Over It is one of those rare breed of bands with whom there's never a doubt that they're in it for us--the fans. They could (and I hope they do) evolve into a band on the scale of The Rolling Stones, and who they are as people and how they act toward their fans would not change one bit. With their signing to Virgin Records, Over It is ready to take over the airwaves with so many more doors open to them. Their new album, Step Outside Yourself, will hit stores on August 29th. I interviewed Over It's guitarist, Nick Bailey, at the Miami, Florida stop on Warped Tour '06.
Special thanks to Nick, Don, and Craig. You three are the type of people we need in this industry at each level.
Absolutepunk.net: What’s your name and what do you do in the band?
Nick Bailey: What’s up? I’m Nick from Over It. I play guitar.
AP: Is Ryan Ogren now a permanent member of Over It?
NB: Yes, Ryan is now a permanent member of Over It. He joined the band just before we joined the Yellowcard tour, although we had been talking with him since the fall or late last year. We’re very excited about what he’s going to be bringing to the table.
AP: Does that mean Don’t Look Down is finished?
NB: I would say Don’t Look Down is with us in spirit, but Ryan is definitely an active member of Over It right now. I guess for now they’re taking a break.
AP: The last time we spoke (last summer), I asked you guys what you were over, and you responded with “gas prices.” In light of rising oil costs, how do you feel about paying close to four dollars a gallon to fill up the bus?
NB: The gas prices are out of hand right now. I don’t know how we would have done it when we started touring years ago if the prices were this much. At the same time, fuel is just a mandatory expense for us as a band so there’s no sense in crying over spilled milk. We’ve just got to keep charging along and doing our thing, and if it means paying even more for gas to do that, it’s how it has to be. We’re not going to let it hold us back from playing our shows and meeting kids and promoting our shit. We’ll keep paying and something cool will happen one of these days and they’ll go down.
AP: Free gas.
NB: Free gas, yeah. Let’s get sponsored by Shell or Exxon or something.
AP: In what ways have you guys evolved musically from Silverstrand?
NB: That’s a good question. We’ve evolved musically from Silverstrand quite a bit because we have a lot more influences now. We’ve been listening to all different genres of music from classical to jazz to hip-hop to country, everything across the board. From George Gershwin to Kanye West to NOFX to Rascal Flatts. With all these new musical influences, we’re definitely inspired by a lot of them so I think that’s affected our songwriting quite a bit. The new record, Step Outside Yourself is definitely a departure from Silverstrand. I mean, there’s some songs that are definitely in the vein of Silverstrand, but I would like to think that we keep redefining ourselves with every new song that we write.
AP: What’s different musically about Step Outside Yourself?
NB: Well, I’d say the major musical differences are that we have a lot more piano on the new record, a lot more acoustic guitar layering, and just the songwriting in general, we really wanted to go for some unique structures, and really just kind of push the envelope a bit and expand on things we’ve really never been able to expand on before. I’m really excited. I think these new songs are a good representation of where we’re at as far as a band, both personally and sonically. I’m excited.
AP: So do you guys still get shit from surfers?
NB: We haven’t gotten any crap from surfers in a while, although I still hear once in a while that they’re still bummed out about it. For the most part, most people have our back, you know? We paid a tribute to a beautiful place and I think everyone realizes that by now. I don’t think anyone’s too upset. Maybe a couple of guys that live down on Silverstrand still, but we also have friends there, so we’ve got a lot of people with our back. We haven’t gotten into any fights or anything like that, and I’ve been surfing there a couple of times and I’ve had no trouble. I think we’re in the clear now from crazy surfers that hate us.
AP: How did you decide to title the album?
NB: We were throwing around quite a few different names, and we wanted something that meant something for this record. We wanted something that was as special to us as Silverstrand was, and it was a really hard name to top. After signing to a major label and going through a lot of changes in our lives both personally and musically, we step back and look at everything, and the only way we made it through all these difficult times (both in the recording process and personally) was to put your whole life in perspective. Just step outside yourself and look at everything as a whole and make the best judgment you can. So we were like, “You know what? That’s a great name for the record.” That’s exactly how we made it through the past few months, was just step outside yourself and keep it real. We were all like, that fits awesome.
