Interview courtesy of Nikki at Songbird music
Secret Someones is a rock band out of NYC. I have had the pleasure of meeting this group, both separately and together. I knew some of them before they even became a band. The foursome includes guitarist/vocalist Bess Rogers, keyboardist/vocalist Hannah Winkler, bassist/vocalist Lelia Broussard, and drummer/vocalist Zach Jones. It’s a rare sight to see when a band actually comes together.
This is another group that I met in my friend’s backyard (shout out to Backyard Stage who are about to have their 50th show). It was Valentine’s Day two years ago. I remember sitting on their living room heater because the house was packed and the discomfort being totally worth it! Their music is just pure, engaging, high-octane rock ‘n roll! Ingrid Michaelson said it best when she described them as “Weezer with boobs.” They have just released their debut self-titled album and are currently on tour with Mariana’s Trench.
Because they are so sweet and so awesome, they let me ask them a couple of questions about the band, from their songwriting to their upcoming album and tour. Here is what they said:
Q1: How did the band get started?
A: We all met each other individually through friends and the NYC music scene. The band really came together when we went on a house concert tour together as solo musicians. We took turns backing each other up and as a result, it felt more like we were a band than solo artists. The audiences seemed to agree, and after hearing every night that we should record something together, we decided to try it out. We began writing together shortly after and the rest is history!
Q2: What is it like working with Cherrytree Records?
A: Working with Cherrytree has been amazing. So many of our favorite artists are on that label and we’re honored to be in such good company. It’s so nice to to have a home where individuality, creativity and the music is valued most.
Q3: Bess, Lelia, Hannah, I know that you were each pursuing your own solo careers before Secret Someones. Mostly because I own the majority of your albums. How has each of your songwriting styles and musicianship changed now that you’re in a band?
A: We made a conscious decision when we started the band to go more in a rock direction. We’ve all had elements of that in our music, but but we hadn’t really explored that fully as solo musicians. The idea of forming a female fronted high energy rock band really excited us, and so our writing was very much informed by that decision. We also picked up some new instruments and challenged ourselves musically with this band. Lelia had never even played the bass before we started!
Q4: What can people expect from your debut self-titled album?
A: The album features a handful of tracks that we released on our earlier EPs: “I Won’t Follow”, “Chase Your Shadow”, “Surrender”, “Quit Pulling Me Down” (which have all been re-mixed and mastered), plus six other tunes we’ve been playing live at our shows. Our most recent single, “Let You Go”, is on there, plus “Headfirst”, which is maybe our most dance-y pop song. The album’s main theme is finding your own path and independence during or after a relationship, and though there’s a lot of heartbreak expressed throughout the tracks, there are also anthemic, inspirational messages. The album features our blend of pop, grunge rock, and harmonies, harmonies, harmonies! There’s also a digital deluxe version of the album which includes an acoustic EP. It was fun to rework six of the rock songs into stripped-down, intimate arrangements which highlight the vocals.
Q5: When did each of you realize you wanted to have a career in music?
A: Hannah- I think I knew I wanted to work in music by the end of high school. I wasn’t sure in what capacity– I was writing my own music but also thought I might like to be a choral conductor– but I was able to recognize that career path goal at that time.
Bess- When I was 14 or 15 and started writing songs, I had a feeling I wanted to do it professionally.
Zach- I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to be an actor or a musician, and then when I was 11 or 12, I was paid to play drums in the orchestra pit for a local theatre company and never looked back.
Lelia- I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t obsessed with music. But it got more serious for me when I started playing guitar and writing songs around 13.
Q6: What is life really like out on the road?
A: Life on the road is simultaneously exhausting and a ton of fun. Though we don’t get much sleep and we spend every day driving in our van, we get to play rowdy shows every night in front of fun, enthusiastic audiences, we have a great time hanging out with our friends in the bands we tour with, we get to explore beautiful parts of this country, and we make it our goal to try amazing food and coffee in a lot of the cities we visit!
Q7: You guys are great connecting with your fans through social media, especially your online street team, Top Secret Someones. How important is that aspect of your lives to you?
A: It’s very important to us! It’s really great to be able to talk directly with our fans. We love meeting everyone at shows and being able to keep in touch afterwards online is great.
Q8: Describe your songwriting process.
A: Bess, Hannah and I usually write everything together. Someone will bring in an idea to start us off and we just go from there. We usually try and figure out the overall message of what we’re trying to say and then we throw out a lot of different ideas until something sticks. We work out a lot of the harmonies in the writing process as well. After we finish the song we’ll bring it to Zach and Chris Kuffner (our producer) to work out the arrangement. A lot of the songs have really transformed in the arranging process. It’s a very collaborative process.
Q9: Who has been your favorite people/person to tour with?
A: We’ve been really lucky when it comes to tourmates! Ingrid Michaelson, A Great Big World, and Jukebox the Ghost are all dear friends of ours in non-tour life, so getting to share stages across the country with them and spend our downtime in their company has been a real pleasure. We’re currently on tour with Marianas Trench, and those dudes and their crew have gone above and beyond in terms of hospitality and kindness toward us. It really makes the grind of touring a lot easier when you get to do it with fun, pleasant people.
Q10: What does the future look like for Secret Someones?
A: We’re continuing to support our new album on tour with Marianas Trench in the New Year! You can get the deluxe version of the album on iTunes (which includes 6 acoustic bonus tracks), and tickets for our January/February shows at www.secretsomeones.com