SCAD Radio got the chance to chat with Second Death ahead of their performance at The Space Station at Starlandia Supply.
The Valdosta band is born of the ashes of Beware the Neverending and is playing some crushing hardcore music. The band has been growing very quickly and played in Savannah following a tour with Born a New and ahead of regional performances with Chelsea Grin and the Make Florida Mosh Again festival supported their first album, Casket.
Here’s a look at our interview with all of Second Death.
Kush with SCAD Radio: So for someone looking to get into your band’s music, what would you say is a good introduction to the music of Second Death?
Bobby Stratton from Second Death: Probably our first single. It’s called “Claim Culture”.
Giovanni Casanova from Second Death: I’d probably say “Foundation” because it has that intro, it has blast beats in it, it has the ending breakdown which is heavy, it has a little bit of everything.
Bobby Stratton: You know, that kind of reminds me of “Claim Culture”.
Clark Gargan from Second Death: So, we’ll just say “Foundation” and “Claim Culture”.
Kush: I know lots of people might be familiar with your old project, Beware the Neverending. What would you say are the biggest differences between that and Second Death?
Clark Gargan: We’ve grown. It’s more mature.
BS: Beware sucked.
Giovanni Casanova: I wasn’t a part of The Next Level, so I actually kind of liked it.
BS: That’s actually kind of weird because Clark and I were in the band when The Next Level came out. You were listening to it. Randy and Christian were listening to it too.
GC: I liked it but the moment I joined, everything just kind of went to s–t. [laughs] We have to agree there.
BS: With Second Death, honestly I feel that it’s a lot more professional. It just feels a lot more well done. Better. Smarter. When we started Beware, I think we all thought we knew what we were doing, but we definitely did not know what we were doing. Second Death was like, “Here’s the game plan. Let’s do it the right way. Let’s be smart about it.” We’re actually taking it like a job now, like a career. There’s a huge difference between being serious and not being serious about a band. I think now everyone in the band is a lot more serious. The biggest difference is professionalism and commitment.
K: I know you guys just released a new album, and I really love it, but I have to ask what lies in the near future for Second Death?
CG: More music.
BS: We’re already working on new music. Lots more merch.
GC: Music wise, I think it’ll definitely go in a better direction. Adding Randy to the band is definitely helpful. We already had grooviness.
BS: I’m just old and decrepit. It’s just time for me to never write again. I think it’d be cool having young people write, compared to the old guys. We’re still stuck in the Beware days a little bit.
CG: Our plans are just to write, record, and tour to support this record as much as possible.
BS: I know we’re taking a few months off to play regional shows with bands like Chelsea Grin and in festivals, but definitely more touring. Lots of touring.
GC: Should be recording a single pretty soon.
BS: At least a single. Also might be doing a compilation pretty soon with some tri-state bands. It’s about being nerdy and playing stupid songs that you know you’re going to get ratted on for listening to.
Christian Snow from Second Death: It’s like a guilty pleasure cover compilation.
CG: It won’t be any heavy music or anything, it’ll be something out of left field.
K: Was there anything that was very different in recording this newest album as opposed to your work in the past?
CG: New vocalist. We were also sitting on the music forever.
GC: We didn’t go to a person who actually records music.
BS: We didn’t go to an “industry man”. We actually just went to a friend. He had never recorded a band before. He had never done any of that. You can kind of tell that in the recording, but we needed time to do it ourselves instead of the pressure of having to have it done. It was very organic in how we would record. It was done in my house for the most part or at their house. It felt a lot less stressful this time around musically. The vocals were a little bit more stressful as we have never recorded our own vocals before. Less stressful and more stressful in different ways. I think it made more sense for us.
K: So you guys put on really, really great shows and I’m very excited to see you tonight. What do you guys do in order to retain the high energy and brutal nature of your music to the live performance?
GC: I got this from the lead singer of Dark Sermon, Johnny Crowder. We played a show with him in Jacksonville, and we had done it but we had never done it to that level. We started doing it lately and I kind of have to remind the band. Because even if you’re playing to 2 or 3 people — Johnny Crowder and his band always went all out. If it’s 2 or 3 people or hundreds of people, they always put on the same show because those people paid to see that show. It doesn’t matter how many people came, somebody came to watch you play. Once he told me that, it made a lot of sense. Sometimes we might play a show and there’s not that many people there as opposed to a show where this is a s–tton of people at, but you can’t just give up and half-a– your performance. Because that’s what they will remember.
