Evan Thomas Weiss is the hardworking frontman of Chicago indie rock band, Into It. Over It. Growing up on the east coast, Weiss was exposed to Sunny Day Real Estate in the seventh grade and quickly scoured the record stores of New Jersey and Philadelphia collecting any vinyl he could released by Jade Tree and Polyvinyl record. Years later, the profound affect of emo and indie rock music inspired Weiss to create his own outlet, and has since toured with The Get Up Kids, Minus the Bear and Modern Baseball to name a few.
Weiss has many projects under his sleeve (or perhaps I should say flannel), performing solo for Chicago festival, The Fest, touring with his side project, Pet Symmetry, which he created with members of the band Dowsing, and recently record a new album with his brain child, Into It. Over It.
The band chose San Francisco’s Tiny Telephone Studio to work with local hero John Vanderslice for their third album, Standards. The record is warm and uplifting, much like the climate in the city, never getting too cold or too hot. Fresh off the heels of a week at SXSW, I caught up with Weiss to talk about the unique writing process for this album, spending time in the city and working with John Vanderslice.
Your new album, Standards, was recorded in San Francisco at Tiny Telephone Studios with John Vanderslice. What was the driving factor in choosing this studio?
The driving factor was choosing John. Based on conversations leading up to the session it was clear that he was the person for the job. He had the right outlook, ideals and skill set. Plus, he WANTED to make the record. His desire to be a part of it was really huge.
Did working with Vanderslice help shape the record?
Absolutely. It was in many ways very collaborative. It was the first time I had really put 100% trust into someone else when it came to some big sonic decisions.
Known for being an analogue studio, you recorded entirely on tape. What were some of the challenges?
I went into it thinking there would be a ton. Really, it was so much easier than we had anticipated. The main difficulty was mostly in just being able to get solid/single takes of all of the parts.. Being well rehearsed and playing with confidence. This proves a little more difficult when I write so much of what’s happening in the studio in real time.
Recording demands a lot of time. Did you at least get out to see the city?
Josh (who made the record with me) and I got a couple days to really see some of the sights. Did some touristy stuff (Golden Gate, etc.) and some less touristy outside stuff (Muir Woods). It’s a beautiful part of the country. A really inspiring place to be.
You wrote these batch of songs in a secluded cabin in Vermont, totally detached from the outside world. Do you think it helped with the songwriting process eliminating such distractions?
100%. I think you can hear the focus in the material.
What sort of clarity did you achieve, personally, from this?
It was almost zen like. A full feeling of purpose. There was very much of the outside world I really found myself missing. Maybe chalk this up to Josh and I being introverted people, but it was a complete creatively fulfilling process.
You’ve been one of the busier musicians in the indie rock scene, touring with Into It. Over It. alongside Modern Baseball and Minus the Bear, playing a solo set at Chicago’s Riot Fest, touring with your side project, Pet Symmetry, even making a special appearance on bass at a Get Up Kids show. What drives you to tackle so many projects?
Hunger. Staying hungry is the only way I can keep myself motivated and with clear conscience. I think it’s important for any artist to continue to challenge oneself at all times. It’s the only way in my mind to keep from imploding.
You just finished up a few dates at SXSW. How was it this year? Any standout memories or performances?
I think IIOI did it right. We took it easy and played one show a day. We scheduled everything out just right so we were never overdoing it. Plenty of sleep is the key. The Middlewest Management showcase was our standout night. A great show surrounded by friends and family. It was really special.
After your current tour, do you have any other goals for 2016?
Gotta get overseas. Gotta bring the band to Australia and Japan. Gotta get a jumpstart on writing the next record. It never stops!