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Euphoria Station

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Euphoria Station from 2019

MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – sort of a "highlight reel?"

Hoyt Binder: I started as a rock player and studied jazz guitar in college, but my passion was to become a struggling 20th century composer. After college, I spent my time working on albums from prog to jazz/ fusion and modern rock, looking for colleagues to work with along the way. 

Saskia Binder: Music has always been an important part of my life. I went to clubs and concerts all the time.  But when I worked at Motown Records, a co-worker introduced me to a voice teacher.  I was thankful to her ever since. That was my kick-start into performing.

Ronald Van Deurzen: I started playing live piano in a country/folk band, touring across the Benelux, then moved into composing music for multimedia, soundtracks, orchestral music and released several solo albums. Some of my favorite genres to play piano/organ for are progressive rock and folk, so the fit with Euphoria Station came naturally.

MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Saskia Binder: I might be a Park Ranger. Nature and music are my two loves - maybe start a Sing-Along trail hike.


Ronald Van Deurzen: Movie director for a film taking place in some wonderful nature environment. I’ve always been aesthetically reactive to visuals. That, and I got a thing for clapperboards.

 Hoyt Binder: Working in a dog kennel or maybe selling shoes, depends on the hours…

MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?
Saskia Binder: "Euphoria" is that all-encompassing blissful state-of-being (a state I strive to be in). Plus, I love the word itself. Hoyt chose the word "station." We both really like it and, it’s a double entendre…..which nerdy little me likes.
MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Hoyt Binder: All the original prog bands, of course, but I love Van Halen, Queen, Brian Wilson, The Allman Brothers, Aaron Copland, Bahuslav Martinu and Stan Kenton.

Saskia Binder: Steve Perry/Journey, The Doobies, Van Halen, Yes, Genesis, Loggins and Messina, Lynyrd Skynyrd and a whole lot more.


Ronald Van Deurzen: The Dixie Dregs, Spock’s Beard, Bill Evans, Claude Debussy, Harry-Gregson Williams to name just a few. There are so many.

MSJ: What's the best thing that's ever been said about your music?
Hoyt Binder: “Euphoria Station, It’s quite fantastic.”

Saskia Binder: “It has the power to change a person's day.”

Ronald Van Deurzen:“Great melodies, killer hooks and instrumental sections, dynamics used to perfection.”

MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Hoyt Binder: We’ll be spreading The Reverie Suite word anywhere and everywhere we can. After that we have plans to summon up a rustic southern fried masterpiece.

Saskia Binder: Honing in on more of the style Hoyt and I created.

Ronald Van Deurzen:Finding new musical ideas and inspiration from the nature that surrounds me.

MSJ: I know many artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
Saskia Binder: That’s easy, an “Americana Daydream Revival”

Hoyt Binder: “Purple Native Mountains Majesty with progressive tinges”

Ronald Van Deurzen: Organic melodic rock that tells a story.

MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play in the future?
Hoyt Binder: Saskia Binder, Ronald Van Deurzen, Tollak Ollestad, Trevor Lloyd, Rebecca Kleinman, Chris Qurarte and Paulo Gustavo. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Saskia Binder: Steve Perry. He made singing really high notes effortless - truly an amazing set of pipes!


Ronald Van Deurzen: Arjen Lucassen, Nick D’Virgilio, Steve Hogarth.

MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
Hoyt Binder: There are a lot of opinions on this, but I’ll add another angle in that I feel it may help a lot of musicians’ careers, but it has truly hurt songwriting and the album as a form of art. Artists seem to put more time into merchandise to sell at concerts rather than great albums, and I don’t blame them.

Saskia Binder: It’s been going on for a while now.  It helps in getting your music out but doesn’t pay the bills.

Ronald Van Deurzen: When someone shares music digitally with another person with the intention to promote a band, the artist may gain a new fan. But that only helps us if they actually end up buying the music afterwards. For a lot of fans in our style there is still a craving for buying full concept albums, as opposed to casual listeners who stream playlists with single songs from a multitude of different artists and never dig any further. We need more concept albums and to tell stories!

MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?
Hoyt Binder:  It is great that fans are enthusiastic, but I do feel that audiences are not engaging artists anymore. How can you connect in the moment if you busy looking through a phone? Also, the abundance of online footage demystifies artists who once had a mystique. I also believe that so much footage contributes to a feeling of apathy where some may not feel like going to the concert when you can just surf some clips online.

Ronald Van Deurzen: Agreed with Hoyt. It reminds me of the old days when bootlegs were recorded. I hope that these kind of recordings merely spark curiosity for people, as they don’t match album/Blu-ray quality, so there’s still the incentive to buy the studio album. They also do not capture the atmosphere that you get with a real live performance.

Saskia Binder: As long as there is a platform to do that and no legal encumbrances of what can be posted, we roll with the punches…or praises.

MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
Hoyt Binder: Rivers Cuomo from Weezer because his rock satire is the kryptonite to my rock faith.

