The epitome of cool, Skyler Nielson of ONNS dominated the little conversation, we here like to call an interview, with smart and witty jokes backed by reason and logic, yet not without raw developing emotions of past experiences and aspirations of the future. Our “casual conversation,” as Skyler referred to it, took place in his and Mykul’s home in LA. Completely impassioned with his life’s work, Sky took my senses for the journey of a lifetime.
Q: Would you say that the music life is good?
A: I wouldn’t trade my life for anything else; it’s always what I’ve wanted to do
Q: How did 003 come about?
A: We wrote the record the summer before last and came back to LA to record and did a lot of promotion and touring. We already had our marketing plan in addition to an 8-10 week campaign.Q: touring soon?
A: We leave May 1st with The Photo Atlas, they’re really good, they’re from Denver….in June we depart for Toronto, Canada
Q: So there are big time travel opportunities huh?
A: we try to stay on the road as much as we can, because that’s the only way we’ll be making money. We can do business on the road. But we don’t do it just for the money, I mean for f*** sake, if we’re a band, the whole point is to play live. I like van tours a lot; they’re always the best, very realistic; you’re not spending more than you’re making (this way.) Plus, van tours are at your own pace. We’ve done bus tour, RV tours…we all get along in the band so (it all works out)
Q: Oh what a life… :o what are the foundations to this awesome establishment you guys call the everyday norm?
A: Mykul and I met six years ago in a record store in LA, just 6 months before starting the band and 3 months after we both barely moved to LA. In ’03 we wrote our first record; we’ve sold our souls to this. We’re so excited, its like raising a child. We just keep doing what we’re doing and work our asses off. (This most recent record) was written the summer before last and we presented brand new songs 9 months prior to the actual release. It was like planting the seeds, six thousand samplers at shows, spreading the word. We’re just trying to get our music out there.
Q: So what is the band like? Ever contemplated expanding the band?
A: we’ve been a four piece touring for about a year now, pretty well practiced, well conditioned. Our traveling musicians are a bass player and a guitar player who lives with us actually. We’re open to any possibilities, up to now its worked with Mykul and I, and we wouldn’t give it up for the world; we just keep every door open, you know?
Q: With all the touring and whatnot, are your regular lives affected?
A: We both have no girlfriends, we’re not married, no other commitments other than what we’re doing…no restrictions, one of the best feelings in the world. But we gotta really work. Of course its gonna be a lot of fun, but people should know how much f***ing work we do. We create opportunities for ourselves; we’re not major label, getting wake up calls telling us what to do, if you want it, you gotta get it.
Q: What would you say is your favorite song off of the new album?
A: Okay I’ll give you four..there’s a lot of f***ing songs! Okay, I would say…they all mean so much. No two songs are about the same thing, none of them are really too similar, you may be able to match a few songs…I can say my 4 fave songs to play live have got to be the first four tracks off the album. Miss Hard Time, Hurricanes, Let’s Get It Started, All You.
Q: How do the songs come together?
A: Our song writing process changes a lot. Sometimes I’ll write one on my own, demo it and then show Mykul and he’ll do the same. Or sometimes we’ll be jamming out, or sometimes I’ll have lyrics for his songs or vice versa. We’re very versatile.
Q: So do the songs have to do with you guys? How does it correlate?
A: Our songs are 100% tied in to our lives. We consider it a part of our legacy. Tell the girls we loved, we loved them, etc. but a lot of people think they’re all love songs. Miss Hard Time involves ex-girlfriends, but they aren’t necessarily love songs.
Q: How/When did you guys know you were here to stay?
A: when we were agreeing on a band name. I remember when Myke asked me if I was 100% and we agreed we could do anything we wanted to.
Q: Always a musician?
A: Yes I’ve always been one. I’ve never like anything as much as I like music. Its all relative to what keeps you happy. I’ve realized this is what I have to do to keep me happy.
A: There are times, that’s for sure. But its not like in the movies with all the drugs. We’re good people, but I mean we are single guys…
Q: Has life changed?
A: Life HAS changed. Day by day we’re learning. We’ve experienced so much in 6 years. Today is an accumulation of six years…learned to not let the rest of the world affect you.
Q: What’s your idea of a good time with music?
A: Being on the road, waking up in a different city each time; being dirty, sore, finding cuts and bruises everywhere…we’re passionate about meeting people as much as we are about touring.
Q: How do you feel about stuff like Warped, Cochella, Bamboozle, etc..
A: Festivals are amazing. They’re one of the funnest things ever; playing for so many people…we look forward to playing them.
We continued the conversation for a little bit after and when I asked for tips for new comers into the music business or what he’d like to leave with fans reading this now, he said, “send us a message, we’ll respond; I’d like to do whatever we can do to get our music out there. New bands I would say…obviously write, write, write. You gotta have material. You gotta have business sense. The saying, ‘if you want something done right you gotta do it yourself’ is perfectly relevant.”
p.s. If anyone would like to know the story behind 12 Years Later, we have the story here. Just let me know!