Meet Toronto’s Riff-Roaring Rock Trio… ON

1 February 2023

Raw and rough groovin’ Toronto trio ON released
their self-titled debut LP last September. A steamy
powerhouse of a record (stream/buy below).

At times they turn up the heat and the decibels like Courtney Love
and Hole
did with flaming panache once upon a time, at times they
slow down with front Amazon Lucy Di Santo and her sensual voice
under the spotlight, while they fill their tank to let the rip-roaring
riffs fly around again afterward.

As long as afire bands as ON keep on rockin’ in the free world rawk ‘n’ roll
will be around forever. And, yes, just as the Stones did (and still do), we like
that too. Not to forget ON guitarist Steve Fall who talked about their passion
with Turn Up The Volume.

But first the brand new video for Break You, the album’s brisk opener.

Hello Steve,
thank you taking time
for this Q & A

When and how did ON start off?

“ON began on a break from touring in our other project Acid Test.
We started out in the mid to late 90s in Toronto and toured parts
of Canada, the USA, and Mexico.”

When you google ON you won’t find out that’s
also a band. What’s the story behind the name?

Lucy came up with the name. It means to be in tune with what’s
happening. We felt it definitely applies with observations we see
around us now.”

Credit: Gord Hawkins

You’re a DIY trio. What does that really mean in reality?

“It means we do all of our career planning, financing, writing, and
co-producing all of our music and brand. We even release the music
through our own imprint called indiestructable records.

Of course, now that we are expanding our career, we have enlisted help
such as Drew at Star Sound in Florida and Darius at Phase One for engineering
and co-production help, for PR we use Shauna from Shameless Promotion

She helps us market and release strategically and prepares all of our media,
she even plans marketing singles, videos, photos, interviews, and much more,
we see her as almost in the band much like Darius and Drew.

Then we are starting to use agents for touring. We picked up Sean from Happy Nomad Booking out of Charlotte NC, USA. Sean is helping us book North America and Europe soon. So in reality, although we are DIY, we have help which we engage. The people mentioned are key to us. And also great friends too.”

What does making music means for your
heart, soul, and mind for the three of you?

“For all of us, it means self-expression, soul cleansing, and documentation.
We write and utilize our natural chemistry which is the triad in ON.

The chemistry helps guide us to express how we feel. We really locked in
as musicians and as people. We see ON as an extension of who we are.”

Which of your songs would you pick to introduce
ON to people who never heard of you?

“Break You, Underdog, Gator, FLA, Soul Killer, Amends and also Make Me
and I See Red ( some unreleased material we play live and might put
out…stay tuned.”

You released your ace debut album last year.
How much blood, sweat and tears when into it?

“A lot! We started writing it almost 3 years ago in New York City, then
in Fort Myers Florida and finally in Toronto. We started it just prior to the
pandemic and we struggled in 3 locations to navigate its completion. We
spent an enormous amount of time arranging the songs and really took our time recording layers and parts. We pushed each other almost to exhausting limits.”

Is there a big picture/theme behind
the inspiration/writing of the album?

“I think so. We wanted to write something that meant a lot to us as people and
also to document what we see and feel. Some of the lyrics are introspective and
some are observations. The riffs were meant to also give a snapshot as almost like
a paying homage to yet also creating our identity. I think we accomplished what we wanted to say.”

Did you listen to records of other artists to inspire
you during in the writing process of the songs?

“Not during our writing. No I mean we always listen to music constantly but we really just wanted to capture who we are as the three of us. Of course, some influences will shine through. In some songs I purposely would display a Stones sound or a Jimmy Page style to a riff, such as Amends, just to show a feel and groove as Dan plays a lot like Bonham at times; but yet I had the intro for the song for years just lying around.

In fact, the intro was inspired by some of the theme music in an 80s movie Risky Business and also Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield and wrote the intro lyrics as we cruised Manhattan together. Then we gave what we had to Lucy and she took it further with the Amends concept.”

With other songs,I just wanted to capture a support riff or groove to support Lucy such as her Bass riff for FLA. Dan would come up with guitar parts too, lyrics and give them to us. All of us would go into teams and co arrange then we would come together as a triad and tune it further.

Closer AMENDS is my absolute favorite. Tell me all about it.

“Thank you for having a favorite song that means a lot to us. I alluded to Amends in the previous question but to add to this I will say that it was a true band effort. I had the intro riff since 2012 actually and I just tucked it aside. When Dan and I got together in New York, we started rapping ideas for the intro based on us jotting down observations.

We would walk out of his apt late at night and just cruise the streets with a coffee each. The idea to get a cool Page like riff was just an accident really. I just threw it out and we bookended it with the intro and it had a cool groove. Lucy really captured it with her narrative approach to her vocal too.”

Suppose your album was a movie, which one would it be?

“I think it would be a movie of adventure and exploration, in the middle of
the movie there would probably be a struggle and in the ending a celebration
of the human spirit.”

What’s an ON gig like?

“It is loud, and tight, you will get a real performance not something prepackaged
and planned at all. I think people experience our chemistry and vibe. Lucy
has a presence onstage and we feed off of this.”

Credit: Lindi Gordon

Next step for ON?

“Touring the West Coast of USA then Eastern Canada and Eastern USA
then we are planning to tour Europe next summer all in support of
the album we put out and perhaps some new surprise singles we might put out.”

Thank you Steve for the interview.
May the road rise with ON!

Stream/buy ON here.

ON: Linktree

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