Worldly Sounds: Second Sky is bringing the music to Grounds For Sculpture

By Keith Loria
   Musicians Billy Medina, Wes Dilorio and Bill Lascek-Speakman met while students at Millersville University in Pennsylvania, drawn together by a common love of world music.
   ”We were friends and played music together and just came together as a band in 2006,” Mr. Lascek-Speakman says. “We started working with Rhythm and Culture Music back in 2011 and at that time, we solidified what we were doing creatively to define a sound we felt was our own.”
   With a foundation in trip-hop, the band’s music blends elements of pop, classical Indian music, disco, and other musical genres into a concoction that can best be described as eclectic.
   ”We are essentially an electronic pop group but we have a lot of influences from different types of ethnic music,” Mr. Lascek-Speakman says. “In college, we played together in a Middle Eastern ensemble and our bass player wrote a Middle Eastern piece for our orchestra that we performed senior year. We’re all really influenced by different music from different countries.”
   The band released its first album, Art of Influence, in 2011 and it found good airplay on local college stations.
   ”We started working with the label and we had this great outlet to put out music,” he says. “While we were working on our first album, we decided to add a horn section, so we evolved from three people as a live band to five people.”
   Second Sky’s horn section consists of Todd Fulginiti and Darnell Scott. Additionally, Second Sky regularly employs the talents of friends from home and abroad to contribute to both their studio productions and live performances, including sitar player John Protopapas and vocalist Tina M.
   Although Mr. Lascek-Speakman won’t give away why Second Sky was chosen as the band’s name, he will say that the origins came about after discussing the idea of finding new limitations and new frontiers with his band mates.
   ”People ask us about that all the time but we don’t like to talk about it because we have this love for ambiguity and want people to come to their own conclusions about what things mean,” Mr. Lascek-Speakman says. “It’s the same way we feel about our lyrics. We try to be literal but not too literal.”
   On July 24, Second Sky will perform at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton at the Acer Courtyard as part of the Summer Courtyard Series.
   ”It’s a great atmosphere to be in and experience creativity, checking out art work and listening to the music,” Mr. Lascek-Speakman says. “We’re going to play two sets of original music from our two albums and it’s our first time there, so we are really looking forward to it. I grew up in the area so I will have a lot of family and friends come out, and I think it will be a really festive atmosphere.”
   Mr. Lascek-Speakman hopes for a nice, relaxed environment where he can chat with people about the music and talk about life’s issues and the songs they have written.
   ”We don’t play a lot live, we like to concentrate on studio work, so we try to make it a real treat when we do,” he says. “We’re very selective about the shows we take on. It’s really fun when we get to go out and play since we don’t do it every night, so we try to make it special when we do for anyone who comes out.”
   Second Sky’s latest release, Touching the Surface, applies its early-electronic Bollywood style to intricately arranged pop songs full of Beatles-esque harmonies, but still with the trademark horns and Second Sky style.
   Second Sky recorded its first two albums in a home studio, but will record its next release at the Sugar Tank in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, which has given the band a new avenue of creativity.
   ”Every time we put out a new release, there are certain key elements we keep the same but then things that we try to change,” Mr. Lascek-Speakman says. “Our first album focused more on sort of the ‘world music’ influences, the second album was more classic pop influences and traditional harmonies. We’re excited about what we’ll do next.”
Second Sky will perform at Grounds For Sculpture, 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, July 24, 7 p.m. Tickets cost $18, $15 in advance. For more information, go to groundsforsculpture.org.