We all know what they say about idle hands, but I believe the concept can easily apply to an idle mind, or perhaps it applies more to the theory of perpetual motion. Regardless, I feel that if you set out to be involved in music your enjoyment and involvement will continue to grow, but if you don't get actively involved you will continue to remain idle. A mind focused on music will continue to be focused on music, and opportunities will begin to present themselves.
Minnesota's Ian Anderson is by no means idle in any way. He runs a record label, a PR company, plays in a successful band, and a writes a music blog. Starting Afternoon Records back in 2003 (the year he gradated high school), Ian has released and help record albums by some of the most talented musicians in Minnesota. Through all of his musical endeavors, Ian's passion has always been hitting the road with his band One for the Team. This past year the band signed with California's Militia Group and released their second album Build It Up.
No matter where Ian is one the road he is consistently working and always assessable. This past week we chatted on-line in preparation for his arrival in Chicago to play The Abbey Pub on November 2nd with Poison Control Center, Goldcure, and indie darlings Dressy Bessy.
Gapers Block: Your tour preparation has to be more complicated then most, how are you preparing for this upcoming 23 stop tour?
Ian Anderson: To be honest, tour has become my life. So, prepping for tour is just like anything else: do laundry, go grocery shopping, buy another season of Battlestar Galactica so I can watch in the van, and so on. My work definitely makes things hard. However, I have internet in the van, so I can do a lot of work from the road. Plus, I have a lovely staff at home doing my evil bidding.
GB: Your life is right, One for the Team has been on the road most of the last five months. Is there anything the band has added to their stage performance or learned from being on the road?
IA: Actually, a lot has changed. We are now a four-piece and I'm playing out of two guitar amps, which is pretty cool. Our set has sort of evolved into a real presentation of what we do rather than a series of songs; we rarely stop and we tend to blend our songs together. Its fun, I like it.
GB: You have played Chicago several times over the years, what has been your favorite venue?
IA: Good question. I've played at Schubas, the Beat Kitchen and Reggie's Rock Club. I like them all quite a bit, Chicago has some of the best clubs in the nation.
GB: This past Spring you signed to Militia Group. What has your experience been like with them? Do you feel your perspective is different then most since you also own a record label?
IA: Signing with Militia Group has been a learning experience. I think I give them a harder time than most, simply because I run a label as well and have high expectations. I continue to hope that working with them leads to greater exposure for One for the Team.
GB: How are things with Afternoon Records? It sounds like a big week for Now, Now Every Children. How did their recording sessions turn out?
IA: Things with Afternoon Records have never been better. We're all very excited for the new Now, Now Every Children record. I am particularly biased because I had the privilege to produce and record their album. I love it. They worked very hard and it's awesome — I'm very proud of them. It will be out digitally on 11/11, physically 12/9. Another great record to look forward to is the new Spiritual Mansions full-length, which is a beautiful pop record.
GB: I love the look of the new NNEC cover. Who is responsible for the overall artistic direction of Afternoon Records? Each of your albums are pretty unique, is there a specific AR aesthetic? How much input do the bands have?
IA: Actually, Brad Hale, the drummer in Now, Now Every Children, is one of two awesome designers we have — the other is Katie Evans. Most bands bring in their own favorite artist to work with on each release, however, Brad and Katie handle the artistic vision and image of the label.
GB: How much input did you have on the cover for Build It Up (Militia, Aug. 2008)? It is very different from the cover of One for the Team's debut album?
IA: Bradley Hale of Now, Now Every Children, does all of the art for One for the Team as well. He is crazy talented and we love everything he does. Basically, we gave him an iPod with the record on it, some headphones, and told him to have fun. It turned out great and I am very proud of the art.
GB: Writing music reviews yourself, do you read the reviews of your albums?
IA: I do read reviews of the record, but I always take them with a grain of salt. It's fun to know what people think of your work, but you can't let it get to your head positively or negatively. You just have to keep being yourself and make the music that comes naturally.
GB: After this upcoming tour, what next for Ian Anderson and One for the Team?
IA: One for the Team's big tour will round out about Feb 1. At that point, I'll start to write and demo our new record and hopefully get into the studio to record April/May. We'll have the new record out in August or September again. My first ever real book will be out in June or July, which will be fun too. I might have the opportunity to tour a bit on the book and go around the country and talk to music business students, which would be beyond cool. Beyond that, Afternoon Records will keep on releasing records!
One for the Team will be appearing at The Abbey Pub on November 2nd. Doors open at 8pm and tickets are $10 at the door and $8 in advance.
About the Author:
Jason Behrends has lived in the suburbs of Chicago his entire life. He is the creator of the arts & culture blog What to Wear During an Orange Alert. As a natural extend of the blog, Orange Alert Press was born. The first novel, Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine by Chicagoan Ben Tanzer can be found here (link). His interviews have been published by Rural Messenger Press and Tainted Coffee Press, and he is involved with three different on-line literary journals. He has been a music nerd since birth.