Few can claim ideas actually came to them in a dream. Aren’t those situations reserved for story books or fairy tales?
Yet the band name for ON AN ON came to Nate Eiesland in a dream. “I had this dream. It was a really weird dream. I was underwater, I presume drowning, and this sea, mermaid type beautiful gorgeous thing swam to me, and I was thinking ‘I’m saved, it’s going to help me breath.’ It didn’t and totally let me drown, but it whispered in my ear ‘on and on,’” he said.
From there, the remaining members of former band Scattered Trees created an entirely new project, separate from the other groups Nate has been a part of.
“Scattered Trees started and essentially stayed this singer/songwriter thing that we all kind of wanted,” Nate said, but in the end as they pushed to make it more collaborative, the band just didn’t have it.
ON AN ON is a more collaborative effort between the trio, rather than the one front man, singer-songwriter vibe the other band had previously possessed, and a different group wasn’t entirely new territory for Nate, who had been in several projects throughout his musical career.
Yet with each stage of his life came a different take on the music he, and his bandmates were creating.
“A lot of those differences between the makeup in any of the groups that I have been in vary dependent upon my age,” he said. He hasn’t played solo in years, and the younger part of his career was also the younger part of his life.
“The subject matter, the sound, and everything that I was going for and the values I had musically…they were just young. They were sort of unproven. They were pure in a way and that’s really good…but also not necessarily the most mature,” Nate said. “I think that’s where it started — was in its innocence.”
Where ON AN ON has an advantage on other bands is its location, or locations that is. Starting in Chicago, and then later moving to Minneapolis, ON AN ON has seen different sides of the cities, with local support ranging on two opposing ends.
“Chicago is a tough egg to crack,” he said. “In that way it’s really made us very grateful when good things happen.”
On the opposite side of that spectrum is Minneapolis, with its loving local fans, and the native crowd that goes and supports acts from the area. So the members of ON AN ON have two different cities to come home to.
“That mix actually bodes really well for us. We are not disallusioned by any attention we might garner in the city that really values local music and you don’t let your head get big,” Nate said. “I think we are really lucky to be in both of those places.”
Give In was released in January, and really served as a starting point for the band to start new and fresh. With that record, came a much more personal and intimate tone.
“I think all of us approached songwriter from a place of personal experience,” Nate said. “There’s this commonality in the human experience that we are really interested in as artists.”