Considering that THE ONGOING CONCEPT are the latest addition to Solid State Records - a label long recognized as the home to some of the biggest names in metalcore - one would be forgiven for assuming they have a vested interest in preserving the traditions of that genre. For this Idaho quartet, nothing could be further from the truth.
The members of this literal band of brothers (three siblings and a childhood friend) are just as quick to mention artists like TOTO, YANNI and BRUCE HORNSBY as influences as they are genre giants UNDEROATH, BRING ME THE HORIZON and LETLIVE. From moment one, it's clear THE ONGOING CONCEPT are zeroing in on a refined, artistically driven sound. But listeners can forget about this band coloring inside the metalcore lines. In fact, they can forget about the lines altogether.
Exhibit A is the band's debut full-length for Solid State Records, Saloon, an 11-track splatter-art canvas of jaw-droppingly heavy music swirled with a grab-bag of musical elements. Some ragtime here, some honkytonk piano there. Some banjo here, some spoon-playing there. Did you just hear scat vocals? Yes, you did. The only thing more surprising than some of the stunts THE ONGOING CONCEPT pulls on Saloon is the fact that it works so well, so seamlessly.
The secret to the band's success is, while they may not be particularly faithful to any genre, THE ONGOING CONCEPT never waver from their musical mission statement. "We write what we want. We don't stick to some genre or boundary," explains guitarist and vocalist Dawson Scholz. "We write music not for today, not for tomorrow – we write it to last forever. You know what will still be playing in Taco Bell five years from now? ‘Don't Stop Believin' by JOURNEY. Why? Because it's timeless. Thats the feeling we strive for."
Timelessness is not an easy quality to capture. But doing things the easy way doesn't seem to be THE ONGOING CONCEPT's M.O. To make sure Saloon perfectly captured the sounds they heard in their heads, the band spent four months trudging back and forth to a studio in Canada, ultimately recording every aspect of their album two times over. They did it for the same reason they produced the album themselves, the same reason they make their own videos, design their own merchandise. Controlling the chaos takes effort.
"I'm a bit of a perfectionist and many, many hours were spent making the album as perfect as I could get it," Dawson says. "I even went as far as to take Auto-tune off my computer so I wouldn't be tempted to use it. Lost my voice four times trying to get my vocals to be perfect. It sucked…but it was worth it."
Adding to the band's compelling backstory - the almost militant DIY ethic, the musical wanderlust, the notoriously frenetic live show (the band claims to sink as much money into new cords, straps, sticks and strings as gas and food) - is the fact that THE ONGOING CONCEPT is comprised of three brothers and a lifelong friend they consider a fourth. Fortunately for them - not to mention their surging fan base - the Scholz brothers are not going to be pulling an OASIS any time soon.
"Having two younger brothers who not only share the same passion for music as I do but also play instruments is something that is so rare," says Dawson. "We argue, we bicker, we don't always see eye to eye. But we have this connection between us all, its just an instinct thats been brought on by years and years of living under the same roof. I feel bands search for that instinct for years but rarely find it. It's a very unique thing and we are blessed to have it."
On the verge of releasing their debut album on their dream label, Solid State Records, they may need that brotherly connection to take on the challenges that lie ahead. But if Saloon is any indication, this band is up for the fight. Despite the fact that their youngest member is just 15, THE ONGOING CONCEPT have a clear concept indeed of who they are and exactly where they want to be.
"Dawson and I have been writing music together for around 10 years. We've passed the point of finding out just who THE ONGOING CONCEPT really is," says vocalist and keyboardist Kyle Scholz. "Having been with my brothers forever and writing music with them for almost as long as I can remember, it would be weird to not be in a band with them. We worked our butts off to make our dream happen. I'm extremely excited about our future - this is exactly what I wanted to do with my life, and now, praise the Lord, we're doing it!"