Charlottesville, Virginia-based band Out on the Weekend has released a new video for their single “After Party”. Out on the Weekend’s sound is rooted in Indie Rock with 90s Rock and Modern Americana influences, a sound that singer/songwriter Nate Scholz honed during his college years.
The song portrays a character who goes to these two very different parties but things don’t go the way he wants in both situations. It’s a Groundhog Day-esque idea that the same events play out in two different “types” of parties to drive home the point that maybe partying and drinking isn’t the solution to the character’s problem.
We get to sit with Nate to discuss the single, video and more!
Hi Nate, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been doing pretty great all things considered. Obviously the current state of the world has had an impact on my ability to function as a musician, but I’ve been trying to make the best of it and feel like I’m actually doing more than I would have been doing, just in a different way. I’ve started regularly playing solo acoustic, which I’ve kind of always hated, because I’ve always envisioned my songs with a fuller production, but being “forced” into playing alone (and usually through a computer screen) has been a really refreshing way to look at my songs and performance as a whole. And I can still use recorded music to have my fully produced versions of my music.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “After Party”?
Sure! “After Party” is basically about the idea that drinking and partying away your life might not be the solution to happiness, even if that’s what it’s usually portrayed to be (by the media, college culture, etc). It was basically an acknowledgement that my own habits were kind of unhealthy, and by recounting some of my worst moments in my own life it became this kind of cathartic release. It ultimately helped me take my own life a little bit more seriously and start building better habits. But I wouldn’t say it’s an “anti-drinking” or anti-alcohol song, it’s more just trying to say that you shouldn’t force yourself to act a certain way because everyone else says it’s going to make you happy or that it’s the thing to do. Because 9 times out of 10 that doesn’t really work.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
The song kind of came together at a “glacial” pace, which isn’t out of character for myself but I distinctly remember penning the chorus to the song the morning after St.Patrick’s day in 2016. I was really hungover and the previous night had kind of been a disaster for me for a bunch different reasons. It was kind of equating my physical hangover pain and the other feelings I was having to a bigger picture. I don’t exactly remember when I came up with the music for it, but it was probably like a year or so later. Once I paired the music with the chorus lyrics the verses kind of just happened pretty quickly, and then the song was done.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
I always knew I wanted a video for this song to involve going to a party and having a character (or even myself) just have anything and everything that can go wrong, go wrong. So I think we were able to kind of hit that nail right on the head with the video, to have this character who’s just having an absolutely miserable time but is still carrying on through the party because it’s what you’re “supposed to do,” and I think it’s something that resonates with a lot of people, like a lot of people have had the night that the character in the video has, or have directly experienced some part of it.
Initially when we started planning the video we were going to have the party as just this big basement DIY house show thing and Out on the Weekend was just going to be the band performing. Unfortunately the lineup for the band at the time kind of fell apart, so I didn’t have any other actual bandmates to back me up in the video, so we changed the concept to being the two different parties. It’s kind of ironic now that my general mode of operation is just to perform solo, but when we filmed the video it was a totally weird thing for me to do and I felt really weird about it, like I was constantly googling music videos where the band didn’t actually appear in it to validate that what we were doing was fine.
As for the filming process, I frequently work with a bunch of local filmmakers doing sound work for their films, and so we basically “swapped skills” for the shoot. It was a really comfortable process because they are people I work with regularly, and we were throwing a party to shoot the video so it was really laid back. They also were really good at making sure we got the two different parties right as shot for shot as possible to kind of give this Groundhog Day esque feeling to the video when the party changes.
It was also really fun because all of the extras were basically just having a party. I think my favorite memory from the shoot was when we got towards the end, and we were getting some of the “final” party shots, and literally everyone in the room was screaming along with the recording of the song as we filmed it. I hadn’t met a bunch of the extras for the video until the shoot, and no one had heard the song or really heard of my music before the shoot, so it was really validating to know that the song was catchy enough for a bunch of people to pick it up and enjoy it during the shoot.
How was the recording and writing process?
