An Interview With the NY-Based Indie Rock Band, PERSONA!
Posted On 03 Jul 2018
Get to know that NY indie rock band Persona! Their recent single “Indie Cowboy,” came out on June 8th. They’ve got a very cool indie and alt combo of sounds going on in the track, and will be recording their next EP in November.
Learn more about Persona in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time, Persona! So how has 2018 been treating you all? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year and how close are you to reaching it?
2018 has been quite well to us thus far! Our main goal is to get this 3rd EP started! We have studio time booked for November to start production, but other than that, we have been releasing a bunch of singles, playing out more and trying to establish ourselves as a “force to be reckoned with” so to speak!
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Has anything surprised you about it all so far?
Well Tom & Sam have been playing music together for the last 15 years and Costas came along around 2009. When we initially started jamming and writing, we knew there was something truly special to us here. When CJ Joined the band in 2017 we all just realized this is Persona. This is who we are supposed to be. The whole journey has been surprising. I think with anything in life you go through situations with certain expectations and a vision. But sometimes it doesn’t always pan out that way or it takes longer to pan out that way then you have expected or planned for. I think the same goes here.
How difficult was it to come up with your band name? What other names were you considering?
The band name really chose itself. We really didn’t have too many options or at least none that I remember. But we were all throwing around ideas one day and I believe Tom said it has to be a name that shows both sides of us, the dark the light, it has to have its own Persona. Sam turned around and goes, “Well what about Persona?” We all just looked at each other like Yes! That is it. Persona.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If you don’t think that it has, why is that?
Long Island really is a special place. It is so cliche but so diverse at the same exact time. It’s like each different town has its very own culture, haha. But I believe the people, relationships, & experiences (emotional & physical) are what really influenced the sound. We don’t carry ourselves any different in this band then we do outside. I believe our home and our experiences are what made us who we are individually.
Let’s talk about your newest single “Indie Cowboy.” What was the inspiration for it? How did you choose it to be the first track released from your forthcoming EP to be released in November?
“Indie Cowboy” to us is about walking away from the “norm” or walking away from the road most chosen. The problem is the road that is most walked is usually the most broken. “Indie Cowboy” is about isolating and creating your own path. It is about putting aside peoples judgement, hostility, anger. It is a sublte shot at the racism, division, greed and corruption going on in the world today. It is about rising above and becoming better. It is about finding your way.
Back in 2013 after the release of “Mayday, We Crashed” we literally crashed. We took some time away from the band to focus on ourselves and grow. To fix the problems on the home front we let build up so long. When we started writing and demoing again, this song just came so natural. It was literally summing up the last couple years and translating the chaos in our minds into an indirect shot at this cruel cold world. That can be perceived on an individual level, relationships, a national level, or even worldwide. To be honest, “Indie Cowboy” is released as a stand alone single. 1 of 3 more we plan on releasing from now to the time we start production on our 3rd EP. We wanted to give the listeners and fans a taste of the darker edgier side of whats to come from Persona.
How do you think “Indie Cowboy” prepares listeners for more music from you?
It prepares the listeners for one side of us. It prepares the listeners to show that we have anger & toxic feelings that we need to let out. To us, the beauty about Persona is we don’t cater to one sound or one genre. We cater to the sounds of our emotions. You can get a bright and poppy song you wanna drive down to the beach with your friends in a convertible blasting and we have this side where it sparks an outrage emotion. Its serious, hard and edgy.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
The whole process of being in a band is incredible. But being on stage and feeding off each others energy and the crowds energy is definitely our happy place. The stage is our home. It has always felt like one.
Do you have any upcoming tour dates this summer that you would like to tell our readers about?
We have a North East run booked for mid July. We are taking the month of August off to spend time with our families and do a bit of traveling but we plan on hitting the road full time come December.
How do you think being musicians and in this band gives you all the most joy in life today?
Costas: I love music. I love playing it, creating it, listening to it, feeling it. Playing music gives me completes me. I wouldn’t be whole without it. Being a part of Persona is something truly special to me.
Tom: The collectiveness we have with each other. Its been a team effort whether its been doing videos, collaborating on a song or a vision. Always feels like were rising and driving together.
CJ: The absolute feeling you get when you write something in the same room and you all smile while playing is the best feeling.
Sam: we all equally feel for the music we make. Our collective input creates a world of supportive mystery, like we can achieve the next level if we get that next song going.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? If you don’t think it is, why is that? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
“Indie Cowboy” has definitely been our most politically charged song. I believe there is a sense of anger in it that can be reflected to this world we live in today. Our video concept was based around this as well. We really tend to try and keep of of politics. It has never been about who vote for or what your political beliefs are. It has always been about how you treat people, how you treat yourself and are you playing a positive role in this world. Or are you contributing and throwing gas on a blazing fire. I believe politics has not been heard too much in songs, but I think it is a beautiful thing to see artists express their distaste within the world and voicing what they truly believe. I believe social media and media in general has been that platform.
How important do you think social media has been to this band? Do all you help to maintain all your sites or is one of you more into it all? Or do you rely on your PR/management team to handle it?
We tend to manage our main social medias. We do not mind if PR or someone wants to manage it for the greater good. But most of what you see is one of us. When fans message or comment, it is one of us responding and not some robot. We love talking to our fans and to people who want to know more.
Who would you love to work with in the future? Who are some of your favorite artists right now? What do you think would be a dream collaboration for this group?
It would be a dream come true to have a record of ours produced by the one and only Mark Hoppus. He and Blink-182 have been such a major part of our lives and music. That is the ultimate dream, haha. Some of our favorite artists right now are definitely Third Eye Blind, The Story So Far, Blink-182, Knuckle Puck, Kendrick Lamar, Thank You Scientist, Chon, Little Tybee, and Free Throw to name a few!
If you guys were all going to be stranded on a deserted island, what musical item would you want to take with you and why?
It would have to be a guitar. I could only imagine the influence and inspiration being trapped on a deserted island could have. I cant even begin to imagine where the mind would be and how that would transpose on a guitar. It would also make good for some campfire tunes!
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
The message of Persona is just keep striving. Keep pushing. We have been through so much individually and collectively and we are still here fighting the good fight. It is not about being brought down, life is about rising above. Becoming the best version of yourself possible. Each song has its own meaning, its own emotion and its own pulse. Some days and some moments, you might relate to one song better than you would another on another day. But these songs are about what we have experienced, gone through and overcome. The hope for us is to have people relate to these songs. Where a person can listen to this song and feel like they are not alone and someone does not exactly what they are going through. Someone has walked in these shoes before.
Where can our readers connect with this group?