who quickly signed them. As always, when the opportunity came, January Jane’s members were prepared to grab it with both hands. As Via puts it, “It’s about staying ready for when the big lights get turned on.”
January Jane have often performed charity concerts, benefitting the Akron Children’s Hospital and The Dream Foundation, among other causes. Their most unusual benefit show, in 2018, found them headlining the October Ball, held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, with proceeds going to the Bigs & Littles NYC Mentoring program.
This desire to spread love is at the heart of what January Jane has been about from the start. In fact, it is this pure love – for the music itself, and all the good it can do – that seems to ensure that January Jane’s future will stay bright. “We’ll never run out of ideas, because we love making music more than anything – every step of the way is fun,” Mitchell says. And there’s no reason to think their luck will change: “That chance meeting that Mitch and I had has somehow gotten us this far,” Via says, “and wandering into Pete’s studio in the time that followed was pure luck. We’ll just keep riding on those chances. It’s serendipitous.”
What first got you into music?
Pat: As an obsessive music listener, my parent’s records. Hearing Michael Jackson’s Thriller as well as the Prince, Elvis, The Commodores and The Rolling Stones. As a writer, I remember trying to write a couple songs when I was a kid, but a college breakup gave me all the ink my pen needed to write, write, write. Once I performed for the first time in the Village in NYC, I was hooked.
Mitch: Music did… to me, music is a force in the same way that gravity and magnetism are forces… it just pulls you right in!
Who inspired you to make music?
Pat: Really my teachers, and a few friends who encouraged me to keep growing as an artist and music maker. Then once I met Mitch and Peter, it skyrocketed from there.
Mitch: Where does inspiration come from? Hmmmmm…. Eddie Van Halen certainly helped make me want to pick up a guitar, but I think making music is probably intuitive.
When did you start writing music?
Pat: College – I was on a path to be a surgeon, and life took me on a wild ride during that time, and I started writing. Plus being surrounded by other musicians was very inspiring.
Mitch: I think, even as a baby, I was running around the house singing made-up little tunes… nothing has changed, except now I get paid to do that! Lol
What would you be doing right now if it weren’t for your music career?
Pat: Most likely I would have stayed on the doctor path, but I realized I like trading stocks – thanks, “time during the quarantine!”
Mitch: Musician describes who we are, as much as it defines what we do. If I wasn’t doing music, I’d be a different person… so I’ll go with the President of the United States! Lol
If we were to peek over your shoulder, what does your studio look like? What gear do you typically use?
Pat: It’s our oasis drenched in red and gold with the windows completely covered so you never know what time it is. Reminds me of a casino-like atmosphere. I use a Shure Beta-58A and a SM7B.
Mitch: Our Clubhouse (Midtown Manhattan) where we rehearse, record, and do a lot of our virtual performances for radio, etc, contains no less than 6 different EVH amps, and at least 15 guitars… and that’s just in my little corner of the room!
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
Pat: Usually it’s song ideas or melodies, so I actually keep my phone near if I come up with something cool. Sometimes I’ll do vocal warmups before rehearsals or when getting ready for a show, always be multitasking!
Mitch: Of course, I sing in the shower! Do showers have any other purpose? Lol The acoustics lend themselves perfectly to George Michael… I’m sure the neighbors have heard Father Figure more than a few times 😉
What was the last TV series you watched on TV?
Pat: Your Honor, Mare of Easttown, and now onto Angie Tribeca
Mitch: Yellowstone, Billions, and Succession
If you could learn any language fluently, what would it be?
Pat: Tagalog would be cool. Always wanted to surprise my mom, Aunts, and Uncles by interrupting their conversations.
Mitch: I’d like to be able to talk to my neighbor’s dog… so, dog?
What movie ending really frustrated you? And how would you change it?
Pat: Stowaway – I just watched this. Let’s just say if you’re going to Mars, you gotta get to Mars in the running time!
Mitch: Predator! I wish the Predator and Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) had resolved their differences peacefully… Maybe they could have opened the first combination Gym and Hair Salon together. You never know!
If you were talking to a younger version of you, what advice would you give yourself?
Pat: Keep pushing forward, the great times are ahead, and become best friends with Jeff Bezos!
Mitch: Buy more Bitcoin!