Second Dam performing at the State Theatre in early-September. (Durst Breneiser Photography)

Ithaca, N.Y. — After over 50 shows, one EP, one album, and countless rehearsals, the Ithaca College-based band “Second Dam” is finally nearing the end of its journey.

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The sextet of current and former Ithaca College students has been at the forefront of Ithaca’s music scene since its inception in February 2012. Its members, however, now say the project is coming to an end within the next year.

Second Dam rehearses in Ithaca College’s Whalen School of Music, where they’ve rehearsed since they started playing together. (Kyle Friend/Ithaca Voice)

Despite the eventual separation of the group, a final album by the spring — accompanied by a summer tour — is on its way, said KC Weston, vocalist for the band.

The final album will be recorded just outside of Ithaca, the band said. Before that happens, though, the band plans on playing a multitude of shows wherever they’re able to.

“We’ve all grown a lot as musicians,” said Weston. “It’s been quite a journey for us … The journey still isn’t over even though there is a theoretical end in sight.”

The group is disbanding for several reasons — “Logistics, locations, goals and careers — stuff like that,” Weston said. Three members have already graduated and the remaining three members become alumni after this school year.

Before they were known as “Second Dam,” Weston, Zack Jones (guitarist) and Kayla Sewell (cellist and ukelele player) performed at Ithaca College open mic nights with a few other students.

Weston had previously asked PJ Scott, current bassist, to join the project, but he said that he was unsure due to the time commitment. “But then he came and saw us play,” Weston said.

Scott, along with violinist Brian Schmidt, and drummer Andrew Weir, went to one of their shows. “He was like, ‘just kidding, I want to be in the band,’” Weston said of Scott.

Second Dam performing at the State Theatre in early-September. (Durst Breneiser Photography)

Shortly after seeing that show, Schmidt and Weir took the places of two members that had left the project. Scott joined shortly afterwards, and thus, Second Dam was born.

Over their almost three years together, the band’s sound has evolved, said Weston.

“We’re not just teaching each songs other anymore,” she said of the band that once opened for “The Wailers,” the band that was once led by frontman Bob Marley.

“I think we’ve gotten a lot better at being creative together and writing together, which has made our music more complex in itself. Everyone has grown in their own way,” she added.

From left to right – guitarist Zack Jones, cellist Kayla Sewell, vocalist KC Weston, bassist PJ Scott, violinist Brian Schmidt, and drummer Andrew Weir. (Courtesy Second Dam Facebook page)

Band members cite a variety of different artists as influencing their musical creations — from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Fall Out Boy, to alt-J, to James Blake — but drummer Andrew Weir said that he has no idea what to call the genre they play.

“If someone has a suggestion,” he said, “we’re open.”

On Nov. 8, Second Dam will take the stage with Burlington, Vermont-based “funk and soul-hop” group “Smooth Antics,” along with Josh Rollin, an Ithaca College student.

“We’re trying to put together a set that will appeal to everyone there,” Weston said of the upcoming show at The Nines in Collegetown. “We’re also being joined by people themselves who are really, really fantastic musicians — it’s gonna be a good time.”

The Collegetown bar will host the band’s “Indie Gogo Launch Party” — the band is using the crowdfunding website to fund their new album, which is yet to be named, but will likely be released on CD and digital formats.

Weston performs with Second Dam at the Nines earlier this year. (Courtesy Second Dam Facebook page)

But before their time together comes to close, the band is looking to play as many shows as possible with an ultimate goal of performing at the 25th installment of Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance.

“We are very strongly aiming for it,” said Weston of the annual pilgrimage of music-lovers in Trumansburg. “Since this is our last year, we’re really going in for it.”


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Kyle Friend

A senior at Cornell University, Kyle covers the affordable housing crisis for the Ithaca Voice. Reach him through e-mail: kyleafriend@gmail.com.