Ronald Van Deurzen: Weird Al Yankovic, because if he’d do a Euphoria Station cover using pop-culture references he might end up killing us from laughter.

MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Hoyt Binder:  It would have to be David Lee Roth, Edward Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony. All joking aside, real bands that survived the test of time will always win for me rather than supergroups who tend to always fall flat with too many chefs in the kitchen.

 

Saskia Binder: Being with Hoyt.  The level of mastership would only be rivaled.


Ronald Van Deurzen: Nick D’Virgilio, Pete Trewavas, Steve Morse, Bruce Dickinson

MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Hoyt Binder: Pop gods Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Queen (although I’d swap their current singer for Gary Cherone) with opening bands Guns n’ Roses and Van Halen (with David Lee Roth of course).


Saskia Binder: Euphoria Station opening for a reunited Journey, Steely Dan, The Allman Brothers, Doobie Brothers and Peter Frampton.


Ronald Van Deurzen: The Dixie Dregs, Spock’s Beard, Journey, Chick Corea.

MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Hoyt Binder:  I don’t really listen to much modern music. My time is usually limited, so when I do listen to music, I’ll go for my favorite composers – Martinu, Stravinsky and Prokofiev. Or I’ll listen to awesome 70s bands like The Doobie Brothers and Loggins and Messina.


Ronald Van Deurzen: Because of my involvement with orchestral music, I tend to listen to that a lot. Additionally, world music and jazz. From Ravel to ethnic instrumentals to Bill Evans. My taste in music is rather broad.

MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
Hoyt Binder:  I wish I had more time to read. If it weren’t for music I likely would have focused on literature.

Saskia Binder: I love children’s books. Haven’t read one lately though. 


Ronald Van Deurzen: Steve Jobs’ biography for the second time. I’m currently also writing a book myself on ear training.

MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Hoyt and Saskia Binder: Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart.


Ronald Van Deurzen: Local jazz trio performance in a restaurant.

MSJ: Do you remember the first concert you attended?
Hoyt Binder: Yes, it was Pride and Glory at The Troubadour in the mid-90s. I was a late bloomer with a sheltered childhood, never getting to see a lot of acts when I was younger. I really wanted to see the big Guns n’ Roses/ Metallica tour.


Ronald Van Deurzen: It was Marillion in 2013 Tilburg in The Netherlands when I was just a kid. Enchanted by the magic of the music, seeing their keyboardist in action behind a wall of synths.

MSJ: Have you come across any new gear recently that you love?
Hoyt Binder: The Line 6 Variax guitar and Helix. Together, they are the most convenient set up for multiple tunings and types of guitars with a single instrument, which is priceless for playing proggy sets in LA where time is limited.

 

Saskia Binder: For recording:  Telefunken ELA M 251E Large-diaphragm Tube condenser microphone.


Ronald Van Deurzen: While not nostalgic, I do like vintage gear that has a timeless organic quality to it. Certain specifics in the sound, considered a flaw back in the day, can at this day be considered a "feature" giving their unique character. Hence a Roland JD-800 synth and VK-8 organ have found their way into my rig.

MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
Hoyt Binder:  Yes, Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry.” From the punkish vocals to the Def Leppard lushness in the chorus to the synth-wave Missing Persons verse, it has a lot of things that I like about pop music.

Saskia Binder: Listening to Steve Perry’s passagios.


Ronald Van Deurzen: A lot of 80s rock with cheesy synth-hooks.

MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Hoyt Binder: One time I played a cover gig, and the sound guy gave us the “one more song” look so we proceeded with a prog song that led to the sound guy pulling on my ankle to get me to stop the song.


Ronald Van Deurzen: Once I had my sounds configured using pedals to switch between them. I had made a programming mistake. So during a concert, pressing the pedal surprisingly resulted in a brass sound popping up, when I was supposed to have my piano-solo. I just improvised my way through.

MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Hoyt Binder: Johann Sebastian Bach, John Cleese and Nicolas Cage.

Ronald Van Deurzen: Bill Evans, James Horner, Steven Spielberg.

MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Hoyt Binder: Contrapuntal Farce with a side of insanity.

Ronald Van Deurzen: Dutch pancakes.

MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Hoyt Binder:  I believe most music has lost its spirituality. People are more concerned with careers than music that connects us with God/ another plane of existence. There is some Native American influence on The Reverie Suite and that comes from a reverence for the indigenous people of this land whose music serves a purpose far greater than Instagram likes.


Saskia Binder: I hope the lost originality, individuality and the pure essence of inspiration giving rise to creation, will return.  I feel a lot of talented bands are very much influenced and mindful of a particular sound along with technique, which is great, but the stamp of their own expression is missing for me. At its core it is an extension of who we are.


Ronald Van Deurzen: These days, we are bombarded with information. In such a world, less is more. With Euphoria Station we’ve aimed to express ourselves musically in a similar manner and follow a spiritual voice that can help us speak to our audience.
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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