WLU students play Warped Tour

For Timmins-born musicians Second Floor Escape, finding out they were slotted for a spot on the Vans Warped Tour was an unexpected surprise.

With bandmates all over the province, including members Dan Dubeau at WLU’s Waterloo campus, Christian Scagnetti at WLU’s Brantford campus and bandmates at three other locations across the province, staying together as a band seemed – at times – like a long shot.

“I think we were losing interest a bit. We didn’t talk much and didn’t have shows,” drummer Luke Leville told The Cord in a conference call interview with the rest of the band.

After playing Warped Tour in Toronto on July 10, he said “things just really picked up and we got a focus again to push for what we want.”

For vocalist and guitarist Mike Alarie, watching the crowd grow as Second Floor Escape got further into their set was a needed thrust forward.

“It helped us realize that the opportunity is available to us, in that we are capable of drawing a crowd like that,” he said.

Vocalist, guitarist and keys player Dubeau agreed. “There were performances at the beginning where the crowd just gradually went down, but with us it was the opposite. We gained people as we went,” he said.

While several bandmates note the growing crowd as their best memory from the tour, Leville laughed, stating that the thing that will always stick out most is the image he saw when the band first arrived.

“My best memory was pulling into the parking lot with the van and just seeing a guy with a greasy Mohawk and ripped-up clothes riding around on a pink mini-bike,” said Leville.

Second Floor Escape also remembers two of their first experiences performing, which both took place at WLU Last Band Standing competitions.

They came in first place in the February show and second place in the final competition. For Second Floor Escape, performing at Wilf’s did not really suit their style of music. “The styles that were there were more of a bar feel,” said vocalist Justin Bouchard.

All in all, he feels that the band came out of the competition with a positive attitude and a lot of great feedback.

The group call themselves “rock experimental” resisting such labels as screamo or hardcore.

While they do incorporate some yelling into their music, Dubeau explains that the majority of it is vocal harmonizing.

For Scagnetti, the group has become more diverse over time. “We used to write really heavy stuff with tons of screaming, stuff that we wanted other people to like,” he said. “But I think now we’re writing music that we just want ourselves to hear.”

Second Floor Escape plans to begin working on their first album in September, so that it will be released in time for Canadian Music Week (CMW) in March. “When we get to CMW and we’re with officials, we can have something to give them,” explained Leville.

While finding time between school and work to get together and play has been a challenge, they hope to experience success beyond Warped Tour.

“We’re hoping that someday soon we can outdo it,” said Leville. “But that’s going to be pretty hard.”