OnceOver courts national attention with latest CDWritten by Mighty Wyte (Matt Feher) | | firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you get when you combine a steelworker, a mechanical engineer, a future Toledo firefighter, an electrical engineer and a social media analyst? You get OnceOver, a local band with a national sound.
After 10 years and five albums, OnceOver — vocalist Steve Dwyer, drummer Bruce Stelter, guitarists Paul Dwyer and Colin de Saint Victor and bassist Nick Archer — released “9,” a shot of audio adrenaline that punches the listener in the face.
“We always have a goal in front of us, we’re always moving forward,” Steve Dwyer said. “We never move away from the original sound; we just build upon it. When we started writing this album we looked at what we hadn’t done yet. We had written beautiful, melodic pieces with heavy parts but we never put an album together that was aggressive all the way through.”
The addition of Stelter changed the dynamic of the band.
“We really paid attention to what Bruce brought to the table on this album,” Steve said. “With his heavy drumming style and wicked double bass technique, we decided to go super aggressive with this album. I shut myself out from any outside influence for a long time. I would just listen to our new stuff over and over again or I wouldn’t listen to anything at all. The idea behind ‘9’ was to make something that was strong and quick without losing who we are. Our sound has progressed from alternative hard rock to the hardest stuff we’ve ever produced.”
The music on “9” is a bit more angry and less metaphorical; it’s more first-person.
“On the last album, ‘Red Right Returning,’ we showcased the light and the hard. ‘9’ is heavier and there aren’t many slow parts; it just drives,” Steve said. “Our older material would start and stop and after four albums like that we just wanted to break loose and do something extreme.”
It took two years of writing, producing, mixing and mastering to complete “9.”
“The songs came together easy,” Steve said, “but they took forever to perfect.”
With each member balancing a career and family life, finding the time to write and record was as much a challenge as it was a necessity.
According to Stelter, a self-proclaimed “one man wolf pack,” “Every single practice is fun, we know we’re going to laugh. It’s all about the music but it’s fun. Playing is a release; if I’m in a bad mood and I come here, I can come play and feel good. We never leave here in a bad mood.”
Speaking to the band’s longevity, Steve said, “We’ve been through every hardship a band could go through. From the loss of our best friend and manager, Shawn Jeffords, in 2007, to roster changes. If we haven’t broken up yet we never will. Our focus is on being happy with each other and making good music.”
Guitarist de Saint Victor said he believes that OnceOver’s 10-year run is a result of the dynamic among the band’s members.
“We’ve been together for quite a few years and it’s not stressful. All the other bands I’ve been in involved drama at some point; that’s not really the case with this band,” he said. “We’ll just have to get to the point where we’re too old to do this to quit. One of us will have to call and say something like ‘It’s too dark to drive’ for us to stop.”
Since the digital release of “9,” OnceOver has attracted the attention of industry playmakers.
“Getting signed and touring isn’t a priority for us right now; it can’t be,” Steve said.
However, OnceOver is currently hammering out the details of two major licensing deals with two of the biggest names in the business and will undoubtedly make a mark with its music.
“We try to make plans each year,” Steve said, “but things always come up. We added four kids to the OnceOver family through the course of writing ‘9’.”
While hard copies of “9” are expected soon, the album is available for digital download for $5 at onceover.bandcamp.com/album/9.
“We will have a record release show,” Steve said. “We haven’t selected a venue yet or set the date in stone, but we will be playing the album front to back at that show.”