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Photo by Mitchell Wojcik.

Evan Weiss sets out to play more solo shows and record a new LP

“There has always been a great scene and a great collective force of people that are working together, even if they don’t play the same style of music or want the same things. You know, it’s a pretty fortunate place to be.

-Evan Weiss on being a musician in Chicago.

At the suggestion that he puts on quite the balancing act, Evan Weiss, of Into It. Over It., answers “you’re tellin’ me!” He then ironically adds that he doesn’t like to multitask. Weiss’ solo project, Into It. Over It., has just turned seven years old. Having done countless shows and releasing numerous splits, EP’s, compilations, and two LP’s, he will soon be working on a third album. Weiss has done all of this while juggling side projects in bands such as Pet Symmetry, Their/They’re/There, and Stay Ahead of the Weather. He has dabbled in emo, indie and math-rock genres.

Weiss says he prefers to focus on one thing at a time and divide his creative endeavours. “You know it definitely helps to put time aside and make sure that I am not losing my mind… With bands like Their/They’re/There or Pet Symmetry, which are super casual, I kind of wait for the other members to be like “Hey, we’re ready to write” and then I show up! Whereas, for Into It. Over It., I have to set aside specific downtime to be able to work on things.”

So Weiss has no special secret when it comes to endless creativity and multiple band affiliations; he simply prioritizes.

Having been on the road promoting his full-length album, Intersections,  since September 2013, Weiss has a few more months planned of touring in North America. This last leg includes playing solo shows with the band Lemuria. Having played solo shows for the first five years as IIOI, Weiss realized earlier this year that he was missing the intimacy of a solo gig. He honestly admits that he misses “being able to goof-off and communicate more with the crowd…it’s a more casual atmosphere when I’m by myself-but equally rewarding and equally fun to do [with a band].”

Photo by Mitchell Wojcik.

When asked if he could tour with any band, past, present or future, Weiss doesn’t hesitate. He blurts out, Pearl Jam, then, continues, “I mean I’m thirty years old. They’ve been my favourite band as long as I can remember having a favourite band.” So, Eddie Vedder, if you’re reading this, you know what to do…

After touring, Weiss will hopefully be able to get back into writing and recording this winter. Plans for the new record, which will be co-written with drummer Josh Sparks, include an attempt to eliminate distractions, particularly of busy city life in Chicago, and to experiment with analog synthesizers. Having used a Moog and experimented with a glass harp on Intersections, Weiss is eager to become familiar with analog synthesizers since he explains it isn’t something he has really learned how to use. Inspired by the music of Brian Eno and David Bowie of the ‘70s & ‘80s, Weiss hopes to “…see what kind of weird sounds [he] can make.”

Along with experimental synth rock and pop, Weiss says he listens mostly to instrumental music and a lot of jazz. Call him old-fashioned, but this music fanatic has some pretty spectacular ‘set-ups’ in his home for listening to his eclectic collection. “We have a record player in every room,” shares Weiss. “It’s really nice to be able to just listen to records everywhere in the house.”

In this age of 99-cent downloads and snippets of MP3’s here and there, the idea of taking the time and listening to an album in its entirety seems an altogether unlikely possibility. This makes Weiss’ vinyl dedication admirable and also enviable to those who don’t even have one record player – let alone four!

Weiss has his own philosophy when it comes to writing and recording an album. His intention is for the album to be played from start to finish and sound like a complete thought. Discussing the concept of an album as a complete work, Weiss says “you’re meant to put it on, sit down, and enjoy it. I’m probably a dying breed with that kind of mentality, but that’s what I enjoy and that’s the thing that I want to make.”

No, Evan, you aren’t a dying breed and thank heavens for that. Stores like Urban Outfitters obviously realize there is a new generation of vinyl addicts and they’re cashing in on that trend. Then again, at least the trend is helping to reinforce the importance of supporting the artist and experiencing the album as a complete work.

For IIOI, the first song written when creating a new album determines the overall vibe of the record. While both albums are dynamic, 2011’s Proper has a louder, rock tone– the result of the first song falling closer into the rock category. Intersections has a more subtle tone and was established with a mellow finger picking sound found on the track “Your Antique Organ”. Weiss emphasizes that “…you [might] pick-up a record from a band and that record doesn’t sound like the record before, or the record after, but it definitely sounds like it is its own record.”

We don’t yet know the tone of Weiss’ next record, but we can deduce that it will follow the path of the previous two. When you sit down to listen to it for the first time, play it from start to finish; let it be a complete thought.

Into It. Over It. plays Cabaret Underworld with Gulfer, Kittyhawk and Foxing on Oct. 8.

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