One Step Closer are a younger hardcore band from Wilkes Barre, PA. After a demo (2016) and some EP’s (2017 x2) & 2019 they finally released their highly anticipated debut full length last year in “This Place You Know” on Run For Cover Records. Their style is hard to categorize and finds a sweet mix of melodic influences and hardcore bite. Things had already been trending in an upward direction for OSC and when we got a crack to ask lead singer Ryan Savitski 20 questions they were in the middle of a 36 date US tour along with Drug Church, Soul Blind and Lurk. More touring is on deck with upcoming stops in Hingham, MA, Long Island, Toms River, NJ, Europe, Sound and Fury (CA), and This Is Hardcore (PA). “This Place You Know” is 28 minutes of highly recommended hardcore that doesn’t sound like the same old shit so if you don’t already know… get to clicking some links (after you read this rad interview of course)… All live photos taken at FYA Fest (January 2022) in Tampa, FL by Danielle Dombrowski with graphic work by Paul Turano.
1: Hey Ryan, can you tell us exactly where you are right now on your tour with Drug Church?
Ryan: Currently chilling in the van on our way to our homies in Rochester, NY. We have an off day today, so we are visiting some friends for the night.
2: On “This Place You Know” OSC's sound has matured from your previous release “From Me To You”. How difficult (or easy) was it to write a 28 minute album within this music genre of hardcore while keeping things fresh and not sounding all the same from song to song?
Ryan: It was definitely challenging and something we all kept in mind while writing. We wanted to make sure each track was able to stand on its own and have its own individual uniqueness. I think going in with that mindset really helped us create something we all loved.
3: The songs off of “This Place You Know” are now about 6 months old to the public and probably way older to you and your bandmates. Is there a song (or couple of songs) that just haven’t gotten old yet and still hit you hard each time you hear or play them?
Ryan: I think the album as a whole still feels very fresh to play. Since we’ve only been playing the songs live the last 6 months, it feels like we are just getting comfortable with how they flow in the sets and how to make them feel good live. The opening part in “Chrysanthemum" still hits every single time.
STREAM OR BUY "THIS PLACE YOU KNOW" BY ONE STEP CLOSER BY CLICKING BELOW
4: How many new songs have been written since the new album came out and can you give us any insight on them and the direction they may be going in?
Ryan: We have a good bit of stuff written already for something new, definitely pushing more into what we’ve always wanted OSC to sound like. I’m super excited on how they are coming together.
5: Do you feel with the bands growing popularity that it gets harder and harder to keep in touch with fans both on social media and at shows?
Ryan: We try our best to keep up with fan interaction because I’d hope that the bands we love would do the same for us. Sometimes I will admit, it does become a lot and some days you just don’t feel like interacting with people. Regardless, we definitely try our hardest to keep up on social media interactions and in person stuff as well. We love talking to people and just kicking it.
6: Do your parents or close relatives show any interest in what you are doing and if so what kinds of things do they say about the band?
Ryan: My family fully supports the bands and myself, it’s pretty awesome how much interest they show in it. My entire fam is always watching videos of us on YouTube and just keeping up on the tours we are doing. Everyone else’s families do the same, we are very lucky to have a good support system back home.
ONE STEP CLOSER (LEFT TO RIGHT) TOMMY NORTON, GRADY ALLEN
RYAN SAVITSKI, ROSS THOMPSON, BRIAN TALIPAN
7: When you are preparing to go out on a tour like you are on now what are some things you immediately think of that you know you have to remember to pack before leaving?
Ryan: I’d say most crucial is my wallet and some headphones. I’m always grabbing my pockets to make sure I have them both on me. Vitamins are also crucial because I always end up getting sick on tour. It’s pretty much a guarantee for every tour. Last but not least, my cell phone and phone charger are definitely needed. I pretty much worry about clothes and other random stuff last… haha!
8: Can you tell us what kind of accommodations you guys have for this current tour from the vehicle that gets you from point A to point B to where you stay each night?
Ryan: We are currently in a 15 passenger van with a trailer for all our merch/equipment as our day to day ride. Before the tour we mapped out where we have homies to crash with and where we’d need to get hotels. Our day to day is pretty much wake up early enough to grab a shower (which isn’t every day) then get straight on the road for usually 4-6 hours. Get to the venue, load in, sound check, grab food, and then just play the set and chill for the night. After the show we usually drive a bit and then get to bed at like 2 am. Rinse and repeat every day for the most part. Touring is amazing, but sometimes it’s very rough on your physical and mental health. We try our best to make it as easy as possible now since we are touring a bunch and do as much pre-planning as possible. Also driving with a trailer is super annoying, but it truly helps so much to have one.
9: The current tour you are on with Drug Church also features Soul Blind and Lurk. Did you know or know of these bands before the tour started and what kind of relationships are there between the 4 bands on this run?
