Office (band)

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Origin Chicago, Illinois
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Genres Rock, pop, indie rock, psychedelic, electronic
Years active 2000–2008
Labels Quack!Media
Former label - Scratchie Records
New Line Records
Members Scott Masson - guitar, vocals, piano
Erica Corniel - drums, vocals
Justin Petertil - piano, keys, vocals, and percussion
Tom Smith - guitar, vocals
Colin DeKuiper - bass
Past members Alissa Noonan-Hacker - bass
Jessica Gonyea - synth, percussion, and vocals
Jamie Harper - bari sax, flute
John D. Martin III - tenor sax, accordion
Brad Miner - bass
Toby Worscheck - drums, drum machine

Office is a Chicago-based pop band that was active in the 2000s.


The project began as a public performance and artistic outlet for songwriter, sculptor, and painter Scott Masson while attending College of Goldsmiths, in London, UK. Upon returning to America after his student exchange program ended, Masson continued to use Office as a vehicle for his songwriting and art at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Masson maintained the band with various friends and performers as collaborators,[1] preferring to call it a "project" or "hallucination."[2] The latest iteration of the project appeared onstage at SXSW, on MTV, at Lollapalooza and elsewhere dressed as if going to work in "business attire and black mini dresses."[3]

Office developed a cult following in the 2000s, particularly in and around Kalamazoo, Michigan and later in Chicago, Illinois, promoting a sound that has been described by Spin as "handclaps and sunny harmonies."[4] Masson recorded and self-released the debut Office album under his own publishing company, Public Treatments, and began promoting it in Kalamazoo in 2001. "At its peak, he said people were coming to his house at 2 a.m. asking for a copy."[5]

Masson self-produced a few other lo-fi albums with musician friends after moving to Chicago in 2002, including The Iced Tea Boys and the Lemonade Girls and Glass Corvette. In 2004, Masson recruited guitarist Tom Smith, bassist Alissa Noonan-Hacker, and drummer Erica Corniel to recreate the band as an indie-pop outfit wrapped in retro business attire pastiche. This lineup performed as a four-piece throughout the Midwest for two years, until Jessica Gonyea, formerly one of Office's onstage "dancing secretaries", became a member of the band on keyboards, percussion, and backing vocals.[6]

Their song "Wound Up" was downloaded over 322,000 times as the Single of the Week on the iTunes Music Store in May 2006,[7] helping their 2005 album, Q&A, reach number 14 on the iTunes album charts, briefly beating Tom Petty and Neil Young in the Top 20. Q&A held a spot in the iTunes top 100 in 2006. During this time the band was performing shows at South by Southwest music festival, CMJ, Mobfest, Midwest Music Conference, a set at Lollapalooza in 2006.[8] In October 2006, the group signed with Scratchie Records, an independent label owned by James Iha, former guitarist of the Smashing Pumpkins.[9][10]

The band's first album under the Scratchie label, A Night at the Ritz, was released on September 25, 2007. The album contains both previously unreleased and older material from the group's early records, and all the pop singles off of Q&A, which were remastered, remixed, reproduced for commercial release by the label. Masson disowned A Night At The Ritz during its creation and immediately upon its release, and went on record describing the album as a "train wreck" during the album's promotional tour, telling reporters that the album was a watered-down version of Office, fans and supporters of the band were confused by the release, and that the band's raw edge had been shoved into a more "polished, friendly, Hollywood" aesthetic. He also added that the band lost their creative control during the recording process. By the time A Night At The Ritz was released, many of the audience and critical reactions were lukewarm or mixed.[11][12] Office produced two music videos from this record for the songs "Oh My" and "Wound Up". "Oh My" was featured on MTV in 2007.[13] When bassist Alissa Noonan Hacker left the group In 2007, she was replaced by Chicago-based indie artist and longtime friend of Masson's from Kalamazoo College, Justin Petertil. He would later be succeeded by Colin DeKuiper from the popular instrumental band, Russian Circles until the band's hiatus in late 2008. The label folded when Time-Warner purchased New Line Cinema, thus, allowing the band to go free in early 2008.[14]

Following the completion of the album Mecca in late 2008, Masson moved to the Detroit area to be near his family, and was treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder from his experiences in the music industry. This marked the beginning of an indefinite hiatus for Office. Masson eventually made a full recovery, and began recording and performing experimental music around the mid-west under his own name, and occasionally with a group called Glossies. He currently resides in Ferndale, MI, where he works full-time as a producer, engineer, and creative consultant for artists, musicians, and ad agencies around the Detroit area. He also paints and sculpts.[15] Erica Corniel continues to write songs, play drums, and DJs throughout the Chicago area. Tom Smith relocated to San Francisco, and is a full-time artist and songwriter, as well as the guitarist and vocalist in the indie band, Social Studies. Justin Petertil continues to write pop and experimental music for various projects in Chicago, and is a married father of one. Alissa Noonan Hacker played bass for Chicago band, Village, and works in the photography industry. Colin DeKuiper works as an instructor at a university, and is a member of multiple Chicago rock bands. Jessica Gonyea travels extensively around the world, and works in the entertainment business.[16][17]

