I was recently able to share a few words with front man Drew Champion of the up and coming DC Punk band The Split Seconds, (Altercation Records) and below is what he had to say about the year gone by.
DS: Hey Drew from what I understand 2018 has been a hell of a ride for you and The Split Seconds, please tell us all about it.
Drew: Well I guess I’ll start with our newest release which came out in March and we called “Counterfeit Reality.” Musically and lyrically it’s a bit darker, broader, and more aggressive than our first release. The response from fans and media has been overwhelmingly positive, I mean we’re really surprised how much national and international press we got with this one. And Travis and JT at Altercation Records really get where we’re coming from and where we want to go and have been great about helping us stay on track and keep moving forward. We’ve been really pleased with how we’re received here in the States. At every show we play there are more and more people singing along to all the songs and occasionally people who come up to us afterwards and say they’d never heard us before but we’ve turned them into fans. There was a Scotsman named Pete who came all the way to DC from Scotland for our release show, and we’ve had some fans in Scandinavia reach out to us as well. We’re hoping to take our DC punk rock on the road for a worldwide tour in the next few years but as of now we’re still working stiffs doing what we can to make this band happen and make rent at the same time (Laughs)
Photo by Daniele Cannistra.
DS: I’ve see The Split Seconds name literally everywhere this year, tell us about some of the shows and fests you did this year.
Drew: Oh god where do I begin? When I started The Split Seconds I never thought we would do more than play a few shows in DC. Playing Warped Tour this year was so far beyond what I thought we would accomplish that I’m still a little surprised by it. The biggest props go out to our friends in Sharptooth who we met playing little basement shows in Maryland a few years ago. We saw them every day and they absolutely dominated. We didn’t get to meet Kevin Lyman the week we played unfortunately but we did get to talk to our personal favorites The Interrupters, and Alex was a total fanboy when he met the guitarist from Simple Plan. It was adorable…We came off Warped Tour with a lot of confidence. Our style of music goes against the trend of punk rock over the last decade or so which has been heavily influenced by screamo and metalcore. But the audience response at Warped showed us that there is a real appetite among punk fans for something more stripped-down and more genuine. And we’re happy to deliver.
We also got to return to Fest in October and that was a blast. The first set we did was a cover set of The Living End. Chris Cheney from The Living End is one of my biggest influences and as far as I’m concerned they’re some of the best musicians and artists to ever play punk rock. It was a great opportunity for us to grow as a band and have fun playing some really top notch songs. Turns out a bunch of guys from The Menzingers and Red City Radio were in the audience so I hope our covers weren’t too messy, we love both those bands and hope we made a good impression! Our second set was our original material and it was awesome to have a bunch of unfamiliar faces in the crowd singing along to every line. Knowing that your music has really resonated with somebody is the biggest reward and the reason we persevere.
DS: In preparing for this interview I found a massive amount of press links to examine, but really I’d like to know how you feel about what seems to be a whirlwind of a year for The Split Seconds, give us the good the bad and the ugly, I am sure it has been somewhat overwhelming both in a really good way but also in a “lesson learned never do that again” way, maybe a funny anecdote?
Drew: Yeah honestly since the band began it feels like we’ve just been going nonstop. It’s been completely overwhelming at times but overall really positive. 2018 was the year that we felt like we had solidified something and made our mark as a band to keep an eye on. A lot of little memories stand out like when we were running late to open for The Menzingers in New York and I had to piss in a water bottle in the back of our van as Sean darted through traffic at 90 mph. Or when Alex was really drunk and shirtless wandering the streets of Kingston NY in a blanket that he somehow found. Or when I couldn’t sleep before our first Warped Tour set so I was sitting on the floor of the Econo-Lodge bathroom practicing guitar solos. These memories and a million more.
We’ve made a lot of small mistakes. Like forgetting power cables for our original set at Fest or finding out at the last minute you can’t rent a van with a debit card. We’ve played shows to empty rooms, we’ve played messy shows, and there are parts of songs I’m not thrilled about, but overall we’ve just stayed focused on taking the next little step and that’s been really good for us, overall I wouldn’t change it though, both the good and not so good experiences have made for a really great and memorable year and like you said “Lesson learned”
Photo by Peter Sigmund.
DS: I have also had several video links forwarded as well, I don’t think I have seen a band as prolific as The Split Seconds when it comes to releasing video’s. are you or one of you a film graduate? I liked them all honestly, but really liked the one for “Little Lizzie Icepick” and how it showed you all having fun on the road…Please tell us about your music videos, and any little story that our readers may like.
Drew: We like to release videos because it gives us a chance to reach a lot more people than we would with playing shows alone. We have good director friends Sherwyn Santos and Megan Wilson who do a lot of filming for us without breaking the bank, and Jeff Tamboia has done a bunch of work for us through Altercation Records. Little Lizzie Icepick was shot by Jeff Tamboia who was on the road with us for a quick run through Philly, NYC, and Upstate NY. Just capturing us being goofballs on the road. The Everybody’s Wrong video shoot was wild. We shot part of it in DC running around Capitol Hill in places where homeland security is patrolling and would have confiscated the video equipment if they caught us. So there was a lot of running away from patrol cars and black SUV’s between takes. Then we did some filming near Dupont Circle which is one of the fancy neighborhoods in DC and the residents were none too happy with the snotty punk rock blaring out of little speakers in their alleyways late at night. You can catch me giving a digital response to one of the hecklers at some point in the video. Looking forward to doubling down on the video releases next year.
DS: Now tell us how stoked you are to be going to Punk Rock Bowling in 2019. You must be thrilled?
Drew: Oh man! Punk Rock Bowling is a really big deal for us. We’re going to be playing with a bunch of our heroes including Rancid, Refused, The Hives, The Damned, Dead Boys, and a whole lot more. We’ll be there with our brilliant new bassist Derek Evry and I’m expecting our performance is going to be on the next level. People should definitely grab their tickets now because it’s going to be a great great festival, and really we are so so stoked for this I really don’t have the words, all I can do is say thank you to Travis and JT from altercation for asking for the spot, and Mark Stern for saying yes to having us, and I know he’ll probably be busy but I really hope he can catch our set and we can come back again in 2020.
DS: Thanks for sharing Drew, is there anything you’d like to add before we say goodbye?
Drew: Just thank you for the interview Kelly, we are big fans of what you do at Dying Scene, and hope to see everyone at PRB in May if you make it please come see us, or at any one of the many many cities we’ll be visiting next year.