One of the more interesting releases over the last few years from Solid State Records was the debut of The Ongoing Concept with their record Saloon. On June 16th, The Ongoing Concept releases Handmade, their second release with Solid State. I talked with band’s vocalist Dawson Scholz about their unique genre, playing in a band with his family, and of course Toto.
Gabe: Saloon was so diverse when it comes to genres. Did you try to make Handmade as diverse?
Dawson: In a way yes. We weren’t trying to be diverse just to be diverse though. We wanted to create something much more mature and listenable yet still keep the listener interested. If we couldn’t listen to the whole album all the way through without getting bored, the album wasn’t good enough to release. So I guess that goes hand in hand with being diverse.
Gabe: What did the band listen to growing up that shaped the way that the band sounds like today?
Dawson: We all listened to a lot of classic rock growing up. We have always loved how simple a lot of those timeless 80/90s song are. In our teens, us 3 brothers listened to a lot of Dream Theater. We have always been intrigued by the album concepts that band had. Very unique. Even though we don’t listen to them much anymore, that aspect about them has always been something that influences us.
Gabe: What are some of the inspirations that have gone into the music and lyrics of Handmade?
Dawson: The music: nothing really. When I write I tend to ask the other members to keep me away from listening to music in general. I try to write with as fresh of a mind as possible. If there is any inspiration it comes from the impact certain bands have had on our music scene and even culture. There is a reason they are house hold names and not just fads.
As far as lyrics: We tend to write about stuff that makes us angry and/or needs addressing. I feel those types of things are our best way of tapping into our emotions. Music is emotion. Its hard for us to write lyrics about something we know nothing about or are not emotionally attached to.
Gabe: With Handmade being the 2nd record on Solid State, has the relationship with the label been good so far?
Dawson: Certainly. We have grown very close with them. They are a great!
Gabe: Do you feel pressure of upholding a tradition on a label that has been the home to so many legendary metal bands?
Dawson: Solid State has always been a label with unique bands. I feel they have tried really hard to zig when everyone zags. I feel that mindset has been a part of our band so it just feel natural to be on a label like that. We don’t really feel any pressure because we aren’t tying to be the next Underoath, August Burns Red, Emery, or even The Chariot. We are just trying to be The Ongoing Concept.
Gabe: What are the pros/cons of working in a band with people you’ve known your whole life?
Dawson: The pros are definitely that we have known each other for so long. Without that none of us would be honest with each other. I find a lot of bands that are made up of just friends tend to have a lot of drama because no one wants to speak their mind. Everyone wants to be everyones friend. In our band, everyone just says what they want to say. We don’t really beat around the bush with things. Sometimes it leads to arguments, but without those nothing would be resolved.
The cons are also knowing each other for so long. I think we all take each other for granted and it sometimes makes us lose sense of reality because we don’t know what it would be like if one of us wasn’t in the band or even in our lives anymore. It sometimes leads to a member feeling like no one appreciates what they are doing.
Gabe: On the band’s website, it lists Toto as an influence… What’s the greatest Toto song ever?
Dawson: Toto is one of those classic 80/90’s bands I referred to earlier. They have a few timeless songs that I still hear in Walmarts and Taco Bells across America. I think Rosanna and Africa are their biggest hits but I really like the song “Hold the Line”. So classic.
Check out this brand new music video from The Ongoing Concept!
Check out Handmade wherever good music is sold on June 16th! Follow The Ongoing Concept on Twitter @ongoingconcept.