Music

Interview with ON AN ON

todaySeptember 1, 2015 10

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by Tafari Robertson
Music Reviewer

on an on photoPhoto courtesy of ON AN ON’s Facebook

This is Tafari from KTSW 89.9 here in the van with ON AN ON. Just to get started kind of simply, where does [your] name come from?

Alissa Ricci: Well we were thinking of band names and Nate put out the phrase ON AN ON and we realized that whenever you say it you don’t really pronounce the “d”. And sometimes with songwriting and creative things, you don’t necessarily know why you gravitate towards something but I think that it’s unique and without the “d” it kind of makes it more of a name. I think there are some deeper connotations in there that we just haven’t figured out yet.

You guys just released your second album last month. Can you tell me about the writing process and recording that?

Nathan Eiesland: We were touring our first album for about a year and a half and we took time off to write for the next one and we ended up writing for nine months – maybe even longer—but we ended up with like 30 songs that we were choosing from. Then we whittled that down to 15 or so and then eventually down to the 11 that are on the record. We were just writing collaboratively a lot more and exploring that space outside of the studio which was really cool and beneficial for us and then we prepared and went in to the studio for two and a half months, something like that.

Alissa: I think the actually recording was like a month and then we had mixing and—

Nathan: We went to L.A. from Minneapolis and then got home two and a half months later, but there were breaks in there and we were doing pre production and things like that. It wasn’t all in the studio.

And that album was called “And The Wave Has Two Sides.” Is there one main songwriter or do y’all write way more collaboratively now?

Nathan: I think probably most of the song come from me in there starting form, but almost half the tunes on this record we started together and built from the ground up but we really don’t ascribe to any one way of doing it. We just try to have fun together and make music and surprise ourselves, hopefully.

Is there sort of a sound that y’all go for when you start writing a song or is it— do you have something in mind—or is it different every time?

Nathan: I think that the songs, they reveal their own direction as you write them, but we’re always open to new things happening in the studio and, like I said, we really like to have those unexpected things happen. We really embrace that as a band. But sonically we don’t really hold ourselves down too tightly because we all know how easy it is nowadays making more than one record as a band to pigeonhole yourself. If you make the same statement then people are going to expect that from you and, not that we judge what we make off of what people would make of it, but we really just wanted to make whatever we wanted and follow the vibes in the studio and writing and everything like that.

Alissa: I think we’re not interested in being a brand. I mean we have a sound because it’s consistently us getting together but I think we want to remain really open to the creativity and exploration that keeps us really interested in the work and not feeling like “oh we have to sound like this because we sounded like that before…”

And your two singles that you released, they are pretty different. “Drifting“ is a much more slow song. It’s sort of melancholic and it has that sort of build to it whereas “It’s Not Over” is way more upbeat. Are those totally different ideas on totally different days or is there more similarity? Where are you drawing from with that?

Nathan: It’s hard to say. I think we give due respect to whatever comes out idea wise and see where it goes and it’s funny that you mention those two songs because those are some of the outer limits of what we did on this record. So we just try to do what we feel and let that stuff work itself out.

You said that those were the polar opposites and that everything else was sort of in between do you ever catch yourself being like, “oh we have this many slow songs maybe we need a faster song?” Do y’all regulate it that way at any point or does it come more naturally?

Ryne Estwing: Yeah, I mean, I think there’s a varying degree to that. I think since we had about thirty different ideas we did have to sort of carve out maybe a certain tempo or mood even where it’s like, “okay we have this many of this speed or this pace of a song so let’s maybe cut back from that,” but obviously if one is just sticking out, regardless of the tempo or whatever, we’re going to choose that song but, I mean, I think there’s generally some type of rating or control on like how many [songs] of that tempo that we have.

Nathan: Yeah, that flow is interesting when you’re making a record and also when you’re performing a set for a live show. You know there’s that journey you want to take with the audience.

Just to kind of wrap up you guys are on your second album now, as opposed to touring with your first set of songs, how has it been transitioning from being in the studio for a really long time and then going in to a bit of promotion and now being on the road? How does it feel playing these songs after being in that long process?

Nathan: It feels really good, really really good to be actually in the same room with people making music. Live music, it’s amazing. Even if it’s not good there’s still something magical happening because there’s people putting themselves out there and putting something out into the air that everybody is connecting to in one way or another and so that for us is amazing and these songs, how we recorded it and everything, it feels really good to play these tunes because it’s straight forward and it’s unapologetic and it feels like—I don’t know, it’s just exciting every night and it’s nice too because we have two records and that’s a lot more relaxed to not feel like you have to play every single song off the one record you have just because that’s the only way you can fill a 40 minutes set. It’s nice to be able to choose what we want to play and where we want to go that night.

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