AP: What’s the biggest difference between working with a major label versus an independent?
NB: For now, the major label is really cool. We’re really excited about it. A little overwhelming, just because when you go into their office, they’re working The Rolling Stones. Like us, we definitely don’t expect the red carpet to be rolled out or anything, but at the same time, there’s so many more resources so there’s more opportunities for us to take advantage of. It’s cool being really hands-on in all the marketing and the plans for promotion for our release, so they’re giving us more support both morally and working the album, as far as promotional ideas and following through on a lot of the marketing ideas we have. I think the biggest difference is being able to follow through on a lot more ideas we’ve been having and making the most of them. Whereas on an independent label, it’s a little bit harder because it’s less of a corporate machine and there’s less money behind everything; this way we can really follow through on a lot of ideas we’re excited about.
AP: “Siren on the 101” is on the new record?
NB: We rerecorded it.
AP: What’s different about it?
NB: Not too much. We slowed it down a couple beats and there’s just a couple of stylistic differences in Peter’s vocals, but for the most part it’s the same song.
AP: Did Ryan really add anything to that?
NB: Ryan tracked some guitars and did some backup harmonies on this song as well as some others. He was definitely involved in the recording process as well as the personal process. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to really write anything with him. He had some ideas in some songs that had already been written, but I think for the next record that we do, it’s going to be a lot more of a collaborative effort between myself, Ryan, and Peter.
AP: Has adding Ryan allowed Peter to be more of a frontman as opposed to playing guitar and singing all the time?
NB: Yes, that’s one thing that we’re excited about. Having Ryan gives us a lot more freedom, especially for Peter to put down the guitar and just sing on a few songs. On our set for Warped Tour now, Peter only just sings two songs. In the future on the fall tours, and next year once we start working on these new songs, there’s going to be a lot more piano in the set, which Ryan will play, and Peter’s going to be singing on a few songs, doing acoustic guitar on a few songs, electric guitar on a few songs. I’m just excited about the possibilities and the options we’re going to have to be able to play a lot of these songs live and incorporate the cool things that are on the recording. Because a lot of bands record a ton of stuff, but they’ll never be able to emulate that live. Whereas with another member that we all love as a musician, we’re going to be able to really step it up and get a lot of these sounds and tones out live as well as the record. So, it’s definitely good for Peter and the rest of us to have an awesome musician in the band like Ryan.
AP: Are you guys playing any of the new songs on Warped Tour?
NB: Yes, we’re playing three new songs.
AP: Are they the ones on the sampler?
NB: One of the songs is on the sampler, one of the songs is on Myspace, and one of the songs is the first song on the record. Not the title track, but the first song.
AP: How was it recording with Mike from MxPx on one song?
NB: It was awesome. I wish we had actually gotten to hang out with him. We recorded the song, and Peter tracked the part that he wanted Mike to do, and we sent the tracks up to his studio in Bremerton. They were on tour in South America while we had been working on the record, and he didn’t have much time between then and their next tour, so we just sent him the files and he tracked it and sent it back to us. But we’re definitely excited to have him on it. He’s someone we’ve looked up to for as long as I can remember, you know? MxPx definitely goes down as one of the greatest bands of all time. So we’re really stoked that he’s on the record.
AP: Any plans for an MxPx/Over It tour?
NB: I hope so. I hope they take us out. That’d be sweet; we’ll see what happens.
AP: What’s the first moment you knew you were onto something big?
