PropertyOfZack recently had the chance to do an in-depth interview with Evan Weiss, aka Into It. Over It., and we couldn’t be more happy with how it turned out. Evan and I discussed his recent split with Koji, Stay Ahead Of The Weather, a split with Such Gold, a 2011 full-length, and much more. Read up and enjoy!
You’re one hell of a busy man. 2010 is winding down and you have just a few more shows as Into It. Over It. and Stay Ahead Of The Weather left before you get to relax for a minute or two. Were there plans of this year being anywhere near as busy as it was this time last year when you were planning the early stages of it?
No [Laughs]. It was kind of like a surprise. I wanted to do more Into It. Over It. stuff towards the end of last year because it turned into my main focus. I had recorded all the splits and went on tour with Former Thieves, but I still had a job. They were cool with me touring and coming back and touring and coming back, and then I was like, “Hey, I’m going to Europe for like 40 days.” They weren’t really cool with me coming back after that one. So when I got back I didn’t have a job or anything going on, so the only way I could really sustain it was if I kept on going out. That just basically turned into why the year got so busy. It was like a need to live basically [Laughs]. It kind of just took on a life of its own. When music becomes the primary focus it’s pretty easy to keep it out there. I’m stoked. I just found out a lot of my newer plans for next year and it’s real exciting. There’s so much stuff going on and it’s going to be a really cool 2011.
In the past three weeks you’ve had two releases, one under each previously mentioned name. Can you discuss how the responses to the both have been?
Both of those recordings were done within the same week of each other. I think Stay Ahead was like the 18th to the 21st of July and then the Koji split was recorded like the 22nd to the 29th. So I was in the studio for almost like two weeks straight. We had like three months leading into it where we were just anticipating what was going to happen and how people were going to respond to everything. It was cool to see it really grow. With Stay Ahead Of The Weather it’s really wild because we haven’t really even done anything [Laughs]. We put the songs online and we played a couple shows in Chicago. If we weren’t all busy doing other things we would definitely be focusing on that more, but Matt’s a full-time student and Nick’s a doctor and Bobby’s in Native and I’ve been doing Into It. Over It., so it’s been kind of a thing that we can only do in our spare time. Bobby had to leave the band because Native was getting so busy, so we got our friend Owen to play, but Owen works full-time at a booking agency. There’s constant stuff going on for everyone, so for us to be able to do anything is really cool. The fact that we can do anything is real exciting. When we started the band we thought it’d be fun to record some songs and maybe play a few shows. The response has been so overwhelming that its made us want to focus on it a little more and do a little more with it.
As far as the Koji split goes, I think Koji and I were very confident in that release. We were both really confident in the fact that we’d written ten songs that we were super proud of and that with both of us touring pretty much full-time this year, we had a little better of an idea about what we were getting into. We knew that our friends and family would be really stoked and that hopefully we could show it to other people and they’d be really exciting about it to, to see how we were collaborative in the process of making it. It’s so exciting though that it came out and at once people were really stoked.
It has five songs specifically written about your life in Chicago. Did the writing process for these songs come easily as they were all about your current home and places and memories you hold dear to you?
I don’t know if there was anything easy about that writing process [Laughs]. I was in Europe with Grown Ups, came home, did like five shows with Castevet, and then had about twenty days to write those five songs. So I had literally just shut myself off and just worked on those songs. Initially the idea was to do songs about my trip to Europe, but when I sat down to write I started thinking about all these situations and stories from living in Chicago for the past year that I hadn’t gotten to write about yet because I was writing about other towns. When it came time to name the songs and I realized that all of them were about stories in Chicago, I just named them all after the neighborhoods that they happened in. It was kind of accidental. Naming songs is so frustrating. I think it’s kind of cool that they were about my life there for the past year. It was definitely down to the wire. You can tell too; one of the songs is about getting punched in the face, one of them’s about one of my bike frames being stolen [Laughs]. It’s pretty random.
I think everyone would agree that this is absolutely the best material under Into It. Over It. that you’ve ever put out in terms of lyrics, music, and production. Is this EP a step that you only see yourself building off of?
I think it’s just a fact that the guy I’ve done most of the recordings of my life with back in New Jersey has a very organic approach to recording. Very like, mid-90’s, like natural sound. He didn’t do much polishing and wants his bands to sound exactly how they actually are. Mark though, who I recorded with in Chicago, has different methods. I think they’re benefits to both of those, but with the way that my songwriting is going, I think that Mark’s method is better suited to where my music is headed. As opposed to Steve’s, I think for 52 Weeks his method was way more appropriate with keeping it in the moment and making sure it was exactly what it was each week. I don’t know if I’m doing the next full-length with Mark, but his approach is definitely going to be in the next record
All of your five split releases this year were inspired by a project you call Twelve Towns. Would you say it’s been a success?
