Hi Tim! Wow, I was blown away by your new melodic post-hardcore tune “When Lions Dream”! What an awesome intro to your upcoming EP, Symbols, which will be out on June 2nd. Before we get into those details, can you intro yourselves and what instruments you play?
Hi Jen! First of all thank you for taking the time to listen to our new record. We’re glad you like it! Let’s go ahead and introduce everyone in the band. We have Daniel Pinner on vocals, myself, Tim Benson, playing guitar & synth, Patrick Trumps on guitar, Stefan Hawkins on guitar, Alex Daigle on bass, and Lee Gauthreaux on drums.
From what I understand, Secondborn started out as a solo project in 2013 and only officially became a band in March 2014, just over a year ago. Who founded Secondborn and how did the 6-member-strong band take shape?
Initially, Daniel (vocalist) and I started this band as a recording project in 2013. We have been friends for a very long time and we’ve always been very interested in the same types of bands. Believe it or not, this is Daniel’s first real band; prior to this he’d never really sung on any records which to me was hard to believe, since I think his voice is so well suited to being in a band like this. As we were writing the songs at my home studio, we kept showing them to a few friends casually. The response was very positive and we then decided that we needed to get some more musicians in the band. Pat Trumps and Lee Gauthreaux were top on our list and they loved the tunes immediately. It was a great fit. Eventually, as the tunes kept getting more complex, Pat made a point that “We’ll need three guitarists to pull off this stuff live”. So we contacted our friend Stefan Hawkins and he also really liked what we were doing and joined the band. We still needed a bass player and this part of the story we get a chuckle out of. I literally walked into a Starbucks here in town and saw a guy working there that I just had a feeling played music and liked the stuff we did. So I just walked in there one day during his shift and asked him, “Hey, do you like punk/hardcore stuff?” After he said “yes” I asked him if he wanted to be in my band. He said “Sure!” And that was it. Alex was in the band! We had our guys and were ready to go.
You’re almost all veterans of the music scene and have had a time of it, both good and bad, with the music industry. While you are self-funding all of your output as Secondborn, you also signed to Rise Or Die Records in October 2014. It sounds like you have a love/hate relationship with the music industry! How is that going for you at the moment?
Jen, I’m really glad you asked that question regarding the music industry because that is a major point of emphasis about us.
Many of us in the band had been in previous bands that toured, released records, opened up for bigger bands, and gained some traction in getting label support, too. So we definitely have played that game.
The music industry, I believe, is undergoing some very fundamental changes (and I don’t think it’s all bad, mind you!) so now it’s forcing artists to think more about how to present themselves to the world. We decided very early on that we want to make a record that we could be very happy with while also figuring out ways to reach a broad audience using newer mediums like social media. It’s easy for bands to jump in a van and go play shows all over the place, but it’s much harder to have a big picture gameplan about how you are going to release and promote the record on your own. The business stuff is not always the most “fun” thing, but it is very necessary and we feel like we have a great blend of energy and experience that has helped us at least get to this point.
Regarding Rise or Die, they are super awesome people and Andrew Andrade (the CEO) is one of the coolest and most passionate people I’ve seen in the music industry. He really is in it to help bands succeed. They put together these compilations from underground bands like us in which they hand out at major shows all across the U.S., so that’s helped to get some more ears listening to us nationally.
The great thing about it, too, is that we feel like we have complete control over our songs, direction, marketing, and overall focus of the band.
Speaking of your DIY ethic, you’ve amassed quite an impressive following on Facebook with almost 20K likes!! That’s so cool! How did you attract so many fans? Is there a method behind the result, because if there is, I’d like to try it!
It’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. What we do; strive to write the very best music we can, identify the type of people that we think would dig the music we are writing and find as many outlets as possible to market ourselves to. For now, we decided to stay with the online route as far as marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, etc… and that resulted in a great response; especially on Facebook. So it’s all about identifying who is really going to like what you do and just go after them!
Moving on to your upcoming EP, is it true that it’s a ‘Part One’ in a series of EPs for you? Will the EPs eventually be compiled into an album?
That’s actually true! We are planning on making this a two-part series of records. The records will each have their own “vibe” and we are hoping that the listener can easily hear that once both EPs are out. There is a strong possibility that both EPs will be combined into one big Symbols record down the road.
You’ve been working with producer Joseph Milligan (Anberlin) on Symbols. What has he brought out in you that you may not have hit upon yourselves?
It’s been really cool working with Joey – we’ve mainly communicated via email / sending tracks back and forth since his studio is about seven hours away from us here in Lafayette. The songs were mostly written as we sent him everything and he added some really cool parts that blended nicely! We’re very happy to have him contribute on the record!
Speaking of production, I’ve also heard samples of the other 5 songs on your EP, and they are super-polished, but there’s no loss of passion or energy on each track. Did you go into the studio with fully-formed songs or did you end up hashing them out during production?
Regarding our songwriting, we actually have a motto, “Until the record hits iTunes, nothing is safe!” We are constantly changing and tweaking stuff. So I guess you can say we are constantly hashing them out a lot during production. In fact we do this A LOT. Sometimes it can get frustrating but it’s a necessary process for us and we’ve been extremely happy with the end result.
What bands/singers influenced the sonics and vocals on this batch of songs? Would the now-defunct, post-hardcore, New Jersey-based band Thursday be an inspiration at all? I’m hearing a Geoff Rickly-like vocal dreaminess on the chorus of “When Lions Dream” and a vividly saturated sound that permeated that band’s album A City By the Light Divided…
I can see that comparison a little bit. There are so many bands that we like, especially from that genre, that it would be too long to list. I think overall our approach is to have songs that musically have energy and melody while the vocals can come across as being crisp, punchy, and lyrically interesting. Many of those bands (especially from the early-mid 2000’s) have that characteristic so hopefully that does stand out a bit with us, too.
Your rich, reeling guitar sonics are intense and almost overwhelming (in a good way!!). What types of guitars do you play and how many guitars at most are being played on your songs?
We love and use Gibson Les Pauls, Ibanez, PRS, Chapman Guitars, and Ernie Ball. Amps that we like and use are Fender, Blackstar, Mesa, and Bogner. We have a lot of texturing with guitar parts going on in our songs and because we have three guitarists we all try to find interesting parts to play without (hopefully) losing the song. We try to add as much as we can without overstepping the melody line in the vocals in each tune.
Another EP track, “Wolves And Hounds”, features a sporadic, super-fast drum beat. Is that humanly possible to play?
Our drummer, Lee, likes to do fun crazy stuff like that! So yep, he does play it! He also does a lot of drum videos on his own, too. The guy just loves drumming!
So, from what I understand, you didn’t play that many gigs at the start of forming the band because you wanted to create your songs to the best of your abilities before releasing them to the audience. How did that decision play out?
I believe that it has been the very best decision for us because we can focus on how to become better as songwriters and find new ways to get these songs to a wider audience with our marketing efforts. We did play in previous bands that hit the road, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with it, but we decided that we’d like to try conserving our energy and focus strictly on writing and marketing.
What’s next on the horizon for you all as a band? Are you playing shows at the moment, or finalizing the details on Symbols?
We are in the process of doing national promotion with Symbols – across various media and outlets. We do have a show coming up here in Lafayette on May 29th that will be our hometown CD release party. Beyond that, we plan on releasing a lyric video (or two perhaps), a music video, and possibly a few shows with some national artists.
Lastly, can you please list your official site(s) where we can find out more about you and your music?
You can find us at the following sites: