Interview: Bathurst Station

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Toronto rock-duet band Bathurst Station unveiled its sound with a video for its cover of “You’re The One That I Want,” from the musical Grease. Their campy performance clip received more than 120,000 views on YouTube and comments like “You guys are SO freaking amazing” and “You guys should be more popular.” The introduction garnered a fan-base around the world — 600,000+ channel plays that lead to Google Play featuring the band on Facebook and Twitter in Oct 2015 — ready to embrace their self-titled full-length debut of 10 original songs, including the single “Broken.” The band also started doing regular gigs on Toronto’s Queen Street club circuit.


Ryan Ayukawa – The first question is– you guys have a pretty unique sound. I don’t think I know of another rock band that has the duo-vocals happening in it.

Ted Sevdalis – When we first set out to do something new. We wanted to make sure that it was going to be original, because, it’s kind of like all the bands that we grew up with and any bands that have come out that we really love, they would have they own thing going on., it was like they were just jumping on someone else’s bandwagon, right? We just used a lot of the influences we grew up with and some of that stuff was some of the rock musicals like Rocky Horror Picture Show and you know when The Who did Tommy, and Pink Floyd put out The Wall and that kind of stuff, that was kind of the conceptual start for this and then we kind of you know added our own thing because we all like different kinds of music. So as we came together. 


Ryan Ayukawa – The other thing, of course, is the name, and I know that I mentioned that in the article Bands Named After Places In Toronto. Was that a specific thing that you said– we have to name ourselves after somewhere in Toronto or was this a way of making the band name “memorable”?

Ted Sevdalis – That came kind of as a by-product afterwards, obviously it helps when you’re telling somebody the name of the band and it’s a landmark and they know what it is, but it really kind of started out as we were trying to think of a band name– myself and Rachel, mostly– we wanted to try and come up with something unique and everything we were coming up with sounded so pretentious. And then we kind of said to ourselves, well what are we trying to do here and what is it that you want out of a name, and you kind of want it to represent who you are and where you’re coming from. I think she said something about Bathurst Street, and then I think I came up with the “station” part. We’ve noticed that there’s a lot of other bands that have done well, like Birds of Bellwoods and there was a band called South Of Bloor– unfortunately I think they’ve broken up. By no means are we being the first band to do something like this, but we felt like it was a way to describe who we are. 


Ryan Ayukawa- On the topic of neighbourhoods, for the individual band members, what neighbourhoods in Toronto arte you guys from and what music venues can you remember hitting up in those years in those neighbourhoods, if you’re still living in the same ones?

Ted Sevdalis – Rachel and I both live in The Annex, and there was a point where when we were recording our album, the apartment above me became available and I live in a house that’s split up into apartments, so as a way for us to complete the album and you know, not disturb the neighbours, she moved in above me, so while we were doing the album we had the luxury of making as much noise as we wanted. 

Now Rachel lives a couple blocks away and our drummer, who’s also been with us since the beginning, is generally in the same area as well– just a little further north than we are. The other band members like Bobby our new singer, the male singer, he lives in Brampton, so he’s gotta truck in every time we do a rehearsal. so I guess the identity of us kinda came out of Rachel and myself and our drummer Brad kinda being in his general area. As far as venues are concerned, I’ve always loved Lee’s [Palace] as a venue for watching other bands and I got to play there a lot with previous bands,, so it always felt like it was something central that we could connect with, as far as venues were concerned. We find that we’re playing more on Queen Street at this point and in Kensington Market, so the places we regularly play are like Supermarket and Bovine[Sex Club] and Cherry Cola’s, and places like that. But they’re all in walking distance from where we live, so again it really does feel like a close-knit kinda thing, whereas we have very close access to the places that we play and so it feels very much like a neighbourhood kind of vibe, everywhere that we play. We were really disappointed when The Hideout closed because that was a main hub as well, you know a lot our friends would play there, and that’s the other thing too, because we’re in the area and we’re regularly going to those clubs, we’ve gotten a great relationship with a lot of the other bands that we either play with or go out and support and who come out and support us as well, and that’s been a tremendous help for us to get up and running and to have a support system and we try and support the other local bands who are playing the same venues as much as they support us.

