Episode 036 : Second Nature
Friday, January 7th, 2022
CLINIK: What is the significance of the name Second Nature?
Second Nature: Initially for me the name signified Inspiration at its most deeply rooted level, the visceral not often found touch of source energy that comes as fast as it goes. Sometimes you catch it in a bottle, sometimes lightning strikes twice, & sometimes you can only dream to see a raindrop. As the years have passed, it’s become my metaphorical garden, the fruit has grown, flowers wilted, soil toiled, & so on. It’s my Audio Driven Garden of Weird, Wacky, & Wonky sounds that all are welcome in!
C: How has the NYC scene influenced your outlook on the music industry, if at all?
SS: I started in the rave scene in 2011 going to underground parties anywhere I could find them from Warehouses to VFW’s & Dives. I cut my teeth as a DJ out in the Long Island scene for a couple years playing in between acts at several open mic & featured billing shows. Things really changed around 2017 when there was a shift in the nightlife scene which gave way to opportunity for a rich underground scene to flourish, coming up in that kind of scene where everyones hungry but is ready to share their sides really impacted who I am. Getting to run with the Dubday - NYC crew these past few years really influenced me as well! From open decks to the vast pool of former & current residents, headliners, special guests we’ve had playing locally that are now doing incredible things on National scale has given me a lot passion to continue improving myself on all levels of my mortal self. Shout out to the extended Dubday family that’s too long to list in this interview!
C: On Instagram, you said that your “Washed Up” EP is “a journey of self-discovery and transformation”. What did you hope listeners would take away from the EP?
SS: Washed Up is the start of a 4 part EP series I am currently writing themed around not only the elements but my journey through music & life. I wanted each song to swim through your head from bar to bar, washing over you in an overwhelming deluge of classic bass driven sound with a glimmer from the surface that is oddly ethereal. Water is an element that is both dark & gorgeous, enchanting & enveloping, reflective & mysterious, I hope to have captured these feelings with these songs. For my own side of the story I’m showing you what I have learned & where my head has been while I was partially retired the past few years, the chaos of crashing waves finally settling on the beach with only the horizon left to see. This Water EP is the starting point & sets the tone for the EP’s to come, I hope to have the remaining 3 EP’s released before the end of 2022, on track to have the Fire EP out by Spring.
C: The art for your recent EP “Washed Up” is artistic and funny, featuring you fully clothed in a bathtub. How do you come up with cover art for your releases?
SS: The idea for the album cover came from the idea to take all of my rock bottoms & sludge of the soul, wash them pure through the synapses. When the release date started to loom on me I had been informed that ill be moving out of an apartment thats been within our group of friends for a few years. All these wonderful memories of sunrises & parties juxtaposed with the worst tendencies projected from within myself that I wanted to change. I wanted to sum up this ultimate “Rock Bottom” in a photo set in the bathroom from that apartment littered with stuff found from current & former roommates. Going forward I want to incorporate myself more into my cover art while keeping the “Freaks of Nature” series as a gallery of different visual artists I enjoy.
C: You have performed with live musicians many times in the past, as both BMO and Second Nature. How have these experiences shaped your live performances as well as your approach to producing?
SS: You all have done your research huh? Its always nice when people bring up BMO, reminds me how much I have grown & evolved while still being able to hold true to my core root of having fun above all else. Performing with a band definitely shaped how I structure my drums & how my live sets schmooze along in tempo. BMO was basically a DJ Jam Band where the other guys (Matt Heeb of Echosystem Audio & Russ Benjamin of Chris Ruben Band) sometimes knew what I was throwing at them but made it up along as we went, kept them clue’d in to certain stops, feels, & key signatures but we really flew by the seat of our pants from gig to gig, which is highly exhilarating! Having that live energy has always kept a fire lit under me to get more visceral with how my music is showcased live in Second Nature. Been thinking a lot lately of hitting up the old band for some sessions under the Second Nature name, perhaps 2022 will help manifest this but hey, we will wait & see!
C: What is your preferred DAW and why? What are some of your favorite tools to use for sound design?
SS: Ableton has been with me for many years & I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I like to play with raw audio more than anything so the Warp feature is basically my best friend. Have been getting really into PhasePlant lately thanks to my buddy Waltr, making cool sounds with that some of which you can hear in this mix! I nerd out over mixdowns & getting my sound honed in exactly where I want it. Auto Pan is also something I tend to use a lot to create specific phases for sounds & give a more stereo space where its needed.
C: How does creating a mix for a streaming service such as SoundCloud differ from preparing for a live set?
SS: Curating a mix is a more refined showcase of material I would be playing live. When I approach a live set I like to balance between premiering new material, putting on the homies songs, & mixing that with curated tracks to fit the set depending on set time, other acts, the season, the day, all that special stuff that matters when you are lost in the moment. What I am presenting for this radio session is a drip feed of where my head is at in December 2021 & what its going to grow into beyond 2022!
C: You are a unique artist. What advice would you give to newcomers in the industry who don’t want to hop on trends and want to create their own lane like you have
SS: Don’t follow the rules, don’t drink your milk, & support your local scene like your life depends on it, because your local scenes life does!
C: What has been your favorite live performance to date? Where is one place in the world that you would like to perform some day?
SS: This is a tough one but I’m gonna give you a Top 3 in no particular order, Elements Renegade with The Drop-BK in 2019 is one that always gets brought up to me from people! There was a lot of wild energy being conjured on that cabin. Next, my friends over at Derp Gear brought me out to play their Flow Jam years back, played for close to 13 hours straight, watching people flow from noon till dusk was absolutely magical, challenging as a DJ, & rewarding as an artist of live sound experiences. For the final live performance I would have to pick my most recent Dubday-NYC show in September, was one of the 1st times I had a hand in curating visuals to fit the songs that I was planning to play while also having some of my favorite crowd reactions to my showcase of songs new & old. Plus there is just something special about playing in your home that never gets old! The one place in the world that I would like to perform one day is Holy Ship, that party has always caught my eye & something about playing music in the open sea just sounds exciting.
C: What are some short-term goals that you have for 2022? How do these goals help you achieve your ultimate vision for Second Nature?
SS: Right now I am focused on getting this 4 part Ep series completed in 2022 while also keeping up with the Freaks of Nature series. Ideally by the end of 2022 I would like basically both these EP series to be able to fill their own LP’s with content! Having to ret=start my social media presence is the 1st big hurdle I have to cross that I am on track to do before the Summer starts. Growing my mixing & mastering game, expanding my street team credentials, promoting & event planning, event production, all things I really want to improve & incorporate into Second Nature. The ultimate goal is to be in a position where I can help foster future entertainers in a positive manner while helping to throw events that are catered to expressive & explosive sound around a philanthropic cause. The future has never seemed brighter to me & each day I do a little bit more to get closer to that light.