Spotlight on Strawberry Station

Special Feature 4/17/2021
Strawberry Station

Meet Strawberry Station: a Future Funk Artist from England and currently living in Toronto, Canada. Muddling his way through life and trying to make tunes that people vibe to in the process! He’s always had a love for happy music and that’s his over-arching vibe, but you will occasionally hear more melancholy stuff in here as well. Like everything else in life, it depends on his mood. Source: About Strawberry Station, Spotify.

My Kind of Music, with Strawberry Station.

MOMMA LIKES FUTURE FUNK & STRAWBERRY MILKSHAKE.

(Ain’t that the truth!)

We’re going to Canada! It’s a bit of a cheat, since my guest is only temporarily staying there, but hey, I’ll take it! I am happy to introduce this artist to you all – unless you already know him of course. Reading through his bio ( the above is just a part of it, please feel free to look it up and read the rest!) I can only say: he’s not exaggerating. Strawberry Station’s music is destined to take the grey clouds away, make your head bob and your body sway. Okay, laaame, but with a name like that and several mouthwatering song titles, who can resist??? I’m. Not. Joking. People who know me can testify, strawberry is my favorite flavor and there’s only One Milkshake for me:

I first heard of Strawberry Station, little under a year ago. Yes, that would’ve been when I started to get more active on Twitter. Now you all know I’m pretty bad with names, so It helps a lot when artists names are standing out – thank you very nice – as is the obvious case here. Add in my love for the fruit and we have a winner. Hah, that’s not where it ends honey, we’re just getting started. My first encounter with Strawberry Stations’ music, was with the album 128 State, released 9/27/2019. To be honest, the cover art really spoke to me – so sue me – and I had my first listen. I was pleasantly surprised for sure, but you gotta understand one thing: I only just got started with my blog and my head was spinning from all the music coming my way. So Strawberry Station got on my ‘waiting list’, but here we are and you know what? Now I can say for real: Momma Likes Future Funk.

Yes I know, that song is Not from the album 128 State – it’s from ‘Strawberry Streams‘, released 5/3/2019 – but humor me will ya, gotta make this story a bit fun. It took me about a half year to get up to speed – I might be a bit optimistic here 🤐 – and get my head wrapped around the genres I was getting really interested in. Most of you know I come from a Jazz-Rock/Fusion and Funk background, which flowed into other funky stuff, mainly Disco. Anything with a groove and very important, is dance appropriate, will catch my attention. Basically music that will make me feel good and yes, Strawberry Station’s got the recipe. From the moment my eyes caught that album cover and I had my first listen, I started to follow him and slowly but surely, his music got a place in my heart and thus, my playlist.

I am from another era lol, so when I first heard about Future Funk, I had a good laugh. No offense, but I grew up with a lot of the originals, which are now coming back to me, chopped, seasoned and refreshed. Before you start throwing those tomatoes, I am not trying to belittle anyone or any genre, it’s quite the opposite: I am Thrilled to recognize bits and pieces of a funky past! It’s like ‘giving life back to music’, pun intended. The way – not only – Future Funk shows appreciation for the Groove, makes my heart sing. I do love my vintage. And wine, I love wine.

Then one day I made the Some Groovy Medicine playlist on Spotify, initially meant as a ‘Feel Better’ card for a previous Spotlight, but when people asked if I would keep updating it, I thought: Why Not? It was December by then and I can only say, it’s as much joy, as it is a challenge, to find new music every week. Rediscovering golden oldies is a definite bonus and though there are enough ‘big’ names in music I like, I aim for the ‘smaller’ ones to add.  Linking the playlist to my blog was an obvious next step and there are always some interesting artists, who might end up as the next Spotlight. It’s a win/win for me 😅

Some artists – including Strawberry Station – I follow on social media have become real inspirations for me: the way they keep an open line to the community, showing honesty when things get tough, as well as the positivity they share, it makes everything very Real and I Love that. Fun certainly has a place in all of this, which makes it all the easier to connect to them and their music. Call me crazy, but that’s how I feel about it. While in the past, my musical heroes were basically unreachable, I can now almost talk to them on a daily basis – still trying very hard not to stalk, sorry-not-sorry, old habits die hard.

I got a bit more organized with all the stuff concerning my blog and how to manage the time I spent on it – it’s almost a full time job 🙄, but a very happy one. Listening to music takes up most of my attention, since I love to deep-dive into all of the artists’ music, to get the whole picture. I couldn’t in all honesty write about it, if I did not make the effort to actually listen to it all and by the beginning of this year, I started to add Strawberry Stations songs to my weekly playlist. When I listened to this next song, the opening had me laughing so hard, it just HAD to be the first. Of course the beat only confirmed my choice, funky stuff for sure.

