ON AN ON @ Club Congress

Stateside & The Rialto Theatre Present

ON AN ON @ Club Congress

Jul 19 Tue

8:00 pm

Club Congress

10.00-12.00

This event is 16 and over

ON AN ON
ON AN ON
Sometime in the Spring of 2012 the musicians that would go on to form the Chicago & Minneapolis based trio ON AN ON found themselves at a tipping point. The three of them – Nate Eiesland, Alissa Ricci, and Ryne Estwing – had played music with one another in various capacities for the better part of a decade. Most recently, they had shared the stage and studio as three fifths of the indie-pop outfit Scattered Trees, which had seen its fair share of success. But with the band's studio time only a few weeks away and the other members now spread out across the country pursuing other endeavors, they would chart their own course and come out stronger for it. What emerged was ON AN ON.

For ON AN ON, the precariousness of breaking new ground only three weeks before recording with accomplished producer Dave Newfeld (Broken Social Scene, Super Furry Animals, Los Campesinos!) provided a jolt of creative energy. The musicians had become disenchanted with their past approach to songwriting and recording, finding the process of striving for polished pop both tiresome and constrained. Newfeld proved the perfect counterpart to their initial vision for the record, encouraging them to push boundaries and go with their instincts.
According to Eiesland, the sessions were something of an exorcism: "We really wanted to get away from the sterility of our previous approach to recording." Eieseland, Ricci, and Estwing embraced musical risks that in the past they might have shied away from. In the studio, the band members explored a natural chemistry and honed their sound; synthesizers, scattershot electro beats and ambient ear candy gave guitars, bass and drums a ghostly sheen.

While the melodies might clue one in to the trio's evolved sonic palate, it's through the album's themes that the group members' respective evolution becomes most apparent. Eiesland wrote the majority of the lyrics, in the process coming to terms with death and the traps that life springs upon us. Whether letting his intuition guide him on "I Wanted To Say More" ("You are a saint and you're the devil / Every word I spoke to you, I thought that they were wings / But they were only feathers") or owning up to life's inevitability on "All The Horses" ("A family tree will split in two halfway through its life"), there's a tempered calm to the thought-provoking imagery he espouses through his words. Estwing offered up his own lyrical seance on his lead vocal track "Cops," although the bassist says his message – that the police can be surprisingly corrupt – is more direct.

After smashing everything they knew to pieces, they pulled themselves together around Give In, ON AN ON's ten-track debut album – a dream-washed textural journey armed with a biting perspective on life, love, and the commonality of loss. It is an affair that sizzles with electricity and calls one in with its unnerved openness.

"This is another first record for us in a way." says keyboardist Alissa Ricci "This time we came into the studio as a band. 'Give In' (our debut) was us learning to think less and trust our instincts. What you hear on that record is a band beginning. It's mysterious, and flawed, and honest."

Formed in 2012, ON AN ON began when the trio congregated in the Toronto studio Stars & Sons with producer Dave Newfeld to start a brand new band. "We didn't plan what we were going to sound like ahead of time. We just had some demos and a blank slate. It felt like selling all of your possessions and starting fresh", states Ricci. Their debut Give In captured the origins and exploration of their new sound in real-time.

"We had each been in bands prior to ON AN ON and had day jobs and careers, but we just decided to go for it", says Eiesland, "We gave all that up so we could jump into the deep end of something new. It was a risk, but it felt right, and as an artist if you don't trust your gut you're screwed." Critics confirmed that the risk had paid off. Give In topped many best of 2013 lists and ON AN ON were touted by TIME, NPR and MTV as one of the new bands to watch in the first year of their existence.

After touring across the US and Europe for a year and a half, pairing with artists such as Junip, Tennis and Geographer, and at festivals including Bonnaroo, Governor's Ball and Iceland Airwaves, the band returned to their hometown of Minneapolis to begin writing what would become their sophomore follow-up. During this period, the band began to explore live tracking, allowing them to approach the writing process more collaboratively, vocalist Nate Eiesland adds, "By tracking everyone in the same room at one time, we tried to capture the interaction between the parts we were playing. There's a subtle energy to things that get recorded that way; a tension in the sound. When we would make it to the end of what everyone in the studio knew was THE take, there was always this moment of pure electric silence. It was a magic feeling."

One of the most important factors during this process was to continue to explore new musical territory and to build on the sound they had developed while touring. "Making another Give In would have been the easy thing to do", says bassist Ryne Estwing. "This time we wanted to make something more direct and visceral. We decided to use a more old school recording approach to capture that immediacy." With a fresh collection of songs written, ON AN ON ventured to California to record at the famous Sunset Sound in Los Angeles with legendary producer Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, Spoon, The Shins, My Morning Jacket). The influence of sun-drenched Californian landscape can be clearly heard in the new record, pushing the vibrancy and the energy of their debut to ever-greater heights.

The first insight into the record is the hauntingly suspenseful "Drifting". This track encapsulates the band at their most vulnerable yet; "Drifting is inspired by falling asleep behind the wheel and trying to forget unforgettable things. We've never had a song that sounded this naked." Second single "It's Not Over" shows the band in an entirely different light, delivering a summer dance-floor anthem, with a driving bass line and inescapably catchy, highly-processed drum beat. The song "is about long-term love. It's about regaining a sense of context to help in the moments, or the seasons, of insecurity that are a part of loving someone forever", says Eiesland. "It's funny that the first two songs we put out from this album are the ones that were the furthest from our comfort zone."
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