Evan Weiss, Road Warrior
Evan Weiss arrived in Syracuse, trekking through the Northeast en route to his parents’ house in New Jersey a few days before departing on the Glamour Kills Tour, with crossed fingers. His car was just diagnosed with a transmission fluid leak, and he needed it to hold on for just a few more days before he could pile in a van and embark on the cross-country journey with some of the biggest names in the punk community.
Armed with just an acoustic guitar and a catalog full of lively melodies and richly personal stories, Weiss, stage name Into It. Over It., played to an intimate audience in a cramped art space outside downtown Syracuse, less than a week before opening two sold-out shows in the same day at the Gramercy Theater in New York City.
The distinction between the two shows is huge, Weiss said, and his approach to each is unique.
“The whole show’s really different, with a small crowd I’m able to talk quietly, tell more stories and be more honest than usual, and I can go into detail with certain things and interact in a more personal way,” he said. “When crowds get bigger, it’s more about it being a ‘show’ and less of an intimate engagement.”
Weiss’ vivid introspective anecdotes from personal experiences and unconventional chord patterns run the spectrum of bouncy numbers (“Fortunate Friends”) and glum minor-chord catharsis (“Connecticut Steps”). Each song tells a different story— but one that’s specific to Weiss’ perceptive memory.
“For me, I write songs that are so unbelievably honest,” he said. “They go into exquisite detail, specific incidents and very personal times in my life, so I feel like it’s important for people hearing those songs to know exactly what they’re about, so they get more of a feeling about where the songs came from.”
And for Weiss, honesty plays a crucial role in creating music.
“Into It. Over It. is just me and probably in a more pure form than if you had just met me,” Weiss said. “The stuff that I write about is the most I’m-getting-this-off-my-chest, honest way I feel about things. I tried writing songs where it’s not that way, but the only way I feel like I’m getting my point across is by telling it like I see it.”
Weiss draws that inspiration from time hanging with friends in Chicago. Normal experiences, he called them, instead of touring experiences which can be a whole separate routine.
“Proper and the Koji split are all stories from Chicago,” he said. “I actually come up with way more inspiration for material when I’m home than when I’m on tour. I feel the most creative when I’m at home and I’m in my comfort zone.”
But just because he’s playing sold-out shows doesn’t mean he’s lost his do-it-yourself ethos. Weiss still believes in the process of hard work, sweat, touring and making connections, and seeing that effort translate into success.
“My perspective hasn’t changed in about 10 years,” Weiss laughs. “Honestly, the reason that bands start to get popular is because we’ve worked so hard to get where we’re at.”
Weiss said he sacrificed everything about three years ago to get where he’s at today. And he’s seen friends—La Dispute, for instance—headline shows at The Metro in his residence of Chicago, a venue previously occupied by greats such as Mogwai. A sign that commitment and community effort can launch a career, if the artist can make that initial leap.
“It runs so much deeper than I think people realize,” Weiss said. “All the success is because we work so hard for it. It comes down to hard work and being friendly.”
As for opening on this year’s massive Glamour Kills Tour, Weiss is looking forward to just being around friends that inspire him for a month.
“Everyone knows each other, everyone’s played shows together, and this is a really awesome excuse for all of us to play shows together and have a good time,” he said.