Interview: Seeing Double Breaks Through with “Leah” and “Don’t Wait”

Oneota, New York based rock band Seeing Double

We interviewed Oneota, New York based rock band Seeing Double. Seeing Double are known for building a dedicated fanbase, high energy shows, and their 70s-inspired feel-good grooves mixed with contemporary indie to create a one-of-a-kind sound. Though they only have two tracks currently available on Spotify, and the band formed just a year ago in March of 2021, their track “Leah” has already nearly broken one million streams since coming out on January 28th, 2022.

In this interview, we talk with guitarist/bassist Mike Aaron, frontwoman Allie Sandt, singer Ali McQueeney, and shredder Zach Torncello. Also in the band but not present in this interview is drummer Dylan Travison. In our discussion, we cover our classic icebreaker question: the band’s go-to gas station orders. We also discuss how it feels to see the world get their first taste of Seeing Double, their thoughts on Tiktok, and the inspirations behind the blend that creates their unique sound. Finally, we touch on their double lives as full-time college students, their strategies for carving out their strong base, and the upcoming plans they have on the horizon.

What’s your go-to gas station order?

Mike: Sour Patch Kids and Sprite.

Ali: The $1 Arnold Palmer in a can, and garlic rye chips. You know how Chex Mix has rye chips in it? I get just those. They’re really good. I didn’t know about them until recently and I’m obsessed with it.

Allie: I get a blue Monster and a Hersey almond bar.

Zach: I also get one of those massive Monsters with Allie. She picks it though, because I’m colorblind. And my snack… I don’t know, probably some chocolate covered pretzels because I’m a 40-year-old mom.

Your debut double single ‘Leah’ // ‘Don’t Wait’ was released a month ago. As the world’s first taste of who Seeing Double is, how do these tracks best represent who the band is?

Mike: I think with us, we all have a lot of different musical backgrounds and inspirations, and we all took a little piece of each of us and put it together into those two songs. I think they both represent us musically very well. A lot of time was put into both of them, like the writing process and the recording process. I’m really happy with how they turned out.

Oneota, New York based rock band Seeing Double

Both singles possess their own sound, “Leah” with 70s inspired melodies and harmonies, and ‘Don’t Wait’ with a bit more of an indie rock edge. How does your writing process work as a 5-piece and is the diversity in sound stem from everyone’s mix of input?

Mike: It definitely does. Like I said before, I come from the indie-rock background, and Allie does to an extent. Zach is really into 80s hard rock and metal and blues. Allie, I can’t even describe, she’s like the Fleetwood Mac—

Zach: Allie likes Neil Young.

Allie: So true. Love me some Neil. I was the primary writer on “Leah,” and Mike wrote the guitar part for the bridge. And when we brought it to the band, I feel like I was listening back to some demos that we did originally for it, and the sound of it changed a lot as we all got more comfortable with the song, and I really like how it turned out. It’s really a blend, everyone added their own flare to it.

You posted on Instagram yesterday celebrating one month since the release of “Leah / Don’t Wait.” What emotions did you experience around the release of this track?

Zach: It has been so crazy. I don’t know about you guys, but I didn’t expect us to get even close to our stream count now. I expected a few thousand streams in one month, not a couple hundred thousand streams in one month.

Allie: Leah is over 350 now, it’s crazy.

Mike: I would say it’s really cool, and really exciting, I don’t know about the rest of you… I don’t know about confused, but kind of like, “What is going on?”.

Oneota, New York based rock band Seeing Double

How has the reception to these songs impacted you and changed the way you see the upcoming future for the band?

Allie: I was the first one that started Seeing Double, like got this group of people together, and we all didn’t know each other. We kind of met through Seeing Double. It started off as half cover band, half doing some of my songs. And the way it’s transformed in like not even a year has been really exciting. We’re all taking the future of the band a lot more seriously now, and we’re looking forward to putting out some new music soon and doing maybe a mini-tour for this summer.

Zach: Our fifth member, our drummer Dylan, he’s got food poisoning so he’s not here.