Of course I had to work my way backwards after that, but hey, having listened to everything Strawberry Station has to offer, that wasn’t a real hardship. If you want to throw a dance party, his music could easily fill the program and spread the right groove. And talking about the fun part: when I had the opportunity to join the Disco Forever livestream the 13th of February, I got more than I hoped for. This was my first chance of seeing Strawberry Station in action and I was not going to let it pass, so lemme just share it with you:

Strawberry Station – Live at Disco Forever | Future Funk & Vaporwave Online Festival

Safe to say I was not disappointed! People were going wild in the chat, it was hilarious. I had previously read some of the stuff Strawberry Station posted regarding the personal things he was going through, as well as about his stay in Canada, and it was great to see how much fun he was having himself. BTW, on his YouTube channel, you can also find video’s about his experiences abroad. Very entertaining and at times just as hilarious, especially when he says things like, I quote: ‘..the gravy is thinner than the amount of content I’ve got for my next album..‘ 😂 Well Alright Then. (Of course this was before Future Funk 2021 was released and we all know that came out quite allright).

The next song I added to the weekly playlist was from the album ‘Smoothie Sounds’, released 11/6/2020. You see, it wasn’t very hard to choose songs, or, depending on how you look at it, it could have been, since I like almost every Strawberry Station track. If you’re anything like me, and upbeat, danceable music is all you need in your life, seek no more. We can all safely agree 2020 did totally suck and we’re all trying to make this a better year, I am just suggesting it will be infinitely easier with Strawberry Station’s music. There’s enough to share and have a good time, I think y’all deserve it.

Another fun thing is listening to the little mixed-in ‘extra’s’ – excuse-you-me, I don’t know a better word, I’m trying here – in some of Strawberry Stations songs. I found the best one in this next single, released 5/2/2019. An absolutely driving track, called ‘Anita’, and if I have to believe her, she just got her bubble busted, when she came to a cold realization: ‘What? What do you mean you don’t like Disco??‘ I mean, there’s no surviving after that, Ok. Bye 👋

If I remember correctly, Strawberry Station mentioned not so long ago, something like: How many times can you use strawberry/ smoothie/ jelly etc. in song / album, titles? This is not a literal quote, but you get the idea. I get this can be a challenge, but I wouldn’t mind making a few suggestions, if he needs a couple. Nearing summertime, visions of cool shakes and smoothies are always on people’s minds. Though our biggest dream is probably to be actually able to enjoy the coming season. I know new stuff is coming and I am very curious as to what his imagination has come up with. Keeping it fresh and fruity certainly lured me in!

Well, apart from repeating myself and telling you to please listen to Strawberry Station, while the season is getting hotter and you might need some refreshment, I basically told you all about how his music came to be a part of my life.  I do want to add, it was such a pleasure for me to see how genuinely enthusiastic Strawberry Station responded to my request of doing a little interview. Though I like to give the artists all the time they need, sometimes this results in never hearing from them again. Not Strawberry Station though! I received everything- the answers + a lot of material to work with! – back within a couple of days, Amazing!  Always makes me very happy 💖

So it’s time to hear what The Man himself has to say, but before we go there, I would like to end with: A BIG Thank You, Strawberry Station! Again, such a pleasure working with you, and such a pleasure working on this article. I wish you all the blessings for the rest of your stay in Canada, as well as with all your musical endeavors and I am looking forward to new stuff from you. I will add you to my Spotlight page asap, where you will be mentioned indefinitely together with all the previous Spotlights and where I will do my best to update every new release. Let me finish with a literal banger, Here We Go, Finally!

The Interview

Let’s start with the obvious: can you please introduce yourself and tell us, Who is Strawberry Station? When and how did you start producing music? Who have been / are, your biggest influences?

‘Hey everyone! I’m Strawberry Station, an electronic musician specializing in Future Funk! I’m from England, but currently living in Canada as part of a working holiday I decided to take in a moment of madness the year before last. 

I’ve dabbled in making music for at least a decade now, but it was after discovering Vaporwave and latterly Future Funk in 2017 that things really started to get serious. I was a latecomer to both scenes, but I fell for them hard and before I knew it the community was my lifeblood.

It was hearing Cherry Pepsi from Saint Pepsi for the first time that really turned my head, but since then a few other artists have really driven my enthusiasm. I have taken a lot of influence on my own sound from folks like Mélonade, Mr. Wax, クリスタルKITSUNE and more recently SUPERFLAT. For me, it’s all about that old-school, fun-loving vibe and being able to whack a tape in a boombox and take the party anywhere’.