NB: Just the support we’ve had from our friends and family. I mean, one of the main reasons we wanted to do this band full-time and really dedicate everything to it was because we had all lost a best friend when we were younger. We all grew up playing music together, and after he died, we all went our own ways and learned about life a little bit and came back together a few years later and started Over It. Personally, one of the only things that got me through a rough time of losing a good friend was music. If it wasn’t for music, I wouldn’t ever have been able to deal with the loss of someone I cared about so much. For me to be able to get so much out of music at the time when I was at the lowest of my life, that’s the ultimate goal—to give back to that. We want to write songs that will help people get through tough times—the loss of a loved one or anything that causes struggle in life. If you’re going to use music to help you get through it, I feel like you’ll be fine. When people come up to us and tell us that our songs have helped them out with their own lives or helped them get through a tough situation, that’s when I know we’re really doing something special. That’s exactly why we’re here.
AP: This is your fourth or fifth year on Warped Tour?
NB: I’m starting to lose track. It’s been so long. I feel so old saying it’s our fifth, but I think it might be. Our first year, we played on a really small stage called the PunkRocks.net Stage, and we played for one week. The next year, we played a similar stage, and again we played for a week. The third year, we played the Smartpunk stage and we were on that for two weeks. Last year, we were on the Hurley stage and the Volcom stage, and we were on for three weeks. And this year, we are on the Volcom stage and Hurley stage again for five weeks. It kind of keeps stepping up. We’re hoping that eventually we can do the entire tour on the main stage. That’s the goal.
AP: Next year.
NB: We’ll see. That’d be nice. We’ll see how the new record does.
AP: How has it changed since your first year?
NB: We’ve definitely learned a lot about being on tour. The first year we really didn’t know what to expect because we were just kids that were going to Warped Tour and watching bands and here we were playing it. Over the years, we developed a routine. Now everybody knows what to expect before the tour and every day of the tour. We get up and do our thing. We load in our gear, set up our merch, start promoting, hanging up posters with our times, giving out stickers with our times. This year we’re really fortunate to be able to give out free samplers. That’s huge for us. We know a lot more people; this year it’s hard to walk ten feet without being able to say hi to someone, which I love. I love being around friends. It’s a big community.
AP: What can we expect from the new album?
NB: You can expect a lot of surprises. There’s some songs that people will be like, “That sounds like Over It” and there’s some songs that people will just be like, “Wow, this is Over It?” We just really wanted to push the envelope like I was saying earlier. We wanted to test ourselves musically and personally and try to make the greatest album yet, and I think we did. I think you can expect nothing but awesome rock songs, because that was the goal and so far we’re really, really happy with everything.
AP: How many tracks is it?
NB: Thirteen songs on the album. We tracked twenty-three. On the sampler we’re giving out right now, there’s an acoustic version of one of the songs; we’re going to make some more acoustic versions available later; we’re going to do some exclusive tracks for different websites and professional things. We want to get out as many b-sides as possible. We love releasing music. The more you do it, the more songs you have out there, the better you are. I’m really excited that we put out Silverstrand last March and here we are a year and a half later with a new album. Most bands don’t get a turnaround that fast, and I think we’re really lucky.
AP: Was that your idea or Virgin’s?
NB: We signed to Virgin in January, and they were like, “Let’s go. Let’s get you in the studio and start working.” We were ready. They pushed for us. We’re lucky enough to have an A&R guy that has a very good spirit. He’s a hard worker and is definitely pushing for our band. I think that’s a big part of why we’re able to release an album so quickly. A lot of bands will sign to a major and won’t get to release anything for a year, two, three years later. We were able to do it in a few months. I’m stoked for that.
AP: Are we going to see a marketing push maybe on MTV? FUSE?
NB: Hopefully we’ll be able to get some FUSE and MTV love around the release of the record. As of now, we still haven’t shot a video yet, so I’m thinking if not around the release, definitely around the New Year, we’ll be able to service some of the singles to radio and hopefully get on MTV and FUSE. We’ll see what happens. The sky’s the limit.
AP: What’s the lead single going to be?
NB: We are not sure right now. It could be “Siren on the 101,” but there’s also two other possibilities. One is the first song on the sampler we’re giving out, and the other is another song on the record. It is yet to be determined; but that’s a good thing. At first, the label was set on one song being the single, but now that they’ve heard the whole record, they’re not sure. There’s a lot of possibilities and I like all the songs. So whatever they decide to roll with, I’ll be happy about.
