Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chicago pop punk band On A High Wire ringing in holidays with Christmas song, shows


Just in time for the holiday season, Chicago pop punk band On A High Wire has released its first Christmas song, "All I Want For Christmas."

It's been a busy year for the band. In October, the band released its sophomore EP, "Caught Up In Everything."

The band will also provide some cheer this holiday season,  as it will perform Dec. 13 at Reggies, 2105 S. State St., Chicago with 7 Minutes In Heaven, Firestarter and The Fall Four.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets range from $13 to $15, available by going to 

On A High Wire will also perform Dec. 18 at Cobra Lounge, 235 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, in conjunction with a pop punk toy drive. The Linden Method, Guardrail, Rebuild & Rebound and Two Weeks Notice also are on the bill.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m.,and tickets range from $8 to $12, available at

I had the chance to talk to On A High Wire bassist/vocalist Cameron Jones about the band's current activities.

Q - Great talking to you. It looks like you guys are busy this holiday season. On A High Wire is among several bands that will play Dec. 18 at the Cobra Lounge as part of a toy drive. Do you guys do a lot of benefit shows and what made you want to be part of this show?

Unfortunately we have not had a lot of opportunities to play benefit shows but have seen an increase in their frequency in the local scene in the past year, which is great. With the holidays right around the corner, it just seemed like a fitting time to give back.

When we were approached about the show we were eager to jump on board and help out however we could.

Q - Of course, your new song, "All I Want For Christmas," was just released. Was it just the right time to do a holiday song?

The idea for a Christmas song actually started a year ago, but we just could never find the time to get into the studio to lay it down. We knew that we wanted to create something original as opposed to a cover.

There are only so many Christmas songs that are repeated year after year and we wanted to help break the monotony with something fresh.

Q - It's been a busy year for the band. In October, you released your sophomore album, "Caught Up In Everything." In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them?

It was important for us on this EP to really establish our sound. The band was still in its infancy while recording "A Comedy About Growing Up" and didn't even have our final lineup until midway through the recording process.

Mark and Cameron took over as co-lead vocalist well into recording and really had to hit the ground running. We idolize bands like Blink 182, The Starting Line and New Found Glory, and have always wanted to play music that hearkened back to the pop punk bands of our youth while still putting our own twist on it.

Everyone is extremely happy with how "Caught Up In Everything" turned out and would say we accomplished what we set out to do.

Q - You chose to release "Caught Up In Everything" on your own. Do you think there are more pros than cons to releasing music on your own than through a label?
There are definitely pros to both sides. Being on a label is like having extra members in the band doing work on your behalf and helping to accomplish task that you may not have been able to achieve with your resources.

You are able to focus more on the music with the extra hands working the business side with you. With that being said, having a bigger team can also add more complications with scheduling, differences of opinions, etc.

We have been very lucky to have people from the beginning helping to develop our band, but never really had the chance to get our hands dirty. We learned a lot from Chuck Macak (Pixelhead Records/Electrowerks) and he still continues to be a helping hand and a font of information.

Our decisions to release the new EP on our own was based on a readiness to build our business and brand by ourselves. Apart from having complete control, we wanted to be on the front lines, learn from our mistakes, and grow our band organically on our own.

Q - The album was produced by Macak, who also produced your first album. How did you hook up with him, and what do you think he brings to the table?

Chuck was highly recommended to us by another local band. It was important to us to find a studio with a great producer.

We wanted someone who genuinely took an interest in the music we were creating and to be able to help with the creative process. He has a great understanding of music and the industry and has been a great mentor  and friend to the band and we can never thank him enough.

Whether big or small, there is a piece of Chuck in every song we've recorded.

Q - Is there a meaning behind the band's name?

Nope, no deep meaning behind our name. On A High Wire came off of a quote from a movie poster that hangs in the house that 3/4 of the members still reside in.

We came up with a number of terrible band names and this one was literally hanging right in front of our faces.

Q - How did the band come together?

Cameron, Mark, and Chris all grew up in a small town in Iowa. Mark and Cameron have been childhood friends and playing in bands together since 2002-2003.

We met Chris in high school and joined forces there. The three of us moved to Chicago and opted to hold off on college to pursue a career in music.

We spent two years of creepy Craigslist auditions before we finally met our drummer, Adam Harrington. Adam originates from Australia but moved to the state in the same pursue of music.