Your Spotify bio mentions, next to Future Funk, you also dabble in Vaporwave and Lo-Fi sounds, but before you discovered this scene, you were a ‘classic rock kind of person’. Quite the evolution, can you tell us a bit about how that came to be? Where do you get your inspiration from and what makes Future Funk so special to you?

‘Well, growing up the music around me was always there in the back of my mind. My stepdad was very into rave music in the 90s and used to play stuff like trance, garage and Chicago House from the garage, which he’d tape straight off the radio. My earliest music memory is grooving in the garage to “No Limit” by 2 Unlimited, which I used to pester him to play for me as a snotty-nosed 4 year old!

Mum was a child of the 70s and her tastes varied from Disco to Punk – she lived it all at the time, and some of the earliest records in my collection were copies from her collection I dug out of the attic: stuff like Never Mind The Bollocks and her old Clash singles. It was also about 2002 that I discovered music on a serious level, so pop punk and other bands around at the time went onto my rotation and stayed there – I got a lot of my stage persona inspiration from Justin Hawkins of The Darkness and Dick Valentine from Electric Six. The latter of whom I’m now friends with on Facebook, somehow.

Those records of Mum’s set me off collecting vinyl and getting into rock music, but I always had an eclectic mix of tastes – you’d be just as likely to find me spinning Michael Jackson, Gary Numan or Kraftwerk as you were Black Sabbath or ACDC. French House in pop culture happened when I was just getting into music too, so I have fond memories of summer holidays in the early 2000s with stuff like Modjo and Stardust on the radio.

A lot of those background influences – the French house, the disco, the electronica – were always there in the background for me, and so when I make Future Funk or anything else like it, it brings up a lot of personal nostalgia for my youth’.

Can you name a couple of highlights and tell us what this meant for you / your music? Did moving to Canada change the way you look at your music in any way?

‘Well, after a year of miss-steps and deserved ridicule for my early attempts, putting out Strawberry Dreams and catching the attention of Alan at Coraspect Records was a huge turning point for me and really set me on my way to becoming who I am now. That was incredibly validating, because it was the first time I realized that I was making something with appeal to others, rather than just the personal escape I treated music as before that.

I have a lot to thank Alan for. He didn’t have to take a chance on me, not least because I didn’t exactly have a reputation as a serious artist at the time. But his support helped me grow, build a fanbase and realize that this was something I wanted to get deeper and deeper into! I eventually made up for it when I met him in real life by buying him and his daughter a pint. It’s the British way of saying thanks.

Organizing Groove Horizons back in 2019 was huge too. It was a lot of work, but between me, Mélonade, Alex and the lineup of amazing artists, we put on the first true Future Funk night in the UK and proved the viability of it as a live scene! That night gave me a few firsts too – it was my first ever live DJ set and it also introduced me to the My Pet Flamingo guys too, who asked me to put out an album with them while running the merch stall. That ended up being 128 State, which became my first vinyl release – another life ambition fulfilled through the Future Funk scene!

The Canada trip has given me a lot of time to reflect on how far I’ve come and what I want from this. I would admit that my output has been limited – it’s hard to stay inspired when stuck in lockdown for so long – but more importantly it’s let me realize that this feeling – of being self-made and part of something I enjoy and which brings joy to others – is something I don’t ever want to stop doing.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that Future Funk is probably the reason I moved to Canada in the first place. It gave me a core of online friends around the world, including folks here in Toronto like IndyAdvant and Pan!c Pop. More importantly, it gave me the self-confidence and sense of purpose I needed to take the plunge. And I’m excited to see where it leads me next’.

You mention in one post (IG 2/14/2020) you worried too much about what other artists think of you / your music, but end with saying you appreciate all the support your getting. At the start of this year you talk about personal growth. How did this affect your music and has the idea of feeling you need validation from others changed?

‘Well, 2020 was a tough year for us all, but with almost nothing to occupy me except the scene, I think I started to place too much importance on my social standing with other artists. I was isolated and going stir-crazy, and it led me to think and act irrationally. I’ve always had issues with imposter syndrome and questioned my own worth as an artist, but there were times throughout last year that were definite low points.

It all culminated in me finally accepting I needed a breather, and I dipped for the last two months of the year. It was very cathartic to turn inward for a little while and realize that a lot of it was all in my head. I’m really lucky to have some amazing friends and fans in this scene, and I needed reminding – and to remind myself – of that fact. Nobody should ever feel obliged to stay active if it’s affecting their mental health. It’s good to take breaks, and that was my first in three intense years. I’m in a way better place now’.

