Several years ago, Weiss, using the moniker, “Into It. Over It,” put out his 52 Weeks project. From September 2007 to September 2008, he wrote and recorded one track every week for a year, making each available online and eventually on CD. No stranger to challenges, he also once wrote twelve songs about twelve different U.S. towns. So no, he’s not your typical write-record-tour-repeat artist.
Proper, aptly enough, will mark his first proper release. The Chicago musician is about to spend the fall touring the UK with Koji then hit the U.S. with Frank Turner and Andrew Jackson Jihad.
He was kind enough to speak recently about the new record.
Innocent Words: What can you tell me about your new album Proper?
Evan Thomas Weiss: I spent 15 days making the record with my buddy Ed Rose at Blacklodge Studios. It was an honor getting to work with him. The studio was incredible. It was a new experience for me being so far away from home as well as recording so much material in one session. All the same, I’m super proud of the songs. It’s the first cohesive thing I’ve ever really done since I started doingInto It, Over It. Everything about it was a challenge. I’m glad I made it out of there mentally okay (laughs). The record will be called Proper, seeing as it’s the first proper thing I’ve ever done and it is out on No Sleep Records.
IW: What can you tell me about your new split out with Koji?
Weiss: Well, at this point, those recordings are a year old and the record has been out for nine months. The reaction we’ve gotten from it has been incredible. We were just two friends making something we could be really proud of. It was an opportunity to showcase an incredible community of great people and musicians in the Chicago area. It was a way to pool our resources into one big effort. But most importantly, it was a way to show people how close we are and how we work together. Koji and I love making stuff. This was the best thing we could have done. It was an incredible time.
IW: Have you worked with Koji before the split?
Weiss: I’ve played bass on a lot of his recordings. He and I had been friends for close to 10 years. Our old bands used to play together when we were both near the Philadelphia area. Then we both happened to go solo right around the same time. It was fate, really.
IW: Now that you’ve had a little time since 52 Weeks came out. What was the most surprising thing you discovered working on that record?
Weiss: I mean, that wasn’t really working on a record. It was a project where the songs were released, for free, every Thursday. It was never intended to be released. I had never intended at the time to tour playing the Into It, Over It songs. It just kind of took on a life of its own two years after 52 Weeks was finished and I decided it might be fun to do a tour. Then one tour became two tours. Then I did the 7-inch project. Then I lost my job. Then I didn’t stop. Doing 52 Weeks really just showed me that I can do anything if I work hard enough. Whenever I’m doubting myself or start freaking out, I just think about that. It’s really grounding (laughs).
IW: Has it changed the way you approach writing music now?
Weiss: It really just helped me develop a style of songwriting which I can finally call my own and try some things I’d always wanted to try but could never previously justify. I’ve been writing the same style songs since I was 15. That project just helped expand and solidify it.
IW: Can you talk a little bit about the 12 Towns series of records?
Weiss: Twelve Towns was a way to bring together an entire community of bands, labels and artists in one collectible project. Six split 7-inch records featuring a different spectrum of creativity in our growing U.S. DIY community. When I started the project, there wasn’t really any plan. I just said I wanted to do it and then slowly, it came together. It was really incredible being able to work with (and bring together) so many people in one shot.
IW: Any other interesting musical projects you’ve been thinking about?
Weiss: On a constant quest to finally form a D-beat thrash band here in Chicago. I have to get back into playing/writing punk.