ON – Five Questions With


All Photo Credit: Lindi Gordon

ON are back with their latest single “Break You,” plus a music video

Toronto indie rockers ON are riled up to share their new “Break You” video and single.

ON is a power trio made up of Lucy Di Santo (vocals, bass), Dan Cornelius (drums), and Steve Fall (guitars) – carrying on the legacy of their former 90’s band – the Sire Records-signed Acid Test – with members also having been in other popular Toronto bands Danko Jones and Deliuss.

Lucy Di Santo says,

“The song ‘Break You’ soars like a goodbye love letter to a toxic person, place, or substance; it’s a decree of emancipation – and breaking away from what dictates and captures the human soul. It is an outcry, a battle cry, and finally a freedom cry of intention – all wrapped up in a hardcore punk-metal riff that ends with Sabbath-esque overtones.”

Watch the video for “Break You” below and learn more about ON via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

ON is a trio of long-time mates who banded together in Toronto, Ontario, deep in the midst of the great 90’s sonic alt-rock boom. Consisting of Toronto members Lucy Di Santo (vocal/bass), Steve Fall (guitars), and New York-based Dan Cornelius (drums). Di Santo and Fall hail from the Sire/Warner signed, genre-defying, tech-rockers Acid Test, who has shared the stage with a diverse array of artists, including Nine Inch Nails, Sugarcubes, Grace Jones, the Ocean Blue, Pale Saints, Snow, Sloan, 54-40, Head, The Tea Party, and many others, while Cornelius played for the likes of Rocket Science, Sass Jordan, Carol Pope, and Danko Jones. ON’s history includes a revolving door of previous ‘fourth members’: guitarists Bill Hermans, Gordon Reilly, Rob Holiday (Prodigy, Curve, Marilyn Manson, Sulpher), Tom Capone (Bloodclot, Quicksand, Handsome), and drummers Anton Cook (King Apparatus, Cancon), and John Lalley (Rusty, Bootsauce). The band’s active live repertoire consisted of performing at two consecutive Edgefests, touring eastern Canada and the US, and being invited to Mexico as part of a Canada Rocks festival with fellow rockers Rusty and Monoxides. This culminated with a release of ON material through Opcion Sonica in Mexico. The three members took a creative hiatus to expand in different directions: Di Santo and Fall under the monicker LEI (opening for Helmet), as well as forming Indiestructable Records and band Innerstate (with Mick Srivastava and Rob Clarkson – see YouTube videos “After All” and “Senza Vita”).

Lucy: ON’s reuniting was a happy accident – as a casual New York trip in 2018 brought the three of us together at Funkadelic rehearsal studios in Times Square, which is one of our faves… A casual jam bloomed into sonic magic, and we were smitten again as the chemistry and power were undeniable. The jams kept growing into song crafting in New Jersey, Toronto, and remotely throughout the pandemic lockdown. This brings us to the band’s ethos: genuineness, integrity, and soul, and I am happy to share a complete ‘open-door policy’ when it comes to songs and ideas. I think we all look at it like there are four members in ON – myself, Dan, Steve – and the song – which always takes precedence. The unique quality of this power trio is that everyone brings in song ideas, lyrics, song titles, and visions; the goal is always to optimize the song. We encourage each other to bring in all of our individual voicings and influences, which derive from punk, hardcore, p-funk, grunge, industrial, metal, garage, prog, and of course, the unabashed human experience.

Tell us a bit about your most recent release.

Lucy: Our latest self-titled record was conceived pre-Covid-19 and was written in New York, Toronto, and Fort Meyers, Florida, where we started recording at The Star Sound Studio with engineer Drew Howard. Florida proved instantly inspirational for us, and for me personally, with bass grooves for the songs Gator and FLA born on our golf-green-facing patio. And yes, there were alligators – but the song Gator references the general gated community dweller compared to the friendly neighbourhood alligator – and begs to ask – which of these are really living freely?

Covid lockdowns prompted us to complete the record in Toronto at Phase One Studios with our close friend, producer/engineer Darius Szczepaniak (Sum 41, Big Sugar, Black Crowes). We have recently released a couple of video singles for songs Underdog (a Leafs-inspired motivator! ) and Blackmail, both directed by artist (and my cousin) Michael Gucciardi. These have garnered us over 14,000 views to date on YouTube, as well as listenership and support from indie radio in the UK, Germany, and the US. We invite music lovers to view and subscribe so we can keep you posted on the latest updates. Please do check out our latest video for Break You, created by our very own ON drummer Dan Cornelius. This song stands as a farewell message to any person, place, institution, or substance that’s got its grips on you.

Where do you tend to pull inspiration from when writing?

Steve: Inspiration for writing can come from anything from an internal urge or feeling, rediscovering and playing along with Jimi Hendrix, or just hearing a power riff that’s just “got to be played now.” I also get inspiration from jamming ideas – everything from hardcore riffs to blues over hip-hop beats and funk grooves. I do some of this while teaching guitar and providing music therapy to people with autism/ASD – a passion that has now become part of my weekly schedule and routine.

Lucy: I hear musical ideas as almost a melodic and/or rhythmic calling in my brain – it’s a manifestation of some environmental and societal influence at the time that leads to an intrinsic drive or emotion. Themes and catalysts include life realizations and transitions, self-discovery, and observations – often with a cathartic nod to recovery for me personally. Songwriting and jamming, in general (for myself), begin almost always with a melody, rhythm, or groove (usually all three), as these make up the universal language of music. This then inspires the lyrics and the overall vibe of the song. Words usually are chosen for their actual phonetic properties or their sound – which then inspires a theme for the song. I use and choose words or lyrics according to both how they sound – as well as what they mean. It’s quite a creatively satisfying process and challenge to complete – like figuring out a puzzle, Tetris, or sudoku.

Do you have any upcoming shows you’d like to tell us about?

We are excited and proud to announce a 30+ date US west-coast tour starting in San Diego on February 14th and ending in Seattle on April 2nd, 2023. The tour spans from California to Washington state to Texas, where we will play venues in and around the SXSW music festival and the infamous Treefort music festival in Boise, Idaho. We have loose plans to tour the UK around and with hopes to attend The Big Escape music festival in Brighton, UK. Finally, we are excited to be doing a proper east-coast Canadian tour, spanning from Atlantic Canada to southern Ontario, to coincide with our eastern US dates in July/August.

What’s your goal for 2023?

We are thrilled to embark on this February/March US West coast tour, followed by some hopeful key UK dates and a late summer eastern Canadian/US tour. We are also in discussions to be collaborating with some ‘TBD’ remixers for what we are calling the ONacid mixes of tunes – this is a nod to and re-incorporation of Acid Test into our creative fold. Acid Test was Steve’s and my ‘no holds barred’ and genre-defying platform, which gained notoriety, and praise and criticism both for its’ multi-directional musical make-up and creations. Interestingly enough, we have heard a similar ‘genre-defying’ description for our band ON as well – but as we all know, diversity is much more palatable and appreciated in the 2020s! Further collaborations and recording plans and goals for ON include some hopeful sessions with Brooklyn, NY native and legendary producer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Brian Eno, John Zorn, Herbie Hancock, Iggy Pop, Helmet, Dresden Dolls, Cop Shoot Cop) at his BC Studio in Brooklyn, as well as in Toronto and Florida with our trusted crew Darius Szczepaniak (Phase One, Toronto) and Drew Howard (the Star Sound Studio, Fort Meyers, FLA).

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