The Ongoing Concept is more than a collective of people who create and release music. It’s a philosophy. From the very beginning the group have never pigeon holed themselves into any one specific style or genre. They’ve taken the roots of their heavier rock background, and combined it with a multitude of other genres, including (but not limited to) punk, bluegrass, country. Not to mention the band has never been afraid to throw in some peculiar instruments that usually wouldn’t be associated with what most would try to label the group as. It’s this genre bending, out of this world creativity that has always set them apart from their peers, and with their upcoming third full length entitled Places, the musical savants have even more surpises in store. We got the chance to chat with vocalist Dawson Scholz and discuss what got him into music, why their sound has always evolved and much more.
Editors Note: You can also check our our review of Places here.
Hey guys! Let’s get started by you telling us a little bit about yourselves. What got you into music to begin with? Where do you usually find your inspiration?
(Dawson) Hi! Thanks for having us. The Ongoing Concept has been around since 2010. We really want to captivate people with not only our music, but ideas and concepts that span beyond our music itself. We like to think outside the box.
Inspiration is never an easy question to answer. I usually find inspiration in everything BUT music. As much as it is my sole passion, I find myself inspired by the ideas of music. The way bands captivate audiences throughout their career, the way bands change over time and create a cult following. Those things inspire me over actual notes and catchy chorus’s.
There have always seemed to be some pretty unorthodox methods applied in creating your music. For example, on Handmade, you took that statement quite literally and built all of the instruments used in creating the album. What lead to that, and some of the other unusual tactics you’ve used?
I hate staying the same. I am a pretty domesticated person in my daily life, so when it comes to art, I feel I let all my randomness come out. I love making people guess what I am going to do next and I feel thats impossible if you create the same album over and over again. I like challenging myself to be different and I love thinking of new ways to think outside the box.
Pre-order their new record ‘Places’ here: smarturl.it/ongoingplaces
The new album has been explained to be about mistakes that anyone and everyone can or has made in their life, but also learning and growing from those mistakes and that the album is a grouping of stories that help to depict this sentiment. Could you give us a clear picture of what some of these “stories” are?
I was 18 when we started the Ongoing Concept. In the past 7 years, I have learned a lot about the world, culture, who I am as a person, and the appreciation of how lucky I am to be doing what I am doing.
Every song is a story, no matter who the artist or song is, but for me and this particular album, I felt driven to dive more emotionally into things and talk about stuff that I personally have experienced. The last two albums were a little more about other ideas. They weren’t nearly as personable. Also, Andy, Ian, and Cody contributed a lot to the record, they all have had their fair share of experiences in their lives where they have made mistakes and grown. I felt it made sense to share all of our stories through song.
As I write this, I realized how cliche I sound writing this. Every graduating student has said something similar. But for the sake of our TOC albums , I felt we all portrayed our stories and PLACES in a very accurate and humble way.
As in the past, it seems like you guys have once again applied some out of the box thinking with some of the unusual instruments that have been used on this record. Was there anything really crazy you had never used or tried before?
When I write stuff, I usually think on the spot and don’t really care what I use. As long as its fits the song and doesn’t try to be something random just for the sake of being random. I think the serm “unusual instruments” has pretty much become obsolete when every top 20 hit now has some chorus edm breakdown thing with random trumpets, harmonicas, bassoons, saxophones, etc.
Everyone is creating a shock factor. I just want to create something that I would want to listen to.
It seems like there is a connection or two between this record and past music you’ve released. At the end of “The Print”, you can hear ‘We’ve already done this. We’ve done this song. We’ve done something like this before. We’re just riding the coat tails of another song. So, no I don’t want to do this one.’ And it seems like the album closer on Places (“Spirit Lake”) may be connected to the one on Handmade (“Falling”) seeing as they have an identical lyric; ‘You speak to me, I know’. Could you guys elaborate on this at all?
I will use three words to explain this: “The Ongoing Concept”
I had read somewhere that the album cover for Places is a picture of you and your father. Is this true? If so, it appears that music runs in the family. Was your father an inspiration for you getting into music to begin with?
My parents are the only reason I am still doing what I am doing. They are the most supportive parents I could have and I am so grateful. My father is a drummer, I started playing drums at 4. My mom plays piano and I did that for 6 years. They are both huge inspirations. I used my dad in our artwork because I can’t help but feel I will be as bald as him when I am his age ha! But I feel the picture was a good interpretation of looking at your younger self. It seemed fitting.
You guys were recently touring with an incredible lineup, including Eidola. Any funny or interesting stories or tales from the tour and what was it like?
Oh man, those guys are seriously the coolest guys! I could go on for days about the tour. So many cool stories. I guess the best one would be, we played that board game “Dominion” almost every day. So much fun!
Are there any plans in the works for post-album release touring or shorter promotional stints?
We have a small stint right when the album comes out, But nothing really past that point, at least for now.
Any final words you guys would like to share with the fans regarding the new record?
I also want to thank you so much for taking time out of what I’m sure is a super busy schedule to answer these questions. I know many are super excited to hear the new album. I sure was, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The album is super fun, catchy, emotional, and as usual insanely creative. You will never cease to amaze the masses, I’m sure.
Not really a whole lot more to say, but thank you so much for having us! I hope you enjoy the album!