Ryan: We’ve known of all the bands for a while and we were already pretty tight with Soul Blind. This tour is really awesome because since day one, everyone’s been kicking it together and skating a bunch. Everyone on this tour is super sick and we all get along very well. I’ve been stoked that it’s been like this.
PHOTO BY: DANIELLE DOMBROWSKI
10: Your all-time top 3 favorite TV shows or movies?
Ryan: I’m more of a movie guy personally, so I’d say the Star Wars series, Harry Potter series, and maybe like the newer Spider Man movies? Honestly there are a lot of movies I love outside of that kind of stuff as well, those are just some series’ I enjoy.
11: OSC has not hidden the fact that you feel your home area of Scranton/Wilkes Barre is a depressing place to live. With that said if you could relocate to any other city or area in the world what are some areas that you have been to that could be hypothetically considered?
Ryan: I really love the vibe of the bigger cities. NYC, LA, and Chicago all stand out to me in different ways, but are all places I can see myself living for a period of time. I think I’d definitely want to settle down one day in a place that’s a little more quite, I just don’t know where that is yet.
12: Can you tell us who else is in OSC, the instrument they play and an interesting fact about each of them?
Ryan: We got Tommy on drums, Ross on guitar, BT on bass, and Colman on guitar. Interesting fact about all of them is that they all collectively love Blink 182 more than any other person I know.
13: Was there a specific moment in your life where you knew you wanted to be a singer in a hardcore band?
Ryan: As soon as I heard Turning Point for the first time, I knew I wanted to sing in a hardcore band. I think also watching Title Fight since I was young… I knew I wanted to try doing vocals in that style.
PHOTO BY: DANIELLE DOMBROWSKI
14: What was your introduction to learning to sing like and were there any growing pains?
Ryan: Definitely a lot of growing pains, especially when we first started touring. I didn’t know how to sing properly without blowing out my voice after three shows. Eventually I learned (on my own) how to sing from my diaphragm and save my vocal cords. I used to ask a lot of people for tips, but I think one that stands out is Brendan from Turnstile. He showed me some warm up stuff he does and different exercises that really helped while we were on tour with them. That made me want to work harder and become a better singer. He’s someone I definitely look up to as a front man, but even more as a friend.
15: What kind of advice would you give to a kid reading this that may want to join or start a hardcore band for the first time?
Ryan: Start a band because you love music and want to have fun. Doing these bands have changed my life and lead me to meet some of my favorite people in the world. No matter how big or small your band is, I believe that just doing one tour will change your life for the better.
16: Can you name a city or scene that maybe you weren't expecting a great reaction from before you got there but they surprised you in a good way?
Ryan: Honestly Toronto is definitely a spot that I wasn’t expecting to be as cool as it is for shows. Both shows we’ve played there were really fun. Seattle has also been very good to us even though people say it could be hit or miss.
17: City or country that you haven't been to yet that you are dying to get to?
Ryan: We are dying to get to Japan, Australia, and South East Asia. We just really want to see the world and experience playing it all as well. I think there are some plans in the works for that, so keep your eyes peeled.
PHOTO BY: DANIELLE DOMBROWSKI
18: What do you remember about the first OSC show?
Ryan: The first OSC show was April of 2016? (Or 2017 I can’t remember) It was at an old venue in Wilkes Barre called The Otherside. We played with a bunch of Midwest bands that were on tour and another local band called Worn. I was very nervous, but super excited to do it. Everyone was X’d up and I just remember jumping around a lot. We definitely played horribly, but it was a fun show regardless. The one band called Seeing Red did a Bad Seed cover which was so sick.
19: Three things that scare the crap out of you?
Ryan: Fast driving, flies, and drowning.
20: Can you describe your favorite type of show to play?
Ryan: I think my favorite show to play is an all ages mixed bill with a perfect stage and tons of people packed up front. Smaller room and just tons of stage dives. Doesn’t matter if we are headlining or not, just want some hardcore bands and some bands adjacent to that. I think mixed bills just make for a really fun show.
20A: When you guys are driving from city to city who is usually acting as the vehicle's DJ and what kind of stuff is usually coming out of your speakers?
Ryan: Usually it’s whoever is up front… passenger or driving. This tour we’ve been bumping a ton of Blink 182 and older pop punk records like Fall Out Boy “Take This To Your Grave” and old Paramore stuff. Right now we are listening to all the 2010 radio hits, so we are just kind of all over the place, haha!
20B: When this tour wraps up what kind of things are ahead for you and OSC for the rest of 2022.
Ryan: We got some stuff in May/June in the Northeast, then we head to Europe in the summer for a bunch of festivals, then head home and play some festivals in the states to finish off the summer. Full US tour in the fall, then head back to Europe with Magnitude and possibly some other countries as well. Plus a bunch of stuff with my other band Anxious mixed in. It’s gonna be a very busy year, but I’m super excited.
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