Allie: Next time we do an interview with you guys again, hopefully in the future, he’ll be here.

We’re always curious to know how rising artists navigate platforms like TikTok to get their name out there. As active users of the app, how do you feel about this current outlet for bands like yourself?

Mike: I want to say when the Covid outbreak started in early 2020, I started posting guitar covers and stuff like that. These videos kind of blew up and I wasn’t necessarily putting a lot of effort into it. I see it not only with myself, but the band too, and other artists on Tiktok, I think it is the easiest way to get a fanbase, 100%. I feel like if you’re a young artist, or even a preexisting artist who got started 10, 15, 20 years ago, it’s the easiest way to keep a fanbase going. Because everyone’s on Tiktok.

Oneota, New York based rock band Seeing Double

How do you divide between promotion and being authentic?

Mike: Not really, right?

Zach: I don’t know, you guys running Tiktok versus if I ran Tiktok, totally different.

Mike: You do kind of have to plan it out, you can’t post willy-nilly. You kind of have to take it seriously, but be yourself.

Allie: Doing the band stuff and having fun with it and promotion in general, like reaching out to other bands for opening spots and booking venues for the summer has been stressful because we’re all students, so doing that at the same time and treating both like a full time job has been a lot, but I think it’ll be worth it in the end.

Mike: It’s interesting that you say that, because all of these connections that we’re getting have been through Tiktok. So it’s a great place to network, too.

Zach: I think it’s relatively easy for us to do, because there’s all these jokes about appealing to the algorithm but they’re totally true. If you just do, a few minutes and a long text, it got 400k views and we didn’t even do anything.

Mike: Just brush our teeth.

Oneota, New York based rock band Seeing Double

As students by day and musicians by night, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of fulfilling both roles?

Mike: I think the biggest disadvantage for us particularly is that we all have really different schedules. Not just with classes, but all the other stuff that we do. And even with Seeing Double being the main priority outside of schoolwork, it’s still hard to even get together for an hour a day just to hang out.

Allie: I feel like we were hanging out a lot more last semester for fun, and now it’s been so busy we want to get back to just getting together with all our other friends. But with this, it’s all I can think about.

Mike: I would say that’s a disadvantage, but the advantage is that we can take advantage of the fact that we’re on a college campus. We’re not paying for studio time because there’s a studio here, and theres seven thousand people here who want to hear live music and see bands and party on weekends. It’s not just been an advantage to us, but to the other bands that have sprouted up here. There’s definitely pros and cons to it, you know.

Oneota, New York based rock band Seeing Double

Your Spotify bio mentions how you built a strong fanbase and carved out a reputation in your college town. How’d you go about doing this? What advice would you give to other bands looking to do the same?

Allie: The music community just popped up for real here in the last semester or so. And I think that’s because so many bands realized we could do this in this town and be successful at it because the student body wants stuff to listen to and to do on the weekends. If I had to give advice, I would just say have fun and play what you want to play because there’s going to be an audience for it. Like, we don’t even go to a big school but I know that among the bands that are up here, there’s a lot of different sounds and goals that they have, but they bring crowds every show.

This bio also mentions how your sound is reminiscent of 70s pop-rock— what are some of your 70s influences?

Allie: I feel like I can answer that question, because I’m a big 70s fan. I love Fleetwood Mac, and I was going through a big Fleetwood Mac phase over the summer when I was working on “Leah” which makes sense now. I like Steely Dan. I like Neil Young, if you count that.

Mike: I like Led Zeppelin. Boston is another one I think we’re all kind of into. Definitely the Fleetwood Mac thing and Abba are the evident ones.

Oneota, New York based rock band Seeing Double

What are some of your upcoming plans?

Allie: I’m not gonna give away any dates yet, because I don’t know if I can do that, but I would definitely be on the lookout for some new music from us in the next few months, and over the summer we are definitely planning to hit some of the bigger city areas in the Northeast. Hopefully we’ll be able to make it over to Chicago someday. We are playing a show at The Bitter End June 4th. More details to come, but that’s a venue in the city, so we’re really excited for that one.

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