OnceOver plans album release with Tropic BombsWritten by Sanya Ali | | email@example.com
Two young children run around with corndogs. Caramel apple lollipops pass from hand to hand. This is not the picture that immediately pops into one’s head when they think of a practice session for a rock band like OnceOver.
This band has been around for almost 15 years, frontman Steve Dwyer said in a recent interview, so the atmosphere is far different from the traditional rock ‘n’ roll setting.
“If our band was a kid, it would be getting their temps,” Dwyer said. “It would start getting their license soon.”
This year, the band plans to release its sixth album, “White Raven,” alongside Tropic Bombs, another band that Dwyer and bandmate Nick Archer play for. The release concert is slated for June 20 at Toledo’s Mainstreet Bar & Grill, 141 Main St.
The original OnceOver was founded in 2001, and has experienced multiple fan and membership changes throughout the years.
The current members are Dwyer, his brother Paul Dwyer on guitar, Colin de Saint Victor on guitar, Archer on bass and Bruce Stelter on drums.
The Dwyer brothers have a musical past, as their father is an alumnus of Berkley University’s music program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in composition and a master’s in guitar performance.
“We grew up in environments that were very music-savvy,” Dwyer said.
“Most people kinda have a passion for music from a super young age; I was one of those people,” de Saint Victor said. “I started playing guitar in maybe fifth grade and I spent countless hours playing when I was younger and just never quit.”
De Saint Victor and Dwyer said their fellow members have little or no formal training for the instruments they chose to play in this band.
“[Dwyer] had high school stuff at least, like orchestra, choir, that kind of stuff,” de Saint Victor said.
“[Archer] took a little bit of guitar lessons when he was a kid but, other than that, I think it’s safe to say we were all self-taught,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer said some of the band’s mainstay fans go to great lengths to show their loyalty, from bringing their now-adult children to shows to getting tattoos of the band’s logo on their bodies.
“I would say we’ve always had this core set of fans that are super die-hard but on the outer shell of that there’s been a lot of weird fluctuation,” Dwyer said.
“We’re like 30 and people our age don’t really go to shows,” he added.
“The fanbase stays the same age, almost,” de Saint Victor said.
The group also jokes they have had their share of interesting fan experiences, from injuries to pregnancies and all sorts of strange behavior in between.
De Saint Victor said OnceOver’s current challenges are different from the challenges of younger bands, which fight over creative differences or get tired of seeing one another.
“We’ve been together for so long the challenges now are way different than the challenges when we were 20,” de Saint Victor said. “Everybody’s got kids. It’s mostly an issue now with scheduling and making time in our lives to still do this.”
The new album focuses on overcoming life challenges, from death to addiction to dealing with bullies in the professional world.
“Kind of assessing and taking a step back, understanding some of the darker parts of your life and learning to grow from them,” Dwyer said. “Whether that be the death of a family member or a personal struggle and overcoming what seems to be insurmountable.”
The album begins with a song titled “The Death of You,” and ends with “The Locus of Control.”
“[The first track is] semi-inspirational but comes from a dark place,” Dwyer said. “The end of the album is kind of a positive note where it’s like you’re in control of your life.”
Musical inspiration comes from the members of the band coming together, not necessarily all at once, to conceptualize, write and play.
“I’d say our songs come from an inception point,” Dwyer said. “We work on songs together but normally it comes from one or two ideas that kind of sprout something.”
“Every song is definitely not started and ended with everybody’s input, which is probably the way it should be,” de Saint Victor said.
Paul said their goal with this album is not fame and fortune, but sharing their music with the audience that made them the band they are today.
“We’re not trying, at this point, to make money off of it,” Paul said. “We’re really just into getting people into the music and kind of networking with people and bands.”
The group will work on a better touring schedule, within drivable distance.
“We have little pockets of fans in a lot of the cities around us,” Archer said. “This year, we’re trying to make a little more of an effort to play out of town.”
The next year will also see a little bit of separation followed by endless hours dedicated to their next record, which is already in process.
“It’s some of our best stuff ever, I would say,” Dwyer said. “It needs a lot of work and we’re not that far into it.”
“As soon as we release an album, it just repeats,” de Saint Victor added.