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Suncoast Post Interview with David Lay, Drummer, and Backup Vocals for the Florida Suncoast Band, “22N”

| Sande Caplin |

I had the opportunity to interview David Lay, drummer, and backup vocalist for the Florida Suncoast Band, “22N”.  David is a really cool guy and performs with one of the most exciting bands in our town.  Here is the interview:

SC: Can you tell us a bit about your band and the kind of music you play?

22N is a high energy band that plays a wide variety of music from several decades as well as a genre, but always songs to get people up and dancing.

SC: How did the 22N come together, and how long have you been performing together?

The band formed back in 2016 when I had been taking drum lessons and myself and our bassist at the time, Jeff Hufsteadler, decided we wanted to form a band to play out occasionally.  We kept growing and about 2018 when Kristen Lee came aboard, things started to really take off.  Our musicians have changed over the years, with our newest member being bassist Gary Sobel who came in when Jeff retired from the band this past year.

SC: What sets your band apart from other musical acts in the Central Florida and Florida Suncoast area?

Honestly, for one we play every song ourselves without tracks, which sometimes limits us to what we can play, but we like to take on the challenge of playing everything live.  We have a lot of fun on stage which comes out during our performances, and the fans feel it and it becomes contagious.

Second, we have a production show that is spectacular.  We have lights and video screens that are not programmed to tracks, have a crew that works everything by hand, which takes time to put together and dedicated people to run the show every night.  Would it be easier to just program the music and production to run every night?  Sure, but for us the challenge of producing a great show organically is more important and for us, something to be proud of. 


SC: What venues or locations does 22N typically play at? Are there any particular favorites?

We currently play as far north as Clearwater and as far south as Punta Gorta but are spreading our wings and will be playing more parts of the state soon.  Our favorite locations are the ones where the audience gets involved.  Our production does take up a lot of space, so smaller venues do pose different issues, but as long as we are having fun and the audience is as well…that is a favorite venue.

SC: Could you describe the atmosphere and energy at your live performances?

Our goal at any live performance is for the audience to have as much fun as we are.  No matter how big or small the venue is, or the audience is…having fun is the goal.  We want them to go away feeling like they didn’t just see a band, they enjoyed the whole experience.

SC: Do you have any upcoming shows or tours that fans should know about?

I would have to stay playing the Pineapple Drop downtown Sarasota for New Years Eve 2022 had to have been one of the highlights so far.  We have a bucket list as a band, and this was one of ours. 

SC: How would you describe the band’s sound and musical style?

Whatever genre we are playing at any given moment, it is safe to say that we perform that particular song with great intensity.  When we play rock, we throw our souls into it. From vocal harmonies to orchestration which the key provides, to intense base and guitar work.  It’s pretty common knowledge by our fans that because of our guitars we tend to rock the dance or pop up a bit, but they don’t lose their fun, upbeat vibe and the songs also benefit from our intensity.

SC: Are there any specific artists or bands that have influenced your music?

All of us come from different musical backgrounds, so when we come together, we have the ability to play many different genres.  We all have played many different types of music, and of course have our favorites.  We all have a lot of different influences, but Greg’s musical influence is Dimebag Darrel and Pantera, Gary’s is Michael Jackson, Prince, and AC/DC, Michael’s is Liberace, Phil Collins, and Geoff Tate from Queensryche. Kristen’s is Martina McBride, Whitney Houston, and Carrie Underwood, and mine are.

SC: What inspires your songwriting process? Do you write your own songs?

Well, we have three writers in our group: Gary, Greg, and Michael.  Each of them varies a bit in the way they go about writing.  Greg starts with the lyrics; Michael starts with a melody or hook and Gary does the same with a melody then grabs a guitar and quickly records it.

SC: Do you have any albums or EPs released for 22N? Where can fans find your music?

We have two originals we are currently working on that will be out this year; however, as of now you will only hear them at one of our shows!

SC: Do you have a website or social media presence where fans can connect with you and stay updated on your latest news?

Absolutely!  Our webpage is 22n Rocks, our Instagram is @22Nrocks and our FaceBook page is @22Nband, as well posting our schedule on Go Tonight.

SC: Do you have any exciting projects or collaborations in the works? 

Kristen Lee has been asked to sing a duet on a track for the upcoming EP release by the local band Hard Drawn, which should be out this coming winter.  Our entire band is taking leave for the month of August and in that downtime, we will be learning new music and enhancing our stage production.

SC: How do you prepare for your performances? Any pre-show rituals? 

As a band we try to rehearse together about every other week if our schedules allow.  Production is constantly working during the week on our light and video show.  We all have some little pre-show rituals.  Before the show you will generally find Greg Zen warming up his fingers playing his guitar with his headphones on, Kristen is finding somewhere to warm her voice up, and I generally am looking over the production to make sure it is ready and looks good, my drums are ready, and the venue is ready to go as well.  We all do a little bit of meeting and greeting before performances too though, a way to keep in contact with our fans off stage as we appreciate them being there.

SC: What do you enjoy most about being a part of this band?

The challenge of creating a show on the production ends with the crew when it comes to the lights and video takes a considerable amount of time, but the outcome is worth it.  To be able to be a part of the band onstage and having fun playing drums, then also behind the scenes makes all the time and effort worth it when you see the audience having fun.

SC: Are there any specific goals or milestones you hope to achieve as a band?

As I spoke about before, we have a bucket list as a band of venues we would like to play and things we would like to achieve. Spanning our performances out to the other areas of the state is one of them. 

SC: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians looking to pursue a career in the music industry?

Have a thick skin and work hard.  Not every person will like what you do but listen and learn.  Being true to yourself is important but adapting to situations is needed as well.  Not many people get into this industry for the money, they do it for the love of the music.  But once you think you are the best and know everything is when you will stop growing and fail.

Thanks, David, for doing this interview.  You have a great band.

Photos from 22N   

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