BS: But where it’s an intimate setting where there’s only a couple people, that’s almost better in my opinion. Those 3 people are definitely getting one hundred percent of your energy and attention. You have to be able to give your all no matter what. If it weren’t for the rest of the band, it definitely wouldn’t feel the same way. We definitely feed off of each other really well on stage.
K: I know you guys play all over the country and you guys have been in Savannah a few times. How would you say playing in Savannah is different from all the other places that you have you played?
BS: The Tri-State Area (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) is the hardest, most terrifying, receptive, fun, energetic, just monstrous group of people in the whole freaking world.
Christian Snow: If every scene was how the Tri-State was, it would be a much more booming business.
CG: People take public transportation to shows. People will drive a few hours to go to shows. Down here, even though it’s the same amount of time, people don’t take the effort. We have friends that will drive many hours, but it’s not like that for every show. Mixed genre shows down here don’t do well, compared to up north. We played a sold out show in Philadelphia on this tour, and there was an emo band that opened up, two hardcore bands, and three metal ones. And everybody stayed around for every single band.
GC: Every single band got love.
CG: The Tri-State Area is one where if they know you’re putting in your hardest work, they’ll put on for you. It’s the most rewarding place to play.
CS: They also go to shows just to go to shows. If you go back to 2012, the music scene down here was booming. The kids actually came out, kids supported everything. Sweet Melissa’s stopped booking shows and it destroyed the Savannah scene. It killed it.
BS: Savannah used to be our honeypot. Some of our best shows were in Savannah. Still one of our biggest shows — period — was in Savannah. It’s harder now in Savannah. Time’s changed, music tastes have changed a lot. But that’s the lesson that can be learned from Savannah. It’s not all about playing metal. Like, when I’m listening to music I’m listening to like Halsey or Biggie or something old. That’s what the Southeast can learn. It’s not all about metal or hardcore. Bands are putting in time and effort and money into playing in front of music and most of the time it’s small shows and you’re playing in front of small crowds. But the Tri-State really respects that.
GC: Savannah’s still good.
BS: Yeah, we’re not putting anything against that. It’s just they could learn a lot from Tri-State.
K: What are your goals with Second Death going forward?
BS: To tour as much as possible.
GC: I think the biggest goal for anybody in a band is to get as big as the biggest band out there. Why wouldn’t you want to be as big as Bring Me the Horizon? Why wouldn’t you want to be as big as Metallica?
Randy from Second Death: I understand that a band that screams like we do will ever be as big as Metallica, but the whole thing is just to get big.
GC: Yeah, like why not?
BS: Why would you do this s–t if you don’t want to do it.
GC: And I mean, I’m not saying we don’t enjoy it. I mean the moment I joined this band and went on tour and played a couple shows I told myself, “That’s it. That’s all I want.” I’ve already made it in life. The money’s not there, but I’m happy. And now that’s starting to happen. The money is starting to come in.
BS: For me, it’s also about putting a message out there. I’m new to being a vocalist, so for me it’s about saying something. Now I can do it with my music. I can say what I feel and try to get points across. I’m at a point where I want to make a living out of it or even just where I can still have money even when I’m not at my job at home. We’ve been lucky. The last 3 or 4 tours we got paid while on tour, and that’s ridiculous that we’re making money on tour.
GC: Back in the Beware days, I’d come back from tour and I’d be like, “Crap, my next paycheck is going to be $10.” I’d have to go through my phone and call people and be like, “Mom, I won’t have this for you this month. Next month I’ll pay you double.” But I don’t do that anymore. Now I pay 2 months ahead!
BS: That’s called success! It’s nice for me too, because I’ll get off tour and be like, “Nice! I’m getting a paycheck.” It’s different for me because I grew up in a poor, poor, poor, dirt poor family. My mom and dad might make $2000 together — if that. So none of us ever had that much money. But now that I’m 32, it’s like, “Wow I’m making money touring.” Like how nice is that? I guess that sounds kinda cocky, but it’s nice to support yourself doing music.
GC: I can’t wait until it’s full time.
BS: What if we tour 6 months of the year and make so much money that we can sit at home and play Rocket League the rest of the year? [laughs]
Stay tuned to scadradio.org for more interviews and music news.