So the recording for this song was actually mostly based on a demo that I didn’t necessarily intend to become the “full” version of the song. I got together with my friend Pablo and we were just jamming out the idea of the song, more for me to keep tweaking and writing it, and I ended up liking how we performed it, so it became the actual version. So the basic guitar, bass, and drum parts were all recorded in an afternoon in his home-studio. And they’re not 100% perfect the entire way through, but I really loved the way that our performance together kind of brought out this “edge of breaking down into chaos“ kind of vibe, so I just kept it. I added the other guitar part way later after kind of tweaking and re-writing it a bunch of times in my own home studio. I typically end up over-thinking and doing a bunch of different layers of parts on my songs and on this song I actually was really restrained, to where it was just a single part for each instrument and only the lead vocal and maybe 1 or 2 backing vocal parts. It was kind of a take on the “band playing live in a room” kind of vibe but it was actually all done with overdubs and it’s just me and a drummer.
What role does Charlottesville play in your music?
Charlottesville is a really musical town, and that’s had a huge influence on me as a songwriter and performer. Out on the Weekend started in Harrisonburg while me and some friends were all in college there, and then I moved up to DC to go to school for recording, and we kind of kept it going while I was there but being so far apart and me being so busy it kind of fell apart, and I joined a different band for a while in DC. I moved to Charlottesville after I finished school because even though its a smaller music scene, it just felt so much more genuine and that artists actually wanted to support and develop each other. I’ve felt so much more inspired by the artists and community of Charlottesville as a whole than I ever did in DC. And It’s people of all ages, like there are people just out of college who perform at open mics and immediately afterwards you’ll have these really incredible artists who have been making music for decades right afterwards. But one other thing is that all of the artists in Charlottesville definitely have their act together. So I’m glad I could take my prior experiences and apply that to being a performer around here now, though I’ve probably spent more time behind a sound board at shows since moving here than I have on the stage. I’m hoping to change that after this single gets released, but we’ll have to see how things go.
What is it about the 90s that you find so fascinating?
I think it’s one part nostalgia for my childhood, and one part just genuinely appreciating the spirit and process for the music of the 90s. I think in many ways the 90s was kind of the “perfect” time for recorded music, because we’d advanced analog recording technology to a really sophisticated level, but digital recording hadn’t taken over yet. So I just think a lot of albums from the 90s have this like “perfected analog” kind of sound that I just really appreciate. I also think the ethos of a lot of 90s bands have been super influential to me, where you aren’t focused as much on what everyone’s wearing or what people are doing on stage, you’re focused on the music, and kind of this rebelliousness against what everyone said you “should” be doing. But I think that while the 90s is always going to be an influence on my overall musical sound I don’t think I’m trying to be a like “90s nostalgia” type of artist, I think I’m still trying to make my own music and make something new, just through the lens of appreciating the spirit of the 90s.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Yeah! So even though I recorded “After Party” a while ago, I ended up collaborating with Pablo (separately, due to COVID) again on a bunch of other songs. We were talking about what we were doing with our time at home during the shutdown, and Pablo had mentioned that he wanted to do some more studio drumming projects, so I said “hey you wanna drum on all these songs I have demos for?” So I sent him a bunch of guitar demos and kind of the vibe I wanted for each song and he recorded them, and then sent them back to me and I’ve been working on all the rest. It’s going to be 8 songs including “After Party.”
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Everything else is still definitely in the production/writing world, but it’s all starting to come together. I’m maybe going to try to release it by the end of the year, but I’m also not really trying to rush it because there isn’t really any reason to, since I’m not able to feasibly go out and play it anytime soon. Same thing with a title, I usually come up with my album titles after everything is basically “done,” so I don’t have anything really concrete in my head quite yet.
What else is happening next in Out On The Weekend’ world?
I’m starting to play out a little bit locally around Charlottesville, albeit in as socially distanced of a way as I possibly can. I am also working on my own home-studio to be able to get some other musicians back in on Out on the Weekend, so that over the next couple of months I can put together a rhythm section to play the songs more like the recordings when it’s safe to start playing out again. But I’m also planning on keeping my focus on my online presence and just getting the music to as many people as I can.