AP: Who produced the new album?
NB: Mike Green produced it. He did our last record, he’s done the Paramore record, The Matches, Rufio, the Black Maria. He’s about to do a band that just signed to Epitaph called The Higher.
AP: What do you feel Mike brought to the table by already knowing you guys when producing this album?
NB: I think it was a relaxed playing environment. We know what to expect with Mike. There wouldn’t be any surprises. So we just wanted to go in there and record a solid record, and that’s what we did.
AP: Did you guys write any of the record when you went to Hawaii?
NB: We went to Hawaii in January, played two shows and stayed ten days. While we were there, we got some inspiration, worked on a couple songs there, and brought them back in February to start preproduction. Hawaii definitely inspired us. It helped us write a couple songs on the record.
AP: Who’s your favorite band on Warped Tour?
NB: My favorite band on Warped Tour? That’s a tough question. There’s a lot of really great bands. I love The Academy Is. Gym Class Heroes are awesome too. It’s hard to say. NOFX, of course. Rise Against is amazing. Against Me! puts on a really good show every day. I’m stoked that Joan Jett’s out here because I have something to brag to my family about. She’s definitely been around for a while. There are some up and coming bands that are really cool too. I like the new Fearless band The Fully Down. The list goes on and on. It’s too hard to just name bands.
AP: What’s the craziest Warped Tour experience you’ve had?
NB: Craziest Warped Tour experience we’ve had? I’d say this year is definitely racking up the points for crazy. We’re on a bus this year, so it’s really cool to be able to finish up the day and just chill on the bus until the bus call and party with everyone. There’s definitely been lots of partying at night, to say the least. Yesterday was pretty crazy. We were in Tampa, and there was a pool next door to the venue, and we all snuck into the pool and were jumping off the diving board and swimming until like 11 at night when it was totally supposed to be closed. That was fun, doing belly flops. We also brought a dirt bike this year. Riding our dirt bike around Warped Tour.
AP: Anything else you’d like to say about the new record?
NB: I am so excited about this new record; I really don’t know where to start. Hopefully it takes you on a journey from start to finish. There’s a lot of different concepts, different topics that we’ve written about. One of the songs is about the show Lost, because we all love that show. One of the songs is about my grandfather dying—well, it’s about losing anyone you love—but at that specific time, my grandfather had just passed away. That song is really special to me. The first song on the record actually is called “Think Against the Grain.” It’s kind of about racism. When we go to a lot of these cities on tour and play clubs, a lot of them are in pretty bad areas where not a lot of people have money and it’s kind of run-down. For the longest time, we all had such a hard time relating to a lot of the gangsta rap artists or rappers that had a negative message or a lot of hateful lyrics. The more we ended up in places like that, we started to see how messed up things really were. The people that write songs about it—they’re not making anything up or trying to give people the wrong idea or cause violence. They’re talking about what they see, and they’re using music to vent about that. We really picked up on that recently, and it just kind of hit us. It was a very poignant moment; I actually remember when it happened, and we decided to write a song about it. It’s pretty much just about the difference between musicians like us and musicians like that who write about completely different things. We realized that although we come from completely different worlds, we’re not that different. I think you can relate that to racism too. Regardless of what color we are, we’re still not that different. Even though you would think a black person and a white person are completely different, we were never the same growing up, but everyone still has a heart, a soul, and blood pumping through their veins. They’re capable of living out their dreams and accomplishing their goals and speaking their minds. The song represents that; it’s saying there’s not really a black or white, everything really just fades to gray if you just stop and think about it. There’s a lot of cool topics. The songs are good representation of where we’re at musically right now, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear. Step outside yourself and we’ll see you August 29th.
personally i like don't look down much more than over it and i think re-using siren on the 101 is eally really lame. they should have redone fall haha i love that song. either way i hope this album is 1/2 as good as its getting hyped for.