Aeon Station will be releasing their debut album, Observatory, this Friday. The band consists of three former members of The Wrens. The last album that The Wrens put out, Meadowlands, was released 18 years ago. After waiting several years for the band to get together for a new release, Kevin Whelan took the matter into his own hands. He picked five songs he wrote in the past years, and he created five new ones. With the help of his bandmates, Greg Whelan and Jerry MacDonald, and producer Tom Beaujour, Kevin embarked on a new journey.
More than a decade in the making, Observatory is “an album about the perseverance of the soul, not [being] scared of vulnerability but not backing down to adversity either,” according to a press release. So far, Aeon Station has released three singles, “Queens,” “Leaves,” and “Fade.” The band also released a beautiful music video for “Fade,” which was directed by Laurent Briet, and it transmits a sense of peacefulness and freedom.
Soundigest had the chance to interview Kevin Whelan; he offered some insight into the creation of Observatory and shared how inspired he is about it. Read the interview below and also check out the music video for “Fade” to prepare for the release of the album on December 10.
What’s your favorite track on the album and why?
My favorite track is “Leaves.” In a way, it’s not my typical song as it has this gospel-like intro. However, it grows to this larger song with almost like an “amen” release at the apex of the song. Also, it was one of those songs that wrote itself, which doesn’t happen very often.
What do you think is the most important part of the songwriting process?
Starting. However, it doesn’t become a song until it has the words over the music, and getting to that point can be fun or complicated depending on the song.
What are your expectations about the audience’s response to Observatory?
Very, very humble. My goal was simple: if three people like it, then it’s a success for me.
How did you come up with the concept for the “Fade” music video?
That whole amazing concept came from Laurent Briet, who has made videos for The Strokes, Beyoncé, and others. He’s truly AMAZING. We only corresponded over text messages, but he developed and created a mini-movie, and I am so grateful for his amazing talents.
I think that “Leaves” really captures where this album comes from, more specifically the lyrics “as I turn away to forget the past that leaves behind all the broken-down roads, to the homes and hopes and the dreams that won’t come true. I’d rather fight again than live with the pain.” Was writing this song kind of cathartic for you?
Yes, thanks for highlighting this song as per my answer to the previous question. Honestly, I see this song as probably the best song I’ll ever write, and I wrote it back in 2011-2012. I was trying to capture what almost everyone goes through, where your life gives you a sudden left turn and it’s up to you to understand why and make it a triumph.
How much did you experiment on this album? Was it difficult to create new sounds but still maintain your essence?
I experimented in the sense of writing songs, challenging forms, and how chords move from one to the other, or just pulling sections from many songs to make one. Also, I tried my hand at the cello and violin, not very well, but it was fun and provided some cool sounds.
Your career has been very long and successful. What is the biggest lesson you have learned after so many years in the music scene?
Wow, so kind of you to say, thanks! It is true though, I’ve been lucky enough to do this for a long time. At the end of the day, it comes down to enjoying that moment you’re in with no expectations. If it’s fame or money you’re after, the frustration will overwhelm you. Just enjoy the times you get to play music and always say “yes.” Trying to mastermind a career wastes a lot of time. It’s not a puzzle you can solve.
Who are your biggest musical influences or who would you like to collaborate with?
I love classical music. I’ve never really collaborated with anyone except the guys I was in the band with. However, Tom Beaujour, who mixed and recorded the album, was amazing, so talented! He provided awesome insights and recommendations. He also took great care in trying to make the music sound the best possible, and he succeeded!
How does it feel to be other bands’ inspiration to create music?
This, by FAR, is THE MOST rewarding part of being involved in the music/band. I’m not joking. That is what it’s all about. I was inspired by so many, and, then, to be a point of inspiration for art and expression [is] the best reward.
Would you like to share some advice for people who are getting started in the music scene?
Realize that your dream is going to change with almost each year. Be who you are. Try to be as genuine as you possibly can to your music and what you want. If you do that, no one can touch you.