Idaho rockers, The Ongoing Concept, have unleashed lyrical spills from their core throughout three solid albums that dominate your thoughts over the days to come. The band of brothers recently dropped their third studio album, ‘Places’, which carries a distinct flavor that is indicative of the level of maturity the members have reached within. In celebration of the release, I caught with up lead vocalist, Dawson Scholz, to discuss life in Coeur d’Alene, the creative process behind ‘Places’, his perception of tattoos and more.
Congrats on the recent release of ‘Places’. Tell us about the creative and songwriting process with bringing this album to life.
Dawson- Thanks so much! It was a long process to get this one finished, and I’m glad it’s finally out. The process for this was very similar to our last album, ‘Handmade’. I produced, engineered, mixed and mastered the album myself like I have in the past. I think the hardest part though was the fact we wanted to create a sound our older fans would like, but also show them something entirely new. I feel as though I sometimes get into a comfort zone and write songs that fit that zone. I have to keep telling myself to progress and move forward, otherwise I stay stagnant and the same song over and over again.
What was the greatest challenge that you guys overcome as a band while recording ‘Places’.
Dawson – All of the band members works full time. It was really hard finding time to get all of us together to write creatively. With a 9-5 job, you go to work, and then get off work. With creating music, I feel you can spend five or six hours just getting into the creative mindset to finally start writing. I’ll sit at my computer for five hours and literally delete idea after idea. Once all the bad ideas leave my head, then I have another eight hours of writing passionately. When you have band members with jobs and families, it’s incredibly hard to find a block of time to ACTUALLY get something done. You can’t just say, “Hey I’ll be home at some point, I got to get into my creative mode first, that might take and hour, or maybe nine hours, i’ll let you know.” In the real world with kids and jobs, that’s not realistic.
What fellow Solid State band/musician recently put out a release that you’re really diggin’ at the moment?
Dawson – Ironically, we aren’t really into the music we play so we rarely listen to any heavy bands. I think Silent Planet has some awesome stuff out right now though.
Let’s dig into your roots. If we were to take a trip to your hometown, where do we visit for the best music and food?
Dawson- There are a few places around Coeur d’Alene that have some awesome food. I really enjoy this once place downtown though called Hudsons. They are a small little burger joint that has been there for like 70 years. They only take cash; have a strictly bun, patty, cheese, and pickle policy, and have the most classic cinematic bar stool setup. Basically just imagine the show Bob’s Burgers. That’s pretty much what it’s like.
For music, there is a lot of bars that have cover music every night, but if you were really wanting some original music, I would travel 35 minutes west to Spokane, WA. That’s where we grew up playing shows and gained most of our following. Not many venues exist in Coeur ‘d’Alene, so many people have to venture to other cities. The Pin, The Big Dipper, The Knitting Factory, and The Bartlett are all great places we have played.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Kemp
Any upcoming or current tour plans that you can fill us in about?!
Dawson – At the moment we don’t. Its getting close to winter and living in Idaho makes it hard to route out to tours this time of year without getting sucked into the blizzards and random weather we get. We will definitely have stuff next year though!
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about some of your favorite personal pieces and the artists that you have collaborated with to bring the tattoos to life.
Dawson – I personally don’t have any tattoos, but the rest of my band does so I’ll bring them in on this question. I will say though; when I was young, I started developing Vitiligo on my arm. (Which is what Michael Jackson had). At the time I was so embarrassed by it and tried everything to get rid of it. Nothing worked. I was afraid to wear short sleeve shirts or go to the beach. Knowing I will never get rid of this pigment on my skin made me really weary of getting a tattoo. So I’ve never gotten one. I change my mind on what I think looks good so often anyways, I feel if I got a tattoo today, I would think it’s lame six months from now, and then have see it everyday in the mirror, and ultimately want it gone. It’s weird, and a lot of people don’t get why i think that, but I guess I’m just scared of having something that I might not like on my body in the future
I love tattoos though, don’t get me wrong there. My girlfriend has lots of them. She actually just went to a cool expo in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho called ‘The All Hallows Tattoo Expo’ to get a cool piece done. Personally, from my perspective, I love outlined tattoos or really faded tattoos. I know a few people who have really old tattoos that they never got touched up, they are faint, parts are missing, and I think it looks so vintage and cool. I know that might be a little demeaning to tattoo artists, since their job is focused on creating the most perfect, vibrant, and best product they can provide, but man, when I see a tattoo that looks like it’s been there 45 years, faded to sh*t, almost unable to see, that stuff looks awesome to me.
Ian – My personal favorite piece was done by a fantastic and unique artist in our area named Sarah Fay, currently at Undead Ink in Spokane, Washington. It’s a piece on my right forearm that symbolizes the death of Bruce Wayne’s (Batman) parents. I’m a big Batman fan. I love her work, so I gave her most of the creative control.
Let’s say that we finish the interview and you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
Dawson – The first thing I would do is go and buy my parents a new car and boat. They have been the most supportive parents ever and have invested so much time and money into helping me out with this band. They deserve something awesome. Plus they have lake property, so a new boat would be perfect for them. After that, I would just pay off my debts, put everything in the bank, buy a better tour van and maybe some new gear, maybe get a used VW diesel car for personal driving or something. I don’t need a lot of expensive things. Maybe I would go to the great pyramids. Always wanted to go there.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Kemp
How do you guys keep up with your health and wellness while touring? Do you make time for exercise, etc?
I’ll just reference that one Snoop Dogg song. “Sippin on gin and juice”
If you could grab a drink with any human being either dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
Dawson – I would love to talk to Penn and Teller. Those guys are awesome and have been doing magic for years. Also their mentor, James Randi. He is like 89 so I would love to just talk to him and learn something new about life before he passes away. Also, James Rolfe. He is a guy I have followed for years. He has a YouTube channel called Cinemassacre that does hundreds of video game and movie reviews. His most famous character is “The Angry Video Game Nerd” where he does reviews on really bad nes, snes, atari, sega, etc. games. I’ve always wanted to meet him since he does all of his videos on his own, in his basement. I can relate in so many ways because i’ve been writing albums and shooting videos for years in the same circumstances.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
Dawson – Check out ‘PLACES’! It should be on every outlet that you normally get music.Thank you to Tattoo.com for having us!
The Ongoing Concept Social Links: