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Q&A: Commonweather

Chicago based alt-rock band Commonweather will be taking off across the midwest this fall on tour with Suntitle.

This fall, the band released Sugar Sun, an EP that highlights the growth of the band since their debut release Nausea in 2017. While creating their debut EP, the band worked with Sam Pura (The Story So Far, Basement).

Along the way, the four piece also worked with Gary Cioni (Sorority Noise, Free Throw) for their 2018 EP, Lemon.

We got a chance to speak with Justin Olin about the collaborations, the new EP and their Fall schedule.

Tour dates and ticket information for the midwest tour can be found here. Stream Sugar Sun here  and watch the music video for “Mellow Drama” below.


The Conversation

Ryan Miller: Can you discuss with me about how Commonweather was formed? Did you guys have an “a-ha” moment when you realized this was it?

Justin Olin: Alec and I actually used to play in a post-hardcore band right before Commonweather started. After the band broke up in 2013, the both of us – including 3 other members – wanted to continue making music under a different name and music style. So, we started Commonweather. It was right around when we wrote and recorded our EP Nausea in 2016 that it was evident the band we all wanted to be [was evolving] into [who we are] today.

RM: Coming from a scene where alt-rock is very prevalent, what makes you guys stand out from the rest?

JO: I think what it comes down to is all four of our own personalities and the wide variety of music we all grew up listening to. Putting all of that into the mix when writing our music, you can definitely see where the inspiration comes from. [This] blend makes something that is Commonweather in the end.

RM: Where do you draw your inspiration from, lyrically and sonically?

JO: We all just like to jam and write fun and upbeat music with honest lyrics. Alec and myself both write and collaborate on lyrics written from life experiences, whether it’s about relationships or growing up and the hardships that come with it. I’d say our sound is influenced by a mix ‘90’s emo/alternative with bands such as Weezer and Sunny Day Real Estate, to some modern day rock bands such as Microwave and Superheaven. 

RM: I’ve heard you guys worked with Sam Pura (from The Story So Far) and Gary Cioni (from Free Throw). Can you tell me about how those collaborations came to be?

JO: Sam was recommended to us by our friends in the now defunct band Gardens and Gary from some bands we’ve met through touring. After hearing the good experiences and bands they both worked with, they were both pretty clear choices for us to work with on each project. More recently, we worked on our latest EP ‘Sugar Sun’ with Nathan Hardy and Travis Hill of the band Microwave and it was a great experience moving forward. Getting to collaborate with 2 producers on the same project really helped shape the songs from what they were on the initial demos into a new light.

RM: As Chicago-based musicians, how does being based in/around the city help define the band? 

JO: I’d definitely say the local scene in Chicago is a huge part of who we are. We’ve made so many friends and relationships over the past four years that really helped define us as a band and individuals. Everyone is just part of a big family.

RM: I have noticed a gradual change in your sound from Nausea to Sugar Sun. As a band, do you ever discuss evolving – or even changing – your music style? 

JO: Absolutely. We always like to push ourselves to try new things stylistically and try to reinvent ourselves with every new release. 

RM: You guys have a pretty busy fall schedule lined up. What are you guys looking forward to the most about these upcoming shows?

JO: Meeting new people and making those connections on the road is always so important. Touring in some of the same markets we’ve been to before is cool because we’ll meet some new fans who’ve never seen us before as well as some kids that come back for the experience again.

RM: Who are some other Chicago artists you enjoy working with? Any locals you recommend those outside of the area start tuning in to?

JO: Definitely. We recommend checking out High Wire, Tiny Kingdoms, Furlough and Action/Adventure.

RM: What direction do you see the band taking for the end of 2019? 

JO: We’re going to be announcing another tour soon which we’re very stoked about before the end of the year, then after that probably laying low for the holidays when we plan to work on writing some new music.

RM: Who/what are you listening to right now?

JO: Lately, I’ve been jamming the new Future Teens album Breakup Season and Heart Attack Man’s latest album Fake Blood


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