On An On is an American experimental-pop band out of Minneapolis, MN, made up of long-time friends and collaborators, Nate Eiesland (vocals, guitar), Ryne Estwing (bass, vocals) and Alissa Ricci (keys, vocals). On July 24, 2015 they will release their sophomore album And The Wave Has Two Sides.
“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.”