Less than a year ago, junior K.C. Weston began a band with five other Ithaca College students, like-minded individuals who had one thing in common — they were passionate about creating their own music. Now, with gigs both on and off campus, a loyal local following and a Battle of the Bands victory, Second Dam has released its first EP, “This Guy.”
After the band’s Sept. 14 EP release party, where they played to a packed house at the Nines in Collegetown, Staff Writer Cady Lang spoke to lead vocalist Weston and sophomore guitarist Zach Jones about Second Dam’s Ithaca roots, their journey to creating the EP and their fanbase.
Cady Lang: Who are the members of Second Dam?
Zach Jones: I play guitar, K.C. [Weston] is the lead vocals, [sophomore] Brian Schmidt plays violin, [junior] Kayla Sewell plays cello, ukulele and recorder, [sophomore] P.J. Scott plays the bass and [sophomore] Andrew Weir plays the drums. Out of all of us, only Schmidt is a music major.
K.C. Weston: I think it’s funny because when we mention that we’re a college band, people ask us what we’re studying, and Zach will be like, “Chemistry,” and I’m like, “Communications.” Kayla is philosophy and religion. People seem to be surprised. I think it speaks to the fact that there’s a lot that feeds into each of us as a group.
CL: When did Second Dam form?
KW: The group that we’re playing with now started in early January 2012. Zach and I were part of a band that had gone through a different rotation; we replaced our drummer with Andrew and took on Schmidt on the violin. Our first show was in February of this year.
CL: What are the band’s plans for the future?
KW: I think that my basic plans are to keep the band going and upwards.
ZJ: We’re planning on, hopefully, recording an album this semester, which is why we’re launching our Indie Go-Go to help raise funds for that. We’re pretty excited.
CL: Does Second Dam write its own music? What is the songwriting process like?
KW: They are, in essence, a collaboration. Someone will come in with a riff or something that they want to work on. I’ll sit down with Zach, and he’ll help me find chords. We have a skeleton and go from there. Our EP is all original music, and our album will be too. Covers are something we usually reserve for shows — something familiar.
CL: What has helped you to get this far releasing your own EP?
ZJ: A lot of work and long practices.
KW: A lot of work and long practices to an extent, but a lot of truly excellent people who aren’t in the band. People like the ones who helped us record the EP, everyone who comes to our shows — that’s what keeps us going.
CL: How did Second Dam develop such a loyal following?
ZJ: It definitely has a lot to do with Ithaca and its huge music scene: Most people here generally enjoy music. It’s a great place, lots of awesome venues and people love to get out and have the experience of good music and friends.
KW: I don’t know why, but I’ll take it! Our very first following was at TC Lounge, at their open mic nights on campus. It was where we got our first audiences. People started telling other people, and then we started playing on The Commons at 21+ clubs like Culture Shock. Then we won the Battle of the Bands, which gave us the opportunity to open for the Wailers.
CL: How has Ithaca College and the Ithaca community helped Second Dam to succeed?
KW: Ithaca is a great community that let us be what we are. For that, we thank everybody. We really want you to keep coming out to shows. There will never be a point when we don’t play in Ithaca. Whether we really take off or crash, this is home to us.
ZJ: One of the things that keeps us going is seeing the same faces at different shows or having people sing our lyrics back to us — amazing.
Second Dam’s EP “This Guy” is available for download or order at http://seconddam.bandcamp.com.