Ryan Ayukawa – As far as other bands– and I know you’ve just been out at Indie Week– what do you look for when you’re going to hear as band that you’ve never heard before play live?

Ted Sevdalis – That one’s kind of hit and miss, sometimes you’ve just gotta go out and take some chances and see a band you’ve never heard of and you’ve never been to the venue and sometime you love them and sometimes you’re like “okay well, you know, not my cup of tea” but I thin we’re pretty eclectic in our like of music. I really believe that I like all sorts of music like everything from Classic Rock through more Modern Indie and Brit-Pop, and Punk and some Metal as well, and I think everybody in the band has their own styles of music they listen to. If you were to ask Rachel or Bobby, or Brad our drummer, they would all probably tell you different things, but then I think that’s what kinda makes it cool, because then we’re not trying to be anything but as far as watching bands? I’ll go and try and listen to all types of different music. I’m not one of those people stuck in a specific genre. I think there’s great bands in all genres and there’s something to be experienced from a lot of different styles. For example you were saying about Angela [Saini], she’s totally the opposite from us but we actually have played with her. We were doing a series of shows called “Girls Rock” which was female-fronted bands at The Bovine, and Angela was one of the people who played with us Queens and a couple other female fronted bands. We love to mix it up with those types of bands, cause we want to support that kind of community as well.


Ryan Ayukawa – If folks are going to come out to one of your shows, and going to buy drinks for the band, what drinks should they be buying for each band member?

Ted Sevdalis – I’m kind of a craft beer nerd, so if there’s any craft beer on tap, you know that’s what I’d like. Everybody’s got their own kinda thing– I think Rachel would probably have a glass of red wine, and some of the other boys might want a shot of JD or something, but yeah, if I can get my hands on a local microbrew, then I’m pretty happy [hearty laugh].

Ryan Ayukawa – With the touring– you’ve been off in the UK before and of course the number of places you’ve played in Toronto– do you still have a list of places, whether in Canada or Toronto or outside of Canada, that you still want to play?

Ted Sevdalis – The funny thing is because again we’ve had some pretty good moments, some happenings since we started but we’re really still a pretty young band. I think in total we’ve played only about 35 shows, and believe it or not out of those 35 shows, two of them have been going to the UK, so at least a third of our shows or more have been out of the country! So we’ve been pretty lucky in those terms. There’s still a lot of places that we’d like to play in Toronto and there’s still a lot of places that we’d like to play abroad. We definitely wanna go to Germany, and there’s other parts of Europe that we still plan on hitting. 

The first time we went we only played in Manchester and London, a few other things, and this time we got to go to Wales and we played in a place called Burnley, and we’re gathering a lot more contacts as we go. The basic thing about us is we’re D.I.Y. at this point obviously because we’re just kind of getting up and running, so what we’ve been doing as far as going abroad, is we’ve been making friends with other bands who might have a draw in a particular town cause it’s their home town, and then setting up gigs through them, so this time around when we went to the U.K. we were very conscious of that because we’d had some good success with that before– that’s how we were able to add more shows for the second time around. So this time around we made sure to make friends in different cities if we could go back to the U.K. again.


Ryan Ayukawa – I think the only other question I have for you, is what’s happening next with the band?

Ted Sevdalis – Well, we’ve been kind of slogging this album that we have right now for a year and a half, two years, now, so it feels to all of us that it’s time to start doing some more [with it]. We’ve already written a few songs, but we’re really getting into the labour of songwriting and now with our new singer Bobby, who was in a band called Breach, he’s added a whole new element to the band– we’re a much stronger band with him, he adds a lot more rock element to what we’re doing, and that’s really where Rachel and I are coming from anyways. So we’ve already dabbled a little bit in writing with him, and we’re going to go strong with that because we want to get his input in the songs. So that’s kind of the game plan, to really take what we have in hand now, which we feel is the strongest point that we’ve been at so far, and really utilize the people in the band and move forward with the songwriting and hopefully get to that next plateau.


For Bathurst Station’s latest show, visit the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1480891445261617/
bathurststation.com

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