I got to chat with Declan Hammond and Max Weiner of 12:59 about their music and their plans for the future.
Seamus: Introduce yourselves and let me know what instruments you play and what you contribute to 12:59.
Declan: I'm Declan Hammond and I play keys and sometimes Oboe, but not much for 12:59.
Max: My name's Max and I play guitar, pretty much nothing else.
Declan: Ian's on bass and guitar, then Judah's on mostly guitar, but he also plays bass. Casey's the drummer, and we have a series of vocalists that we switch out.
Seamus: What age did you both become interested in music? How have your music interests changed throughout your life so far?
Max: For me it was like seven years old.
Declan: Personally my interests and style have changed vastly even over the past year and a half. I started out playing classical, and then I really didn't like that, so I went to the School of Rock, and I learned a bunch of "rock technique." Rock technique is in air quotes because there's no such thing as rock technique. But, I learned a lot of the rock ideology and then I started to branch out into Jazz and Funk and all the different crevices of music.
Max: I think that I probably started in classic rock. And I liked it a fair bit. And, I've been doing that for a while, and maybe three years ago right before I started high school, I started getting really into Jazz and got in jazz bands. Right now, I do rock, but I also do quite a bit of Jazz.
Seamus: Who do you listen to?
Declan: Vulfpeck is the shit. David Bowie. A lot of the stuff I write is inspired by David Bowie. Steely Dan.
Max: Steely Dan is one of my favorites.
Declan: Steely Dan is the shit. Uh, what else?
Max: I listen to a lot of Kamasi Washington.
Declan: This dude Cory Henry, he's an organist, so smooth. So fast with his, ahh, so good.
Max: I'm a big fan of Snarky Puppy.
Declan: Michael League is a fuckin genius, the bassist for Snarky Puppy.
Seamus: How did 12:59 start?
Declan: We all go to the School of Rock, which is an afterschool program, so we all started from the same spot. And, we had this shitty little cover band we put together a while ago. It was called Augmented Delight. So terrible.
Max: We played at the Spring Dance, and we just improvised some stuff.
Seamus: Do you have any upcoming shows?
Max: We'll probably be playing Martyr's over Thanksgiving.
Declan: That's not quite confirmed yet, but yeah maybe. We don't have anything right now on the books, but we'll be around.
Seamus: Do you all write your own music?
Declan: We all write lyrics. We all write chords and shit, and melodies. I think our whole concept is collaboration. We don't really have a lead person or a frontman.
Max: We kind of all play equal parts when it comes to writing music and writing lyrics and playing stuff.
Declan: Even within the guitars, like Max plays leads and rhythm, and Judah also plays leads and rhythm and bass. Casey just plays drums.
Seamus: What do you try to share with those who listen to your music?
Max: A lot of the stuff that I tend to write is more about...It's a little bit more metaphorical and it's a little bit like conveying one's own insecurities and kind of one's inner journeys almost.
Seamus: And is a lot of that personal to you?
Max: I think a lot of it mostly came from a place of personal experience, but I can definitely see it impacting a lot of other people.
Declan: Those themes are common throughout most people. People are insecure, people don't feel a hundred percent all the time.
Max: Most people aren't a hundred percent happy or a hundred percent confident in every single thing that they do. There's uncertainty, and that's always gonna be there.
Declan: Also, Ian and I have been working on these lyrics for this tune "Glass Man" and they're more about how we're all kind of flawed and we're all egotistical and shitty, but that ego can be thwarted and we can become better people by being aware of it.
Seamus: Do you have any upcoming projects?
Declan: We'll probably start recording soon. We haven't been recording much recently, but Max has some audio equipment. I have some audio equipment so we'll probably release something soon. Yea, we've just been gigging and playing around.
Max: We have a group of songs that we kind of want to set on the table and kind of just put into an EP or something.
Declan: We don't really have a name right now. It's all kind of ethereal and loose, you know. I think we're all trying to keep gigging, keep playing shows, and getting our name out there.
Debut EP from 12:59, a generally groovy band from Chicago Illinois. Please excuse the clipping/distortion/etc. This entire EP is just a recorded room.
Written-by: 12:59, LaBelle
Vocals: Alexis Walters
Drums: Casey Street
Guitar: Judah Sweig
Bass: Ian Hammond
Keyboards: Declan Hammond
Camera / Mastering: Declan Hammond