Two weeks ago, Bronx-based alternative rock band, Second Child, was crowned the victor of Fordham University’s annual Battle of the Bands. Their prize? Aside from bragging rights, they get to open for The Melker Project, Cartel, and Cold War Kids this Saturday afternoon, as part of a traditional Fordham favorite: the Spring Weekend Concert.
I chatted with Second Child band members Alex DeSimine, GSB ‘15, Alex Tremitiere, NYU ‘16, and Sean Lemkey, FCRH ’14. T.J. Alcala, FCRH ’13 was not present…he was “taking notes” at a Milk Carton Kids concert, according to Lemkey.
Without further ado, here’s your chance to get to know this year’s Spring Weekend Headliner a little better. Spoiler alert: they’re four really chill kids.
Laura: Hey guys, thanks so much for taking the time! First off, what do you each do in the band?
Alex D.: I play guitars and sing.
Alex T.: I play bass and sing.
Sean: I play drums and sing. T.J. plays guitar and sings.
AD: We’re all singers!
L: [laughs] I can see that.
AD: T.J. also plays the accordion. He played it for one of our music videos.
L: So, how did Second Child get started?
AT: Alex and I have known each other since we were 13. We’ve been playing music together for a while.
AD: We had been playing around with a band called Dirty Bird. But, we started to move in a different direction, so we formed Second Child – and here we are!
L: How did you Alexes meet?
AT: We met at School of Rock – it’s like a music program. We got to tour across the world and play music. Plus, we just hit it off and grew close. The band stuff just naturally happened.
L: Cool. How did Sean and T.J. get into the mix?
AT: We found Sean first.
AD: We found him starving on the side of the street. He was playing drums with a trashcan.
S: [laughs] That’s not true at all. My friend, Henry, and I were playing at Rodrigue’s one night, and Alex [DeSimine] came to check us out and was like, “Oh, you guys are actually okay!” We exceeded his low expectations.
AD: What?! Okay, that’s not true. I had no expectations — not low expectations.
S: [laughs] Really, Alex approached us and said he’d love to play with us sometime. One thing kinda led to another, and things just clicked.
L: What about T.J.?
AD: So, Henry had been playing with us for a bit, but, after he stepped out, we needed to fill the guitar void. We’ve known T.J. for a while — we were hanging out the day of Pete Seeger’s passing [January 27, 2014], and we were having a little tribute jam. A bunch of us met up and played some of his songs. Then, we ended up playing some songs by Fleet Foxes, which T.J. and I both love. It was a nice little thing.
L: How would you describe your sound? Who inspires you musically?
AD: I’ve heard people say that we’re somewhere between Radiohead and Fleet Foxes. It’s a great place to be, I think. I’ll take it!
L: Can you give us some background on your band’s name? I’ve heard a rumor that it’s because you’re each the second child in your respective families, but I’ve also heard that’s not true. Help?
AT: Three out of the four of us are second children…not Sean. I guess, when Alex and I had originally thought of [the name], it made a lot of sense – we thought it sounded good. It was also our second band.
AD: Our second baby! It’s our second musical child, if you want to be very straightforward about it.
L: Speaking of multiple musical babies, I noticed that Sean and T.J. were playing in other groups at Battle of the Bands. What was it like competing against yourselves?
S: For me, it was a thrill. I feel like the whole music scene at Fordham is so open and really vibrant. Everybody plays with everybody. It’s a big, communal scene. I really didn’t feel any competitive vibes at all. We’re all just there to make music, and have fun with it. I think there were four or five people at Battle of the Bands in multiple groups.
L: So, it wasn’t awkward at all?
AT: It really was a warm, welcoming space. Since I don’t go to Fordham and I’m kinda removed, I didn’t notice any sort of “ugh, he’s in that band too?” kind of attitude. It was cool.
L: Since you guys have other musicals projects going on, what do you think makes Second Child special?
AD: Where do we start? I’m involved in the Ramblers and other musicals things, but Second Child means the most to me because it comes from us. It’s original music, and we do more than play together – we hang out together. It’s just a bunch of friends creating something awesome. It’s a moving experience…we don’t stand around and cry or anything, but it’s a moving experience.
AT: Plus, it’s what we want to do with our lives. We want to make music for a living.
L: Do you guys write your own songs, or do you play a lot of covers?
AT: We mostly play our own original songs. Well, except for the “Second Sunday” stuff.
AD: “Second Sunday,” you say? Hey, what’s that?!
L: It’s cool. You’re free to make a plug. Take it away!
AD: Thanks! “Second Sunday” is a series we just started. Every other Sunday, we put out a video of us playing a cover, in a sort of re-imagined, make-it-your-own way. I think it’s cool because, when we put out a video, we post three song options for the next video, and people can vote for the next cover we do.
L: That’s a great idea! How can people vote?
AT: They write their choice in the comments, either on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube — wherever they’re watching the video!
L: So, Spring Weekend. Have you guys been practicing a lot for Saturday?
S: Usually, we’re diligent about practicing – at least twice a week. We feel really solid going into this.
AD: Over [Easter] break, we were all kinda doing our own thing, but we’ll squeeze in a least one more practice before the weekend.
L: How are you guys feeling about it in general?
AT: Plus, I heard it’s going to be 66 degrees so…
S: Yeah, let’s hope that holds. This is cheesy as hell, but this has been a huge college dream of mine since my freshman year at Fordham. I’ve always wanted to play Spring Weekend. This is just so awesome.
L: Are you excited to open for Cartel and Cold War Kids specifically? Are you guys fans?
AD: Even if we were opening for bands I’ve never heard of, I’d still be stoked. But, Cold War Kids are fine.
L: [laughs] Just fine?
AT: [laughs] Cold War Kids are super cool. They’ve definitely been in my iTunes playlists for a while now, so that was an added bonus, for sure.
S: I mean, we played Battle of the Bands without knowing who we were opening for. So, we were stoked, no matter what!
L: What can Fordham expect from your performance this weekend? Any surprises?
AD: Lots of nudity.
S: Lots of vulgar language.
L: [laughs] I don’t know if Father McShane would be cool with that.
AD: Father McShane’s not cool with puppies?
L: [laughs] Fair enough. Which songs are you going to play?
AT: We don’t have a definite setlist yet.
AD: We do have a single out online, “Free Again,” which we’ll more-than-likely play on Saturday!
L: And, who wrote that song?
AD: That was me! We write our songs on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes, it’s just one of us, and, other times, it’s a more collaborative effort.
L: Once Spring Weekend ends, what’s next for Second Child?
AT: We’re actually doing a show on May 9th on the rooftop of Sean’s apartment [2466 Hughes Avenue] with a few other local bands. It’s going to be an awesome time and a great way to end the semester.
AD: It’ll be a daytime event — so stop by before you go out for the night!
L: Sounds good! Well, that about wraps it up for me. Thanks so much! Break a leg this weekend!
S: No problem!
AT: Thank you!
Second Child opens for The Melker Project, Cartel, and Cold War Kids this Saturday, April 26. This year’s Spring Weekend Concert festivities start at 12:30pm on Martyr’s Lawn.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly omitted The Melker Project as one of the acts for Spring Weekend 2014.