When you get to the party and your friend hands you the AUX cable, you'll likely want to immediately blast the Secret Weapons EP, which came out last year. It's a rare occasion when a band's first four songs are all fun, party-worthy and undeniably catchy. If you had the chance to see the boys open last summer for Panic! At The Disco, Weezer, or Fall Out Boy, then you'll know that the energy of this synth-rock duo is more than infectious, to put it lightly.
With Secret Weapons' freshly reimagined rock sounds drenched ever so delicately in '80s vibes, the four songs on the self-titled EP are undoubtedly the ones I play when I need to be put into a good mood. I played the EP for a friend recently, and the immediate response was, "Wow, I would have roller skated the SHIT out of these songs"–the might quite possibly be the most accurate response I've ever heard.
I won't harp on the fact that these guys spent the first part of their career working normal nine-to-five jobs, secretly making music right under L.A. Reid's nose–in the legal department at Epic records, but it's safe the say their secret is now out for everyone to hear.
But what's next for Danny Rocco and Gerry Lange isn't all fun and games, as they explore a darker side of their inherent talent to write hits. As they release their first single from their upcoming full length album, it's clear to see that the boys are digging deeper. While the earlier songs had Steve Winwood and Go West's influences trickling off of them, "Ghost" appears to put on display inspiration from their soul side. Gerry's vocal mixes a gospel influence with the pop perfection of an early Michael Jackson, while the lyrics call out a universal present-day feeling: "just a ghost inside the shell."
Don't go pointing fingers and call them "pop" though, as the genre box is not something Danny and Gerry will sit inside of without a fight. One listen to "Ghost" and attempting to define the boys will fly out the window, as you fall into the groove of that soulful sax with no way out. Read more about Secret Weapons in our Q&A below.
OTW: Your EP was released last year - how does "Ghost" sound different than the songs we've heard from you before?
SW: "Ghost" sounds quite a bit different than the EP. We embraced the darker and more percussive elements of our personalities that we’ve been wanting to develop for a long time. We wanted to tell a specific story through a song that sounded how New York feels at night.
OTW: You guys have a weird discovery story–can you please explain how "Something New" was recorded/released and discovered by LA Reid?
Gerry: We recorded this big song in a tiny studio apartment on the lower east side. It was around 2am on a Tuesday morning when we tracked the outro to the last chorus. We sat down for a second and thought, "Wow, we really have something here." Danny was working at Sony at the time and a few of his co-workers knew he was in a band. One let it slip to L.A. Reid that a song was trending high on the viral charts, and the rest was history.
OTW: You toured a bit with Weezer and Panic! At the Disco–what kind of surreal moments have you had up until this point?
SW: Playing to tens of thousands of people in a stadium or raceway is always a surreal experience. It’s a high we’re constantly chasing.
OTW: What is your favorite tour story so far? Does anyone do anything weird on tour like snore really loud or get lost constantly?
SW: Our drummer snores; he’s really good at it. One time we were driving through the night from Southern California to North Dakota and a semi-truck grazed the entire side of van at top speed. Took the mirror right off. A few more inches to the right, and we wouldn’t be here. Can’t say it’s our favorite story but it’s one we like to remind ourselves of often.
OTW: You played Firefly festival recently, and last year you did Lollapalooza and a bunch of others–what is your favorite part about playing at festivals?
SW: It’s amazing to see everything and everyone at once. On tour, there’s a tour bus or two–but showing up and seeing so many different artists in one place carries a special sort of “first day of school” excitement. Especially if it’s someone you grew up worshipping.
OTW: Your fans came up with the name of the fan club, the "DanGer" Team (Danny + Gerry = DanGer). Can you please explain how that came about and how/when you found out about it?
SW: We always wanted to start a team and tweeted out asking for name ideas. It’s one of the responses that came in, and we thought it was hilarious and super clever, so we gave them our blessing on it and they went to town.
OTW: You recently rewarded fans by sending out personalized videos for signing up for the DanGer Team–how many of those did you end up making?
SW: Almost 400..It took days…
OTW: Did you receive any weird notes from any of your fans who signed up? What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever done for you (in-person or on social media)?
SW: Yes, but we take our fans' weird secrets to the grave. I’d say the “weirdest” thing is any time someone does a cover of our song. It’s pretty surreal the way some people can reinterpret something that’s so fixed in stone for us, and it always takes us by surprise.
OTW: What other perks are involved with being on the DanGer team? Where can people join if they still want to be a part of it?
SW: Our site www.secretweaponsofficial.com. We send out tons of personal vids and shit that we would probably never post.
OTW: What else can we look forward to from the rest of the album? Will we hear everything on the SW spectrum from pop to rock to robot sounds breathing?
SW: We really dug deep on this album. We wrote dozens and dozens of songs that simply did not bear our souls enough and selected only the ones that really said what we want to say. We hate taking that process and reducing to some genre. We’re sick of indie, alt, pop, whatever… If you ask, we’ll call ourselves a "rock band." Bands are all we’ve ever known.
OTW: I know you guys sometimes record in rooms under pillow forts and things to get the sounds you want–what's the weirdest set up you've done for a recording?
SW: We did not have a microphone one time, so we took a pair of headphones, reversed them and turned the speakers into a microphone, then sang into the headphone ears to record a part.
OTW: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
SW: Tons of music, and as many shows as we can possibly play.
OTW: Who are your Ones to Watch artists?
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