Intersections, the forthcoming LP from Into It. Over It., builds upon an impressive catalog spanning multiple LPs, EPs, cassettes, and split recordings delivered by prolific Chicago-based songwriter Evan Weiss. Long a collaborator and contributor to many different bands (including current involvement in Pet Symmetry and Their/They’re/There along side Mike Kinsella), in 2007 Weiss began recording his own work under the name Into It. Over It. His goals were ambitious from the start as he set out to write, record, and release a new song for free every week for the entire year. These songs would later take the form of a double CD titled 52 Weeks. The brutal sincerity in his lyrics and compositions, and the months upon years lived out of a van playing any basement and club that would have him have earned Weiss an incredible following of devout fans.
Earlier this month, Into It. Over It. and Triple Crown Records announced the September 24 release of Intersections. Intersections was recorded at the legendary Soma Electronic Music Studios by producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine). To celebrate the release, Into It. Over It. will tour this fall, including headlining shows and an extensive run of dates this September and October as direct support for Saves The Day ( tour dates below).
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Weiss, discussing his musical and career visions, being on tour with emo and indie veterans, and the influence of his collaborators. This is what he said.
I had the chance to catch an II.OI. solo performance in Cincy shortly after Proper came out. It struck me that as much as your performance is about music, some of the premiere storytelling moments come between songs during banter with the crowd. Do you see yourself as a musician or storyteller first? Is it a symbiotic relationship?
I’m a musician first. The storytelling evolved through years of performing solo. Performing alone is truly difficult and it takes time to hone a style and approach. My songs are so personal and about such specific circumstances, the storytelling kinda took on a life of its own. I’d play the songs and eventually someone would ask what some of them were about. I would start telling the stories and getting into more and more detail. It started happening so often that it just became part of the show.
There is a stigma to solo performers. It’s really a drag, but it’s really easy to be dismissed by an audience. The storytelling was my way of being able to connect and relate to the crowd. It became part of my approach.
Into It. Over It. spent some of the last year being a full blown rock band. Was that a result of needing a change to keep things interesting?
Well, I’ve done maybe 20 shows as a band in the last 12 months. They were the first 20 I’d ever done. In the grand scheme of things, that really isn’t that many. The full band shows was needed because that’s how the songs are INTENDED to be. They are rock songs. I was touring solo out of need and not so much for want. It’s been rad seeing the band morph and finally being able to play these songs the way they have always been intended.
Was the band with you during your supporting dates for Texas Is The Reason? What was the experience of being out with those kinds of celebrated indie veterans like?
It was me on my lonesome. It wasn’t my first tour with people as experienced as them, but they are certainly the best. I was honored to have been a part of it. Those dudes have become great friends of mine over the last couple years. So cool.
Will you be doing double duty with II.OI. and T/T/T on the tour of Japan? Do you have a solid fanbase there or will this be your first trip there?
I will be! It is my first trip there, but I have been working with a label Stiffslack (based in Tokyo) for a few years. Hopefully there will be a response over there!
Is it true that you wrote Intersections without using a guitar pick? Was that a personal challenge that was stifling or did it open up doors of creativity that you hadn’t explored before?
It is true. It gave the record its own vibe. That was the intention. To write a record and not just songs. It was a personal challenge that, amongst other things, certainly improved my guitar playing and songwriting. Bonus.
“New Northside Air” definitely has an Owen vibe to it. Does you recognize that influence there? If so, does it come as a result of your work with Mike?
I don’t recognize that influence. At least not on that song. Writing with Mike also doesn’t really heed that result. T/T/T is a total collaboration of ideas between Matt, Mike and myself.
That being said, I’ve been listening to bands Mike has played in for 15 years. If there is any stylistic influence, that would certainly be enough. I DO think that we influence each other, but I dunno if artistic style is part of it. We both write proficient (“pretty”) guitar music that ebbs and flows and have both been doing it for years. Of course it’ll stylistically be similar. He’s a great friend and a good motivator. That’s enough influence for me.
“Spatial Exploration” and “Contractual Obligation” are some of the most anthemic and complex songs of the II.OI. catalog. Is taking a step towards more ambitious, rock-centered songs a measure of growth for you? Is it a result of more time in the studio or changing personal tastes?
Those songs are actually the two that are the most similar to the back catalog. There is a lot of layering on those songs though that was new to me. Brian Deck was pretty instrumental in a lot of that process. We were just rolling with nearly every idea we had. It made the recording experience way more fun. Part of growth is becoming fearless and the urge to try new things. I think that’s the underlying attitude behind the recording.
Was there a moment during the writing and recording of Intersections that was exceedingly gratifying in one way or another? What was it about that experience that resulted in pride or insight?
Just to continually challenge ourselves. Between myself, Brian Deck, and Nick Wakim (who played the drums) it was a consistent theme to continue to challenge ourselves not just as musicians but what decisions were “right” or “wrong”… What felt natural and what didn’t. I think ultimately that was the most gratifying. We put in the time and truly pushed ourselves and it really shows. Again, fearlessness.
Much of the rest of the year will be spent on the road with Saves The Day. Have you done shows with them before? Were any of their albums touchstones for you in terms of influence?
I have played solo shows with Chris Conley as part of the Where’s The Band tour a couple years ago. I grew up in NJ, so seeing Saves The Day (during the Can’t Slow Down / Through Being Cool era) happened nearly every weekend. They were a big part of growing up in the late nineties in NJ. It’s an honor to be invited to play. Have you seen the IIOI/Castevet “Snack Town” 7″ artwork where we spoof Through Being Cool? Yeah — It’s rad to be a part of this tour.
You must have some milestones or expected results for Intersections in mind. What are some goals that you are hoping to achieve with this record?
Every year I set new goals for myself. This year it was to make this record, tour the full U.S. with the band and to go to Japan. I was fortunate enough to see all of those through. Ask me again on January 1st. Ha ha. Truly it’s just to see some new places, make some new friends and truly hone the craft performing these songs live. There is a lot to look forward to. I’m really proud of what we (Brian, Nick and myself) were able to make. I just can’t wait to show everyone.
(Catch Into It. Over It. at one of these forthcoming tour dates:
* = w/ Saves The Day
30 – Indianapolis, IN – Hoosier Dome
31 – Kalamazoo, MI – Audiotree Music Festival
03 – Tucson, AZ – Club Congress
04 – Pomona, CA – The Glass House *
05 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s *
07 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret *
08 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon *
10 – Salt Lake City, UT – Club Sound *
11 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater *
12 – Lawrence, KS – Granada Theatre *
13 – Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights *
14 – Iowa City, IA – Blue Moose *
17 – Detroit, MI – Magic Stick *
18 – Columbus, OH – Skully’s *
19 – Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar *
20 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop *
21 – Syracuse, NY – Lost Horizon *
22 – Toronto, ON – The Hoxton *
24 – Boston, MA – Paradise Club *
26 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg *
27 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer *
28 – Sayerville, NJ – Starland Ballroom *
29 – Washington, DC – Black Cat *
30 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle *
02 – Jacksonville, FL – Roc Bar *
03 – St. Petersburg, FL – The State Theatre *
04 – Orlando, FL – The Social *
05 – Atlanta, GA – The Loft *
06 – Nashville, TN – Exit / In *
08 – Austin, TX – The Belmont *
09 – Dallas, TX – Trees *
11 – Scottsdale, AZ – Martini Ranch *
12 – West Hollywood, CA – Troubadour *
13 – San Diego, CA – The Irenic *
15 – Albuquerque, NM – Launchpad
16 – Oklahoma City, OK – The Conservatory
17 – St. Louis, MO – The Firebird)