Off & On bring Good Talks and new gigs across the Northeast
I have to admit, when I first heard of Off & On I was like many who saw another Tim Landers (famously known for Transit) band and had to listen to them. What I found when catching up with Off & On was something bright and vibrant, something you don't hear as frequently out of a Boston based band. I was head over heels from first note. Their first two EPs Good Talk Vol 1&2 bring an indie pop vibe likened to Misterwives or The Naked and Famous that just put you in a great mood to start your day. This band is so much more than "A band with Tim in it" (though dude you're killing those harmonies not gonna lie). I got the chance to talk with bass player Ryan Alfonso about the band and their upcoming tour with Hey Anna starting this weekend!
You chose to follow up your EP Good Talk Vol .1 with a Vol. 2, how do the two releases connect conceptually?
We weren’t thinking of the two EPs having to connect conceptually when we wrote the songs. We picked the songs we wanted to release only by the vibes that the songs gave us. Originally we were only going to include three songs on Good Talk Vol. 2 but we wrote “No Friends” towards the end of that recording process and liked it so much that we decided to add it on the EP. Having four songs on GTV2 made sense to us since GTV1 also had four songs on it. Besides thinking that the flow would be better with four songs on each EP, we thought it would be beneficial to release an extra song, especially one we were so excited about.
What qualifies something as a "Good Talk" to you?
A Good Talk is when you have a conversation and you walk away with a new found knowledge, solution, or motivation. Like a coach giving a player advice and saying, "good talk, see you out there, kid." Then the kid goes out there and wins the game. With our EPs though, it's totally sarcastic; Nothing is resolved or learned from the talk or lack there of. As in, "cool, good talk, ya jerk."
Your sound is very different for the current New England scene (being primarily pop punk/metal) does this help or hurt you guys when it comes to gigging?
Both, sort of. We don't necessarily "fit in" at a lot of the shows we've played, so sometimes we feel like the crowd might not vibe. But sticking out isn't a bad thing, and that has helped people remember us after they've seen us play. Also, we've been able to build cool relationships with other bands that are in the same boat as us.
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What does a typical writing session look like for Off & On?
We haven't come up with a typical process yet. For the EPs, Rocio wrote a couple songs, Tim wrote a bunch of songs, and we recorded basic ideas for a lot of them but narrowed down which ones to complete for releasing. Most ideas come from tracks Tim has produced. He'll bring it to us, sometimes with melody/lyrics, sometimes without so that someone else can complete it. And then recently, we've been sitting in a room coming up with the ideas collaboratively, trying to write on the spot. So, it's all over the place. We may never find a set way, and that might be our thing.
It seems like every week we’re hearing of more and more bands having to deal with theft on the road. With a short tour coming up for you guys what steps do you take to protect yourselves on the road?
It's a shame, off the top of my head I can think of at least three bands who have been robbed on tour in the last year. We try to learn from those stories and be smart about where we leave our gear. You know, simple rules like depositing cash immediately, try concealing things as best as possible, locking the van doors, and checking a million times for a peace of mind.
Do you have a favorite lyric in one of your songs? If so which is it and why?
My favorite Off & On lyric right now is in the song “Rust Love” on Good Talk Vol. 2
"Stuck here in a rut with a shoulder to the rust love."
I don't know exactly what Tim was thinking when he wrote this, but for me, it's so visual. When I hear that line I can see a movie of a good guy with some shit luck, just looking ahead to the future and saying screw what happened in the past, I'm not looking back ‘cuz I'm onto the next one.
You have one artist that does all of your artwork, how did you team up with Troy and why did you choose him to visually represent your band?
Troy is awesome. Everything he has done for us has been A1. Troy worked with Tim and I on a website for a clothing brand a few years ago and we loved what he did with that so it only made sense to ask him for help with Off & On; he has been so cool and creative. He is our go-to guy. I must correct you though, Troy is not the only artist who has done work for us. Ziggy Williamson is the artist who created the front cover of Good Talk Vol. 2 and Troy designed the layout. Ziggy is very talented and we love his artwork. We are very lucky to work with such creative artists as those guys.
What plans do fans have to look forward to in the next couple of months?
We are touring parts of the East Coast in less than a week, so that's the first thing. After that, we are writing new music and adding finishing touches to songs we have been working on for a while. Looking forward to sharing new music from us in the next few months!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone trying to break into the industry what would it be?
As much as it would be cool to know the exact answer on how to break into the industry, we would advise anyone to just go with what they know and try to retain new information by experiences along the way. That’s how anyone learns anything, through involvement and understanding. We would tell them to try not to impress anyone by acting a certain way that doesn’t already come naturally.
New Englanders enjoy your weekend with Off & On as they head towards an intimate venue near you if you can't catch them in person check them out online below!
Ashley Winward Lead Reporter