On Your Nerves celebrates first album release

Courtesy of Chase Andrykovitch | The five members of On Your Nerves pose during a promotional shoot for their new album.

Luke Henne | Editor-in-Chief

Sept. 1, 2022

“I have friends, but the guys in the band are different. They’re my best friends,” Chase Andrykovitch said. “After working together in this kind of unit, it’s a much closer bond.”

Andrykovitch, a commuter student studying supply chain management at Duquesne, and four friends make up On Your Nerves, a pop-punk band that released its first album, “Brace for the Best,” last month.

The band consists of Andrykovitch, fellow Duquesne student Seth Toops (lead guitar), Kevin Turcovsky (rhythm guitar/backup vocalist), Roman Backus (bass) and Evan Blenko (drummer).

Toops said that the process for choosing the band name was not an easy one.

“We were in between a lot of names. We wanted to think of one that stuck,” Toops said. “We had a couple ideas that were too embarrassing to even mention because it was so bad.”

He said that they eventually decided upon On Your Nerves because they were “the annoying kids in high school” that were “playing shows and having people jump around and crowdsurf at dive bars.”

However, the album name is easily understood.

“We knew this was our first cohesive project, at least that was well-recorded and at a professional standard,” Toops said. “We wanted to signify that this was our first thing with a phrase. The [name] ‘Brace for the Best’ kind of comes from [the fact that] there’s more to come. Just stick around and you’ll see.”

Andrykovitch said that while Backus and Blenko were added to the band more recently, Toops, Turcovsky and himself got the idea off the ground.

“We [Turcovsky and Andrykovitch] have been friends since first grade. We’re also friends with Seth from high school [Norwin], just kind of high school friends,” Andrykovitch said. “It was kind of a no-brainer to start a band together because we all liked the same music and all had the interest and the skill.”

Andrykovitch attributed a lot of the success to his experience with Safety Last, a band he was in before On Your Nerves.

“That band was super important for me, just to learn how to run a band,” Andrykovitch said. “Because of the stuff I learned, as far as booking shows through agents and little things like making set lists, running all our equipment, all our sound, through that I kind of learned how to manage everybody’s time. It gave us a huge head start.”

Toops said that the process all got started in the basement of Andrykovitch’s home in North Huntingdon in 2019, and that Andrykovitch carried some unfinished songs from his previous band into the newly formed group.

“As friends, we were just like, ‘Let’s see if we can jam. Let’s see if we can turn [Caleb’s unfinished songs] into something else,” Toops said.

Andrykovitch said that the band’s earliest writing came during the “lockdown lockdown of Covid,” when that was just about all the band could do.

“We kind of were just writing these songs with no idea of what would actually come out of them,” Andrykovitch said. “We didn’t know how we’d release them, whether it be an EP (extended play) or an album or whatever.”

That is, until they met Zac Eisenstein, a member of Man Overboard, a pop-punk band.

“We just wanted him to listen to [what they had produced so far] because we were big fans of his music, and he was like, ‘Let’s make an album.’ He loved the music,” Andrykovitch said. “After that, we’d write a song, we’d record it ourselves, send it to [Zac] and he’d change up a few things structurally about it. From there, we’d go on to the next song until, eventually we had 10 songs.”

After that, the band went to New Jersey to begin the song-recording process. While Andrykovitch credited Eisenstein for his help, he also gave special thanks to Len Carmichael, who owned Landmine Studios in Ewing, N.J. (where the band recorded).

“[Len] was super kind and let us stay in his empty house that his dad had lived in,” Andrykovitch said. “It was huge for us because we weren’t old enough to rent a hotel room out there.”

Andrykovitch said that it was worth it, as the band has listeners in at least 58 countries and recently passed 1,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.

It was eight straight days, from early morning to late at night, just in the studio, recording these songs,” Andrykovitch said.

Toops said it is easy to lose hope sometimes.

“Performing certainly has its highs and lows,” Toops said. “We’ve had a pretty good following locally, but there’s a good amount of shows where we’ll show up and the only other people there are the people in the band that’s playing after us, or our parents when we were younger and needed a ride.”

According to Andrykovitch, the album’s message is all about fun.

“We just want to uplift people who listen to it. We just want them to get basic enjoyment out of it,” Andrykovitch said. “The subject matter isn’t super deep. It’s pop music. It’s kind of like something that you just hum in your head. It’s not meant to be super pondered upon, and that’s how we write.”

While there is still time to grow, Toops is grateful for the opportunity they’ve had so far.

“There are nights where we have two people show up. There are nights where we have 200 people show up,” Toops said. “It has its variations, but when it’s good, it’s an out-of-this-world experience. It’s so much fun.”