Describing melodic hardcore as “catchy” might raise a few eyebrows, but Chicago newcomers Second Wind have achieved just that with their heavy, yet melodic sound.
The duo of Dane Pope (vocals) and Brad Johnson (drums) are on a mission that goes deeper than their catchy sound, with lyrics that portray carefully-crafted journeys of self-reflection, appreciation for life, questions about painful problems, and struggles with today’s moral issues.
Our first taste of this is debut single Gratitude , which was released in July and promises plenty given the band isn’t even complete yet.
Gratitude opens up with a low-tuned riff with bigger guitars coming in alongside big screamed vocals. It drops into a big opening verse of screamed vocals and pounding drums, then stabbing high-pitched guitars give way to a screamalong, more melodic chorus “Don’t let the dust of life choke out your dreams, Make something greater than this moment, I’ll rebuild everything that I am, Everything I can be from the ground up.”
Big doomy drums come in amid a mass of heavy guitars, which feed into another melodic chorus led by Dane’s vocals that end on a big guttural scream. Lighter guitars come in, then almost spoken vocals “Life may be painful, The world may be hard, But through each other we rise” give way to a cool melodic section of high-pitched guitars supported by chords, which give way to a final blast of the chorus. Give it a listen in the video below:
We had a chat with Brad to find out more about their debut single and what’s to come from the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are Second Wind?
BJ: “Second Wind is two friends who love melodic hardcore, and want to make a lasting difference in this scene. We’re from the western and northwestern suburbs of Chicago, IL. Dane and I played in one band together back around 2012, but didn’t talk frequently after for a number of years due to so much going on in our lives.
“Dane also moved to Colorado to pursue a work opportunity. Those years shaped us into better and more determined versions of ourselves. After Dane moved back from Colorado, he was the first person I thought of regarding this new band.
“The story behind the band’s name is about going after your dreams with all you’ve got. Too often, we allow our dreams to be stunted or altogether wasted by succumbing to circumstantial failures. I’ve known that I’ve wanted to be a full-time musician since I was 16. So for me, the chance to start again with a new band and fresh vision was a ‘second wind,’ hence the name. Dane and I also love a lot of the same music, so that never hurts!”
GR: You just released your debut track Gratitude. What’s the reception been like and what should people be expecting from the song?
BJ: “Indeed! We are so thankful for the early support. Gratitude is a great representation of some of our favorite musical styles, with a bit of our own taste thrown in. From my earliest times thinking about our sound, Second Wind has always been about catchiness. Dane and I love performing live, and I knew our music had to be exciting but simple enough, such that we could play as passionately as we want while on stage.
“Life is short, and playing music you love with friends you love ought to be the time of your life! Thusly, Gratitude is aptly named – the concept behind it is to not let anything stand in the way of pursuing meaning in life, and it’s our token of thankfulness back to those listening.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
BJ: “Lively, catchy, and all about memorable melodies. We hope and aim for our choruses and riffs to be stuck in listeners’ heads, long after listening to our songs. If we see your head nodding and bobbing, we’ve done our job!”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
BJ: “That’s a great question – and difficult, only because there are so many influences! Dane and I definitely draw from as many real-life experiences as we can. Life is an uphill battle for everyone, and if we’re willing to take our struggles and turn them into artistic expressions, the catharsis that ensues is fantastic.
“Specifically, I’ve spent the last few years observing my generation in light of the myriad technological and cultural changes we’re currently going through. What seems to be happening is people are committing to responsibilities less often and later in life, and this is causing people to wonder why their lives feel so empty. As it turns out, responsibility is a beautiful thing, and it’s the pathway to individual and communal significance. Without personal responsibility, it’s easy to get trapped in all sorts of addictions and setbacks.
“One of our goals as Second Wind is to come alongside each listener, and – in a manner that shows we’ve been through many of the same struggles – present thoughts artistically that lift them up. A meaningful life comes about through working on yourself and working with others, and lyrically we try to describe that with accuracy and hope.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
BJ: “Dane’s favorite bands are In Flames, The Ghost Inside, Protest the Hero, Periphery, and Within the Ruins. My favorite bands are August Burns Red, Killswitch Engage, Unearth, Cloudkicker, and Hammock.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
BJ: “We’re working as efficiently as possible on our debut EP, Indispensable. Our good friend Kevin helped us with it, and our engineer Scott is wonderful to work with, as well. It will be five songs of pure catchiness, hardcore riffin’, and lyrics all about moving the needle forward in life.
“Soon after that’s done, we hope to have rounded out the full band, so we can continue growing our core fanbase and playing shows.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
“Firstly, thanks for checking out Gratitude! Secondly, we maintain an email list we’d be honored for you to join. We offer sneak previews of songs, free merch, and much more through this channel – and it’s all exclusively for you. We’re very close to releasing our next single and we may be offering that track free for subscribers, hint hint!”