(Photo Credit - Tanner Deutsch)
We interviewed Sawyer John Estok, lead singer and rhythm guitar player for the Nashville, TN rock band Secondhand Sound! These guys are up and coming, and have a great sound that will have you on the edge of your seat. Check out what Sawyer had to say in our interview!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it? "I was 11 at the start of 6th grade in 2011. I had just discovered Led Zeppelin for myself and at the same time kind of discovered girls. I had a history teacher named Mr. Farbman that would play guitar for the class a lot and he encouraged me to start picking it up when he’d see me show up in various band tees. I also had a fat crush on a girl in that class. I announced to everyone in the room that by the end of the semester I’d learn the intro to Stairway To Heaven. Nobody believed me. I did it. Got the girl. The guitar stuck around a lot longer. And almost exactly 10 years later, here we are!" 2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music? "Throughout the day I’ll get a little phrasing idea or a conceptual idea, sometimes maybe just a title. In a separate setting while I’m practicing guitar alone I’ll find little riffs and chord changes I like and record voice memos of them. Then once I’ve compiled enough of both lyric/song ideas and music ideas I’ll put phrases over chords until I find a good melody. Eventually there comes a point where I have to ask myself “what am I trying to say.” Once I decide exactly what the point of the song is, the work part comes where I’ve gotta tell a story that has the feeling I’m going for in the confines of a song structure. That process sometimes takes a year and sometimes takes 30 minutes. The feeling is the most important thing to me. I know what I don’t like and what I really like, it’s just a matter of going through ideas, combing them, coming up new ones, bringing back old ones, etc. etc. Never a predictable experience!" 3. What artists have inspired you in your career? "All the greats of course! Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Van Halen, Nirvana etc. When it came to the realization that I could actually make a go of it, bands like Cage The Elephant, Paramore, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys and The Killers were the big five that really inspired me to move down to Nashville and make it happen. Individually the frontmen/women. Matt Shultz, Hayley Williams, Caleb Followill, Dan Auerbach, and Brandon Flowers are figures I look up to with great admiration." 4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them? "I just bought a Gibson ES-339 that I’ve been loving. I named it Ms. Vanessa after a lady that lived across the street from me growing up. It does everything I want it to for my role in Secondhand Sound. I’m able to sit in the background with the rhythm section when I’m singing and when I want to cut through for certain moments of songs I’m able to. The bridge pickup is something I don’t usually gravitate towards but on this guitar it always gives me exactly what I’m looking for. As far as pedals and amps I switch around all the time! Still haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for but I enjoy the process." 5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show? "Live shows are why the four of us started playing music in the first place. We want our show to be an experience you can’t get unless you come see us live. We want to be the band where people love our records but the also go “but have you seen them live.” Every show is a unique opportunity to absolutely throw a fucking rager that people talk about till they die. Period. That’s what we strive to achieve every time we step on stage." 6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music? "Everything in our songs comes from our real lives. We aim to be as transparent as possible in order to show people that we go through it to and this music can be a way out. “A way out” is the big slogan. Everyone has that kid inside of them who wears the band tee to school and dreams about getting the hell out of wherever they are. Music provided a way out from my life growing up, our aim is to carry the torch and be that for people now and throughout the future." 7. What’s next for you?
"Right now my sights are dead set on the release of this debut record. We have a little more studio time left to finish the record in July. Then it’s time to figure out remaining visuals everything that comes with a release. Hopefully we can manage a tour come fall time. I think we can do it. Regardless this band needs to tour and hard at that. I wouldn’t be surprised if we are out on the road most of next year. That’s the goal after all."