Interview with Mike Park and Maura Weaver | By John Silva
Mike Park is something of a legend in the DIY scene. Besides playing in Skankin’ Pickle, Park is best known for the label he founded and continues to run to this day, Asian Man Records, which has been home to countless important punk artists from The Lawrence Arms to The Alkaline Trio. Maura Weaver is also big contributor to the punk community, best known for her time in The Mixtapes, a beloved pop punk band who were part of the No Sleep Records family. When Mike Park and Maura Weaver come together, they are Ogikubo Station.
Ogikubo Station have a warm, welcoming sound, and it’s difficult not to fall in love with them from the first note. They put their music out on Asian Man Records, so they enjoy unrestricted creative freedom, which Weaver says is not unlike her time with No Sleep. “I’ve always had creative freedom when releasing and writing music,” she explains. “Mixtapes were never told that we had to sound a certain way or play a certain style, so there’s really no difference there. Ogikubo Station is a totally different band, but both were released on indie labels that didn’t force or change the band’s sound.”
The duo face some geographical challenges, as Park is on the West Coast and Weaver lives in the Midwest—along with recent addition and touring member Megan Schroer, who also plays with Weaver in Boys—but modern technology, paired with their strong knack for songwriting, helps them collaborate despite the 2,000 miles that separate them. “We tried doing full-on Skype rehearsals, but it didn’t match up,” Weaver says. “There’d be a half-second delay, so we just couldn’t do it live. So, we just started sending ideas back and forth and building on those ideas. It’s actually a lot easier than I had expected.”
“We’re both pretty prolific with songwriting,” Park adds, “so we’ve been able to write a lot of songs from scratch with a tight schedule.”
Ogikubo Station released their debut self-titled EP in 2017 and their first LP, We Can Pretend Like, in 2018, and on June 14, they put out a new 7” entitled Okinawan Love Songs, with three tracks—two originals and a cover of They Might Be Giants’ “Dr. Worm”—that are as catchy and charming as ever.
Weaver brought Schroer along to record the EP in California, and they added another very special guest, Alkaline Trio’s Dan Andriano, to contribute bass. “I love visiting California where we’ve done all our recordings,” Weaver says. “So, when Mike said, ‘Come out and record some songs for this 7”,’ I was like, ‘Heck yeah!’ but this time, my best friend Megan came too and contributed to the recording with her vocals. That was the most fun, just having her with me and sharing in the experience.”
Park adds that Okinawan Love Songs is brief, but the expanding Ogikubo Station family had a lot of fun making it. “I believe it was Megan’s birthday the day after we finished,” he says, “so we had a little party and did karaoke at a bowling alley in San Jose. It’s such a short little project, but I really love the songs.”