Oh yeah, absolutely. The Koji one wasn’t part of Twelve Town, that was just its own record. The other splits were all a part of it, and Such Gold is going to be the last one that is going to be coming out in February. I would definitely say it’s a success. Castevet and Everywhere Everywhere went out of print and the other ones are almost gone as well. I definitely think it was a success, just to be able to do a project that can promote my friends on all levels. Whether it was people who designed the artwork, or people who took the photos, or the bands that the records were with, or the labels that put the records out. It was all a communal, friend effort, which was awesome because it kind of just really helps promote everybody in one mass effort, which was the goal of the entire project in the first place; it was like, how can I release songs and be able to expose all this cool shit that my friends are doing in one spot. Then at the same time, if people got into one it’d get them into the other one and then they’d learn about those labels or those bands. You’d get a feel for the scene that we’re involved in and what’s happening right now, which is really cool. It was definitely a success, and at least on the personal level it was. Looking back, when I had announced the project, there wasn’t any label support and I was still finding the bands to do it with. I just kind of had this idea and put it out there and it took hold, which was awesome.
With the last one featuring Such Gold, how many tracks should we expect on it?
Two on my side and they have two on theirs. No Sleep and Mightier Than Sword are putting it out collectively and there will be 500 of them. Such Gold is finishing their songs right now. By the time that 7” comes out, my songs will be over a year old. They’ve been sitting and waiting.
How is your relationship with Chris and No Sleep in general?
Best dudes, best label. I feel really fortunate that the labels I love are really behind me. I’ve known Chris for a long time and Chase does my management. It’s really just him and I working together to make sure stuff gets done. My work relationship with them is incredible. I prank call them on the office line all the time [Laughs]. It’s definitely a really good relationship. It’s probably one of the closest relationships I have with anyone. I feel really fortunate to be a part of that roster and to be a part of their family, which is awesome. I love how they operate and handle things. They’re super efficient, smart, and they just know how to do it. Chris just knows how to run a label, it’s awesome.
It’s not really a stretch to call Stay Ahead Of The Weather a kind of super group in the DIY scene. What was is it like writing with all the other guys as one band?
Nick and I started writing those songs, just the two of us, almost a year ago, or probably in November of last year. The original idea was that they were going to be the five songs on the Koji split. We started writing them and thought they were too heavy and didn’t know if it was Into It. Over It. stuff. Instead we thought it should be its own band. We were kind of just sitting around with the songs and talking about them. We could’ve recorded them with just the two of us, and it would have been fine, but I don’t think it would’ve been as good. At the time, I was working at Threadless in Chicago, and one of my co-workers was Matt Jordan, and he was like, “Hey, what are you doing tonight? Do you want to play guitar?” So I went over to his house and showed him the songs and he started playing these riffs on top of them and I was like, “Oh my god, do you want to be in a band?” So Matt joined, we fine-tuned the songs a little bit more, and then we had them all together without a bass player and we’ve all known Bobby for a long time, and Native was taking some time off, so we asked him to play bass on the songs. He wrote all the bass parts to all the recordings and two or three weeks later we recorded them.
At this point, we started writing new material, and I think we’re going to record the second 7” in February. It’s kind of the same process. Nick and I have gotten together and we’ve written the basic shells of the songs and have sent them to Matt and to Owen and they’ve taken on their own life. We’ll discuss how to make them better and what parts should be moved or changed. We just all talk about the songs and it’s really cool because we all have primary focuses on our own and no one is really taking it too personally. We just all want them to be really good. No one’s feelings get hurt when we talk about the parts or how to make the songs better. We’re willing to just keep working on them until we’re all really happy with them. It’s actually a really good dynamic because there are four songwriters in the band and we can all put in our two-sense and come out with something we’re really happy with. The writing process is actually just a lot of fun.
Do you think that EP could be released in late-spring?
If we do end up recording it in February it’ll probably be out three to four months later, so late spring/early summer.
What about Into It. Over It.? You have the last Twelve Towns split, but should we expect more material in 2011?
Yeah, I’m recording a full-length probably in May, which means it’ll probably be out in September. I know Top Shelf is going to release a Twelve Towns LP, which will be all of the splits on one vinyl, which will be really cool.
POZ: And the full-length will be on No Sleep right?
What about touring for the early New Year?
So far I’m doing about six shows with Daytrader at the end of January and then the only other thing I have confirmed right now is two and a half weeks with Moving Mountains from San Diego to South By South West and I’ll be playing that. I know there’s a tour coming up after South By South West, but I don’t know what it is yet, it’s not really confirmed.
I believe you recorded a Christmas song for No Sleep’s annual release. Did that come out well?
It did. I’ve done a Christmas song every year for the past seven years. My friend from New Jersey does the Arbor Records Christmas Show and this is the eleventh year that they’re doing it. Basically all the proceeds go to help our friend John that died about ten years ago that died from stomach cancer. All of the proceeds go to his cancer research. I’ve done it for four years, but in the last three years, Chris has also done the No Sleep comp. So the songs I’ve done the past three years have gone on both. It’s cool to be able to record a yearly Christmas song and have them come out in two different places. It was cool. I did an Alkaline Trio cover as well for an Alkaline Trio comp. I did “Message From Kathleen.”
Thanks so much for your time, is there anything you’d like to add?
It’s freaking cold outside.