A lot is going on within the confines of The Space Station…from someone who was making sales calls at a less than perfect job who felt the music inside of them waiting to get out to a Draglesque entertainer. With a variety-packed bunch, The Space Station’s sound is just as wild. Inspired by everything from Cartoon Network mainstays to the beauty of hip hop – their 2021 release, ‘WFRSDE’ has something for everyone – and we talked all about that, coming of age movies, and more in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: Dropping a record on New Year’s Day isn’t weird, it’s just a Friday but after the year that was 2020 – did you feel like kicking 2021 with new music was your way of trying to start fresh with ‘WFRSDE?’
The Space Station: I started 2020 at a dead-end commission job making sales calls for a small sports ad agency in Manhattan. By April, I was working for a politician organizing mutual aid drop-offs for a bunch of neighborhoods around Queens. I think a lot of people had a similarly weird trajectory over the course of the year just sort of calling last-minute audibles to make ends meet and feel some sense of control in all the chaos.
When Aladdin joined the band in November and we started getting the first mixes back we knew we had something really special on our hands and we figured the best way to convey that would be by literally starting the new year with a brand new project, unlike anything any of us had worked on before.
Kendra: have noted that ‘WFRSDE’ is a “space coming of age story.” So I have to ask if you could take any coming of age story/movie/show and not only recreate it in space but utilize your record as the soundtrack – which would you choose and why?
The Space Station: Probably not surprising given my age, but I’m a huge fan of the stuff from that genre that came out of the ‘90s. Matthew Lillard’s roles in films such as ‘Hackers,’ ‘Scream,’ and ‘SLC Punk’ with a gritty, more anti-authoritarian perspective were a huge influence growing up and I think the more politically charged, nihilistic parts of the album reflect that.
Kendra: Whenever an artist or a band is “multi-genre” they don’t deliver too much on that, but now The Space Station. Is this culmination of indie, alternative, and hip hop all of you coming together and wanting to highlight everyone’s strengths, or did you each have a grab bag you wanted to bring to the table?
The Space Station: When I originally sat down and outlined the album it was supposed to be entirely unplugged. I’d built a small gig presence as an acoustic singer-songwriter after years of working my way up in punk and alternative bands. Genre’s always been a four-letter word for me because I prefer to just go for it and see what it sounds like by the end.
I’m very grateful and blessed to have songwriting partners like MC and Aladdin who were just as motivated as myself to make mistakes and explore new ideas. I taught myself how to rap throughout the recording and I don’t think anyone else would’ve been nearly as patient with that process!
Kendra: Before I even hit play on “Aladdin Firm” my mind went to Disney, but throughout the song, you drop way more pop culture mementos from ‘’The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy’ to ‘Broad City.’ When crafting a song, are these shows in mind beforehand? Because ‘Billy and Mandy’ is sort of a deep cut.
The Space Station: As far as the title goes I have to give credit where credit is due. Aladdin is an incredibly talented and vivacious Draglesque entertainer inspired by 1970’s glam rock acts like David Bowie and when they agreed to feature on the album I offered to name the song after them because I wanted to make sure they were the focus of attention.
As far as the references go that’s just kind of how I rap I guess. Our generation is obsessed with the cartoon shows we grew up on, and I am no exception to that phenomenon. Aurelio Voltaire, who wrote multiple songs for “The Grim Adventure of Billy and Mandy,’ inspired some of the first songs I ever wrote. I got to meet him at an Oddities convention and, to show you what a dork I am, I still carry the business card he gave me in my wallet!
Kendra: Also in that song, you end with the line, “Gentrifiers never understand the weight impacted.” Being partially based in a place like Brooklyn, I have to assume you drew some inspo from there?
The Space Station: Absolutely, I was born and raised in New York City in my lovely hometown borough of the Bronx and I’ve witnessed the effects of gentrification on my community firsthand. Everyone in my old neighborhood moved away years ago when the developers started putting down condos and pushing people out to make way for richer, whiter clientele.
Nothing radicalizes you quite like watching your childhood home gets stripped down to the foundation and replaced with another bland, grey modern apartment for hipster couples to raise their kids in once they get too old to party in Bushwick. I’m not saying people shouldn’t move here, I just think we should make sure no one’s getting edged out against their will in the process.
Kendra: It’s getting a little easier with the vaccine rollouts, but it’s still kind of hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
The Space Station: The coolest part of this project by far has been our commitment to exploring any and all creative outlets possible. Between the three of us, we have trained expertise in music arrangement, production, dance, graphic design/digital art, acting, film directing and editing, scriptwriting, video game programming/coding, and so much more! I think this album is only the beginning of The Space Station exploring what it’s capable of and I am very eager to see where our process takes us!