Can you tell us a bit how your creative process works? Do you have a general plan you follow or do you ‘go with the flow?’ which parts do you think are the hardest and which part is the most fun for you?

‘It’s always just been a case of making tracks whenever the mood takes me! Sometimes I’ll hear a groovy sample, or go dipping through my tape or vinyl collection looking for them, and then yeet them into FL Studio and go from there.

I start with a small bit and then add kicks, snares and so on. There’s a lot of trial and error involved, but I can usually tell pretty quickly if what I’m making is gonna turn into a feasible song or not. It’s like a freight train – once I get going there’s no stopping me!

So yeah, finding that perfect sample is the hard bit, but also one of the most fun – I have discovered so much cool stuff and so many new artists on my crate digging adventures!’

You also state ‘at its heart, my music is all about good vibes and happy memories‘. Having joined the ‘Disco Forever’ live stream, I can say it was very much fun to watch – next to the great music of course. What do you feel would be the ultimate goal for your music to reach, when people are listening to it? Do you ever receive such positive feedback that made you feel you reached that goal?

‘Aw, thank you! The set for Disco Forever was great fun to put together – IndyAdvant and Prenoko threw down some amazing backing visuals and I went absolutely ham on the costume changes – eight or nine in one half-hour take I think? It was a pleasure to be part of. Tires me out just watching it back though – I was sweating buckets by the end of the set!

I just wanna make people smile and remind them not to always take life too seriously. If you do, you just end up sad and stressed – kinda like I was at the back end of last year. It makes me feel wonderful to know my songs and performances make people feel good, and I plan to keep doing it for as long as people want to listen and watch!’

What’s in store for Strawberry Station fans, anything new on the horizon you can share with us / we should be on the lookout for? What’s the next dream for you to chase? What would be the ultimate dream to come true in the near future?

‘This is actually a super-exciting time for me. At the time of writing, I’m just two days away from my final shift in my current job, after which I’m going to be focusing full-time on Strawberry Station. That means more regular output, hopefully a few full album releases this year and some more livesets!

I’m currently super-busy planning out the relaunch of my Twitch Channel, with a liveshow called “Sunday Funky Sunday” on April 25th. We’ve got a great line-up: I’m being joined by Snowdream, Mr. Wax, Aeronexus, Moka Yume, クリスタルKITSUNE and Groovy Kaiju for a big party! If it goes well, I’m hoping to make that a regular thing, perhaps monthly, with new guests every time!

On the Patreon front, as of next month I’m introducing a new Cassette Club tier – the plan is to offer quarterly releases to anyone signed up, following on from the success we had with A Song To Show You at Christmas time. That will keep me busy! There’s already a lot of content backed up – we’re doing a B-Sides and Rarities collection for the first release this summer, and after that I’m planning to drop my original Vaporwave album from 2017, イチゴ駅, in the Fall for its first ever physical release. I can’t wait to get everything up and running!

Otherwise, there are a few projects I have on the go at the moment – no specific plans for an all-new album just yet, but I’m planning to drop a MiniDisc of Yesterday’s Jam with Wave Racers Collective on June 5th if all goes to plan. We’re in early discussions for a Smoothie Sounds vinyl on Pacific Plaza Records, which I’m going to be opening a remix contest for shortly (including a digital album release of all the entries!) There will be a few singles over the summer too.

Oh, and I have a super-secret project I’m working on right now which will drop on a well-known label in the Fall. I can’t reveal anything else, but let’s just say it’s gonna be the best thing I’ve ever released. The stuff of dreams.

It’s a massive moment for me – taking my passion full-time for the first ever time. I’d never have gotten to this point without the support of my fans, friends and especially my wonderful Patrons. Thank you to every single one of you!’

Anything else you would like to add / share, with your fans / the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?

‘I just wanna give another huge thank you to everybody who has taken me this far on my journey so far. All the artists that helped me get started and helped me improve – a process that is still ongoing of course! All the wonderful fans, without whom I wouldn’t be sat here now, about to take Strawberry Station full time. And all the amazing people around the Vaporwave and Future Funk scene who have helped keep it vibrant, alive and most importantly growing through these unprecedented times.

Stay safe, stay funky. I’ll see you all in the club soon! 

Or, failing that, in the Patreon Discord, lol’.

Again, Big Thanks to Strawberry Station! And to you, my readers, better go and find his music and give him a follow, which you can do here:

Follow Strawberry Station on: Spotify BandcampPatreonYouTubeTwitter Instagram Facebook

Wishing y’all a Very Future Funky Week(-end), don’t forget to leave a comment waaaay below & move those feet!

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