This past Saturday, Seconds Before Sleep celebrated the release of their first EP, More Daring Than Fate, at the Fine Line Music Cafe. I was not only lucky enough to be invited to the show, but was also able to interview the guys after the show.
They played with Sarah Kotner, Standard Thompson and American Revival – all great accompanying bands, but Seconds Before Sleep was certainly the the star of the evening. As soon as the band took the stage and began setting up their equipment, the dance floor filled up with fans eager to hear the new songs – songs that many already knew the words to.
The band opened with “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” which played nicely with the season without becoming kitschy. The band, in this manifestation, is relatively new – although many of the band members have played together for years, Seconds Before Sleep only came together in the past few months. Considering that, it is almost shocking that they have already signed with Garden State Records and released a polished EP (granted, most of the songs were originally written by Michael Shynes before the band formed). However, this band doesn’t sound like they are new kids on this block – their sound comes together beautifully, their presence on stage feeds off of one another (rather than trying to outshine), and they have a rapport that speaks to the friendship they share.
They are also intensely aware of how lucky they are to have come this far. They seem struck with awe when talking about their fans – not only the friends and family who have supported them through their entire journey, but also the new faces in the crowd that simply heard something on the internet and showed up for the show.
I mentioned before that Seconds Before Sleep has surprisingly thoughtful lyrics – that certainly comes through live, but I was surprised by how danceable their music was – and the entire audience was getting into that groove. It certainly helped that the guys were able to call out many fans by name and do personal dedications. Korey Garvey, in particular, stood out on stage, despite generally standing in the corner. He’s the newest (and youngest) band member – Michael found him through an ad on Craigslist. He’s only 18, but plays guitar incredibly well – and when he lists his musical influences, you could be forgiven for thinking that he is far wiser than his age.
When asked what fans should take away from More Daring Than Fate, Michael indicated that he wants people to look beyond their current circumstances – beyond what life, people, or simply fate wants to dictate you should do. In a nutshell, the band hopes that their music will inspire people to follow their dreams – even the wild, unreasonable ones.
Michael is clearly the leader of the band, but Seconds Before Sleep is not a one-man show. Everyone was adamant that Nathanael Raway on the keys was absolutely crucial to the band’s sound (a sentiment I would agree with – unlike many pop rock bands, the keys are featured loud & clear both live and on the EP). Adam Hrtanek is the group’s bassist – he’s been playing with Michael for years and seems to be the group’s funny man (he’s also got a fan following of his own – one of his fans pulled me aside during the show and sang Adam’s praises for a solid five minutes). Finally, Jesse Matilla plays the drums and is the group’s solid, responsible support (as evidenced by his committed presence at the merch table, interacting with fans).
In sum, Seconds Before Sleep have put together a solid, upbeat pop rock EP. Beyond that – they are a great group, earnestly grateful for the opportunities they have achieved so far while still maintaining the ability to laugh at themselves. Their next steps include slowing down just a bit and writing an album together. After sitting down with these guys, that’s something I would very much like to hear.
You can purchase More Daring Than Fate through iTunes or at one of their live shows. Of course, if you’d like to take a listen first, you can check them out at their website, www.secondsbeforesleep.com.