Marissa Hank '20
Alternative-pop duo Secret Weapons brought their fall tour to Northampton at Pearl Street on Sept. 16. This tour follows the release of their recent album “As the Setting Sun Comes Crashing Down on Me.” Before their Northampton performance, The Sophian had the opportunity to conduct a brief interview with the band in regards to their first solo tour and recent album.
The Sophian: First, can you briefly introduce yourself and how you got into music?
Danny: Hello, I’m Danny, one half of Secret Weapons. I’ve just always been a musician. I started off on violin, and then in high school I started rock bands. Ever since then it has just progressed.
Gerry: Hello, I’m Gerry, the other half of Secret Weapons. I fell in love with music when I found a rock guitar in the attic, and I’ve just never stopped playing it.
TS: How did you both meet?
G: We met in high school math class. I really loved Dan’s band at the time, so I was always there. I wanted to be cool, and I wanted to be in a cool band. After college we just kept each other in mind, and we started a new band. That band was terrible, but eventually we evolved and wrote a lot of songs. Now we’re Secret Weapons.
TS: How did you create the idea for the name of your band?
D: We were working on songs in secret and didn’t tell anybody we were a band for a long time. So, it only just felt right. And we had the name on a piece of paper from years prior to the band starting, and one night it just stuck.
TS: What was your creative process like when you were working on the album?
G: It was different for every single song. I would bring in an idea on my computer, where I would have a lyric that was playing in my head through the night that I just needed to write a song about. And the same goes for Dan. We would just make demos. We would bring them to each other and add each other’s ideas. It can either be a really easy process of making a song, or it can be a really hard process. There’s no rhyme or reason to our creative process.
TS: How do you create songs as a band? Do you work on the lyrics first or the music? Or is it a more eclectic process?
D: We usually do the music first and then we do the lyrics later. Lyrics are the least fun part, but they take the most, so you gotta take a long time to work on them. And then when we do something in the studio, getting it onto the stage to play live is a weeks long process. Because it’s difficult to produce and then make it happen on the stage; it’s one of the hardest challenges we face. It can take a month to get the live song going.
TS: Did you come across any road blocks during your creative process? If so, how did you overcome it as a band?
D: It wasn’t always great; there’s always creative blocks. Sometimes you wake up and you think you’re a hack, and you’re about to go over the ledge, but then your buddy talks you down. The only thing that allows for creative philosophy is time. You just need time to write a lot, and a lot and a lot.
TS: If you had to pick, what song from the album speaks to you the most?
D: We just played it, so I’m going to say “My Blue Heaven,” because it’s a really grandiose song. It has to do with family and the people who are most important to you. It just really strikes a chord with everybody in the band. It has a much deeper meaning that, live, just connects with us in a special way.
TS: What have previous tour experiences been like? Is your first show usually different from the rest?
D: Oh my god, so good. Except, we haven’t been on tour in a year. So it’s crazy because it has been such a long time since we’ve been on the road. When on tour, the shows are different every single night. No matter how many times we do it, it’s always fun. Some nights are better than others based on the crowd and based off yourself, so saying it gets boring would be crazy.
Do you have any pre-show rituals? And if so, what do they include?
G: I, myself Gerry, just disappear. I warm up and I don’t talk to anyone.
D: I, Danny, don’t have any ritual. Usually there’s so much to do before a show, so we’re running around like madmen trying to get stuff done. Also, someone said to me once that if you get a ritual and something happens to where you can’t do it, like you’re all separated, and then you go on without doing it, it messes everybody’s head up. So if you just don’t have one, you never get into that position.
TS: When on tour, do you ever get tired of performing the same songs, or do you explore them in new ways each time? Or is it exciting each time due to the excitement changing with each crowd?
D: I don’t think we have been a band long enough to be “sick” of our own songs. We just released so many new songs, and three quarters of that record hasn’t been played on the stage yet. So call me in ten years and see if I still feel the same; I don’t think I’ll get bored.
TS: Even though your band is still starting off, are there any songs that you get hyped to play when on tour?
D: “My Blue Heaven” is my favorite song to play, but it’s really hard for me to sing. It’s scary every time because I never know what is going to happen. However, the energy of the song is so awesome that I get lost in it. It’s a challenging song, I think for everybody in the band, but when it works it’s just magical.
TS: To conclude, what is your advice to young adults pursuing careers in music?
D: It’s all about time, lots of hours. Just do what you keep doing. Get your music out there. Don’t buy that you need to do x and y; you just need to have good music. You need to get that music out online; put it on Spotify. Whatever you want to do whether it be a songwriter, a singer, a musician, a producer you need to put in ten thousand hours.