"Once I began working full-time, it was a moment to really reevaluate what being a full-time musician had done to me," Evan Weiss tells Apple Music. "And also realize if it was even making me happy. You're making decisions based on your career and not about anything else, because it's survival." Written over three years, Figure is the most collaborative album Weiss has recorded as Into It. Over It., utilizing different techniques and tempos to expand beyond the band's Midwestern emo sound. "The joy has returned to being an artist; there's no preconceptions or notions into what needs to be done, and how," explains Weiss. Figure is highlighted by some of Weiss' most confessional (“They Built Our Bench Again in Palmer Square" and "Courtesy Greetings"), poppiest ("Living Up to Let You Down" and "We Prefer Indoors"), and experimental (“Breathing Patterns” and "A Lyric in My Head I Haven't Thought of Yet") tracks. "Even though there are always going to be elements of previous recordings that exist in new ones, I want them to have their own feel, and their own experience attached."
They Built Our Bench Again in Palmer Square "I've never written a breakup record before. Or at least not intentionally. But then I started writing lyrics and these were just the things that came out. The whole record is the year of 2017, essentially. This is one of my favorite Into it. Over It. songs that's ever been written. It just sets the tone, it sets up the whole rest of the record. When that happened, that was 20 days in 2017, it was like right at the top of the year, my whole life had changed at that moment, so that sets up everything else that happens after it."
Living Up to Let You Down "The riff in general, it's suspiciously tricky, but you wouldn't listen to it and think that it's a tricky riff. I'm a big fan of Tegan and Sara, I'm a big fan of obviously Death Cab, and these are moves that if you can't make a good-sounding choice, make an interesting one. And the song always to me felt like a really good driving song, and so that song got written about a road trip, and it's actually one of the first trips I took after me breaking up with my ex, so it was like a nice transition from the first song on the record."
Hollow Halos "I was like, if I'm going to be writing these songs that are the most calm, cool, relaxed, maybe kind of chill dreamy songs that I've ever done, I wanted to counter that with literally the heaviest thing I've ever done. This song is about going to your day job and having literally a smoking buddy at your job. So we go to work, and we just punch in, and we fucking smoke and talk shit. And it's all harmless and good fun, but that thought—these halos are hollow. Like we're there and we're helping and we are doing our best to help, but there are also moments where we're just like, 'Fuck this, I don't want to be here today.'"
Perfect Penmanship "There's a lot of vibraphone and Rhodes piano on that tune. And the song is about just being in a dreamy Chicago landscape where you're in snowy winter Chicago and the core of the song is about just basically you're exiting a relationship and then everywhere you go in the city reminds you of that person. And I got quite literally thrown into a situation where I was reminded of that person by actually seeing their initials in snow with their handwriting, and I was like, 'I have to go. I got to leave.'"
Courtesy Greetings "I'm curious to see what the response for this song is. I really love the guitar line; it came together really naturally. Lyrically I think it's the most confessional. And I think it's a newer, more modern approach to what would have been an older Into It. Over It. song. I think I probably would have maybe five to six years ago tried to write second guitar over this song, instead of just letting the main guitar do its thing. And there's a couple guitars on the song, but they're all doubling the same part. There's no lead. And so that was a big conscious decision with these things, just to not overwhelm people with two dueling guitars."
Breathing Patterns "That was a new experiment; that's the first time we've ever worked with electronic drums, ever. Around the time that we began making this one, I got my hands on this sample pack of like every single drum machine from the '70s and '80s. So we had this infinite amount of samples, which is overwhelming. When you have that much sonic ability, you don't know what to choose. That's the song that's the most about where I'm at now, and that's about the relationship that I'm currently in, which is a really great one. It’s the love song on the record, and we thought it was a really good way to end the first half."
A Left Turn at Best Intentions "Best Intentions is a bar in Logan Square; the line ‘A left turn at best intentions’ is a very literal one. And there's a reference to the Slippery Slope, which is another bar in Logan Square. But yeah, the song specifically is just that post-being-single moment that I think a lot of people go through where it's just about drinking, and going out, and partying just to forget about what you're going through, or at least stall having to deal with what you're going through. That was the first one where we really got experimental with how much we could delete, and what we could do to use negative space as something to drive tension and dynamic. I'm very guilty of always just trying to stack, and stack, and stack, and layer, and layer, and layer, and it's only within the last couple of years that I've recognized that you can get more out of taking things away than adding."
Brushstrokes "The drum take on this song is absolutely bananas. There's a pattern, but the pattern continues to stack and evolve throughout the entire song. And to me that song felt like a really good one to try, because there's really no chorus. It's just three verses in a row, with a bridge in the middle. And so that was challenging for me, because there was no hook to write a vocal hook around. But we were able to create ones through these repeating verse patterns."
We Prefer Indoors "This song was pretty fleshed-out in the demo stages. The lyrics are about just basically rediscovering self-confidence and understanding how much different things feel when you're in your early to mid-thirties than they did when you were like 12 and 15, and how do you rediscover that confidence and that freedom to be able to speak your mind and tell people how you feel. And it doesn't sound like a rock guitar, like a traditional rock guitar. It's got this weird feel."
Dressing Down // Addressing You "This is my other favorite song on the record. The lyrics are actually kind of the bookends to what 'Palmer Square' was about. And if we were going on a thematic timeline, 'Dressing Down' should probably be the last song. It really ties the whole narrative together. And anything that happens after on the record is the uplifting result. It's kind of like the coming to terms, and understanding the growth, and realizing the reckoning is what happens immediately following that."
A Lyric in My Head I Haven't Thought of Yet "So this was our attempt at a pop song. And there aren't a lot of instruments on it. It is definitely a super catchy song, and the song isn't about anything in particular at all, it's just about the thought of going through the same motions over and over again. You date, and then you're with someone, and then you break up, and then you date, and then you're with someone, and you break up. The same minutia of being a deadbeat in your twenties and thirties. And just how fucking over that I am. And so that's the big, for lack of a better word, come-to-Jesus moment. Not that I came to Jesus or anything. But that was definitely a big emotional journey, and that's kind of the resolve."
A Light in the Trees "A super simple, really short and sweet tune that was near the end of the demoing process, and was one that I always thought would be a really good album closer. That's a song I would have written in 2007, that's a song I'm writing now in 2020, and to me it just felt like the perfect way to close that chapter."