Office signed with Ann Arbor-based media conglomerate Quack!Media in January 2009, releasing "Mecca" on limited-edition vinyl and digital download.[18] For several months, the album was available for free via the internet.[19]

The song "Ridiculous Plans" was included in the teen indie film "The Virginity Hit". Office's song 'Dominoes' was included on the indie compilation in August 2009.[20] The song "Enter Me, Exit You" was licensed by Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister Co. stores across the US and UK. The band continues to discuss working together again.[21][22]

Members and Collaborators[edit]

Members and collaborators include: Scott Masson, Alissa Noonan, Tom Smith, Jessica Gonyea, Justin Petertil, Erica Corniel, Jamie Harper, John D. Martin III, Brad Miner, Toby Worscheck, Jen Collier, Colin DeKuiper, Jody Weinmann, Thea Nichols, Sara Jean Stevens, Shawn Rios, Jackie Phillips, Kip Donlon, Jeremy Freer and Jeffrey Freer, Ayinde Zuri



Office (2001)[edit]

  1. "Traffic Jams"
  2. "Cash/Money Killionaire"
  3. "Paint the City and Faces With Yellow"
  4. "Squeeze the Distance"
  5. "Bizmox"
  6. "Gas Mask"
  7. "Wireless"
  8. "The Program"
  9. "Toy Piano"
  10. "Cakeheads"
  11. "Message Machine"

The Ice Tea Boys and the Lemonade Girls (2002)[edit]

  1. "Loverdriver"
  2. "Plus/Minus Fairytale"
  3. "Weathermaker"
  4. "Superfoolfantastic"
  5. "Reaching For A Laser Beam"
  6. "Company Calls"
  7. "Bar Yellow"
  8. "And You're So..."
  9. "The Ice Tea Boys and the Lemonade Girls"
  10. "Until I Find You..."
  11. "Mosquito"

Glass Corvette [unreleased] (2004)[edit]

  1. "Introduction"
  2. "Q & A"
  3. "Glass Corvette"
  4. "The Remedy"
  5. "Poor Rich"
  6. "Into Your Network"
  7. "Wicker Park Party!"
  8. "Reality TV Show"
  9. "Busy With Other Things"
  10. "Until 6PM..."
  11. "Suburban Perfume"
  12. "Good Cops"
  13. "Twelve Months"
  14. "Pulmonary Lounge"

Q&A (2005)[edit]

A Night at the Ritz (2007)[edit]

  1. "Oh My"
  2. "If You Don't Know by Now"
  3. "The Ritz"
  4. "Company Calls"
  5. "Wound Up"
  6. "The Big Bang Jump"
  7. "Plus Minus Fairytale"
  8. "Paralyzed Prince"
  9. "Had a Visit"
  10. "Q&A"
  11. "Dominoes"
  12. "Possibilities"
  13. "Suburban Perfume"
  14. "Walking the Cow" (iTunes only bonus track)

Mecca (2009)[edit]

  1. "Sticky Dew"
  2. "Nobody Knows You"
  3. "Ridiculous Plans"
  4. "Enter Me, Exit You"
  5. "Dr. Drako"
  6. "Sleepwalking"
  7. "Everything You've Witnessed"
  8. "Trainwreck DJs"
  9. "Double Penetrate the Market"
  10. "Aphrodisiac Missiles"
  11. "The Silent Parade"

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ John Liberty (2007-09-27). "Dressed for success: K-College grad's band makes label debut". Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  2. ^ Michelle Meywes (2009-01-18). "A Special Interview with Scott Masson from OFFICE". Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  3. ^ SPIN Staff (2007-03-16). "It Happened Last Night: SXSW Night Two". Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  4. ^ SPIN Staff (2006-04-07). "Office". SPIN Magazine. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  5. ^ John Liberty (2007-09-27). "Dressed for success: K-College grad's band makes label debut". Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  6. ^ SPIN Staff (2006-04-07). "Office". SPIN Magazine. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  7. ^ "Free iTunes 2006". 2006-01-02. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  8. ^ "The Office: A Chicago Band Brings Their Catchy Melodies to the Nation". Yahoo! Voices. 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  9. ^ "Office". iTunes Preview. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  10. ^ Angie Maldonado (2007-11-21). "Knob Creek's Whiskey Professor Educates Office". SPIN Magazine. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  11. ^ Katherine Fulton. "A Night at the Ritz - Office (review)". Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  12. ^ "Office 'A Night at the Ritz'". 2007-09-22. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  13. ^ Matt Elias (2007-12-14). "Chicago Pop-Rockers Office Take Professional Approach To Having Fun". Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  14. ^ Matt Elias (2007-12-14). "Chicago Pop-Rockers Office Take Professional Approach To Having Fun". Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  15. ^ Jeff Milo (2011-06-10). "A Nervous Breakdown is Not A Bad Thing: Ask the Band GLOSSIES". Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  16. ^ "justin petertil . united states". Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  17. ^ "About Love Raid". Second Wave music. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  18. ^ "OFFICE - "Mecca" VINYL". Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  19. ^ Joe Hemmerling (2009). "Office: Mecca (review)". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  20. ^ "Indiecater Volume IV". August 2009. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  21. ^ "Hollister Co". A&F Playlists. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  22. ^ "Hollister Co. Labor Day 2011 playlist". A&F Playlists. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 

External links[edit]