Psychedelic rock outfit Out on the Weekend, a.k.a. artist Nathan Scholz and friends, is a great one to tune in and drop out to… in the most modern of senses. Harmonic, reverberating and full of rock motifs (from alt to grunge to classic rock to turn-of-the-millennia indie), Out on the Weekend walks you through the process of blocking out extraneous messages — specifically, those being to fed us by mass media, social media and even ourselves.
It’s time to “Throw Away Your Television” and live life as we should.
We had to know more about this growing ensemble, so we reached out to frontman Scholz for comment on his latest album Tunnel Vision, dropped back in June 2021 and available now on all digital outlets. Why was he so compelled to write and record this outstanding eight-track ode to disengagement? And, what could be up his sleeve next? Here is what he said.
Congrats on your new album! What was the inspiration behind it?
- NS: Initially, I didn’t really have any plans to make an album of any kind, but when the pandemic hit, I realized I had this batch of songs that I hadn’t really explored or recorded, so I started just working on them in my free time. I later hired Orion Faruque to help me produce the songs a bit more and mix everything with me, and, when we were almost done with everything, I didn’t actually have the title ‘Tunnel Vision’. I reflected on what the songs meant to me and I realized that most of these songs are kind of ‘tunnel vision’ reflections on a singular topic or event in my own life, and a lot of the songs talk about the sort of emotional response we can have to any one singular event or action that happens in our life.
- Ultimately, it summed up this idea of looking forward, which we ALL are trying to do now after the COVID pandemic (whenever we actually get through this), while reflecting and acknowledging where we’ve come from with our past pains and experiences.
Speaking of, how did the pandemic help bring about the album? How did it hinder it?
- The short version of this answer is that I don’t think I would have had time to slow down and make these songs without everything else I was doing getting shut down by COVID. I mostly work as a live sound engineer at a couple of venues around Charlottesville and, until COVID, I kept making up all manner of excuses as to why I wasn’t going to work on a new Out on the Weekend album… because I didn’t have a band, because I didn’t have enough songs, because I didn’t want to do it myself, etc.
- What actually brought about the making of this album was a conversation I was having with my friend Pablo Cabrera (who played drums on all the songs), about what we were doing with our free time, since we couldn’t play shows and he also has his own home studio up near DC called Analog Approach. He wanted an opportunity to do some studio drumming and I had a bunch of songs I wanted to work on, so I recorded scratch guitar tracks to a click and sent them to him; he’d record his drum parts, and then send them back to me. Once I was happy with his drum parts, I laid down all the other instruments. But, I also didn’t really have any grand vision, so I experimented with different recording techniques, amps, guitars, etc., because there was just absolutely no time limit and I sort of thought that all of these recordings would just be demos that I’d use to piece together a new band and then go record an album at an actual studio.
- After a couple of months of tinkering with the songs and seeing how they were coming together, I realized that this would be a really cool album and that I didn’t need to think of these as demos at all. I hired Orion Faruque, a local Charlottesville musician and producer, to work on my vocals, mixing and ‘taking everything to the next level’, because we both saw the potential in the songs. We continued to work out of my home studio (in person, in masks and staying distanced) for the rest of 2020. Working in a studio with masks on was a bit of an inconvenience, but, since we were both working around different groups of people frequently, we just decided to keep it safe and it worked fine. We joked about if we ever got exposed to COVID, we’d just quarantine in my studio and make people deliver stuff to us through the window and we’d just get the album finished that way. Luckily, we didn’t have to do that.
Let’s talk about the lead single “Losing Grip”. Is there a direct correlation behind its lamenting lyrics and the uncertainty of the world last year?
- Hmmm. That’s a really interesting correlation that I actually hadn’t really thought about. So, that song was actually mostly written by Genevieve Moore, who sang with me on the song. We both were a part of an emo/punk band up in DC (with Pablo Cabrera, as well) called Soul Meets Body and, initially, we had jammed “Losing Grip” as a potential new song for that band, but Genevieve had only written one verse for it and she didn’t really have any ideas calling out to her for another one. So, I jumped in and wrote my own verse for the song and started playing around with it on my own. When I started working on Tunnel Vision, I asked her if I could record my own version of the song. She said ‘yes’, as long as she got to sing on it, which I was happy to oblige.
- Anyway, I think that the song is looking more inward, sort of reflecting on the fact that even though being sad or depressed can be really hard to manage and get through, it’s better than feeling nothing at all. Or, put another way, that we have to accept our own mental health the way that it is, instead of trying to let it debilitate you or let the worst parts of it define your life that you accept and work through it. I know the verse I sang and wrote was coming from a place of being a bit of an over-thinker and not always being comfortable in my own skin, and how to come to grips with that and accepting where I am with that and that it’s okay to feel that way. I do think the song, while it definitely is a kind of dark and lamenting sort of vibe, is looking upward and onward, sort of like a ‘this is bad right now, but I’m working on it and I’m going to get better’ and not just wallow in our own self-pity.
So, let’s get this straight… Out on the Weekend was a band before the band it is now?
- So…. yes. Out on the Weekend has always been a vehicle for my songwriting and, originally, the band was based in Harrisonburg, VA with a bunch of friends I went to college with. We ended up all kind of going our separate ways in 2017 and I didn’t really do anything with the band between 2017 and 2020. I always had plans to get a new lineup together for Out on the Weekend, since I moved to Charlottesville in 2018, but things didn’t really start coming together until 2020/2021.
Well, now that you’re back at it, what’s next for you?
- I’ve got a steady lineup for the band together here in Charlottesville and we have been working on learning how to translate all the songs from Tunnel Vision into a live rock band right now. Fingers crossed that we will actually be able to keep playing shows over the next couple of months, with the ongoing uncertainty with the pandemic, but you should see us popping up at venues throughout VA very soon!
Purchase or stream ‘Tunnel Vision’ album:
- Throw Away Your Television
- Last Day in Paradise
- Losing Grip
- After Party
- Everywhere and Nowhere
Out on the Weekend – “Losing Grip” lyric video
Cover photo by Genevieve Moore