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Q&A with the man behind the legendary Secret Society-Washington, DC’s very own Bryan Mills!

  • Posted on Jun 1, 2019

Formed in 2008, Secret Society; the brainchild of Washington, DC area musician Bryan Mills, was created to bring the “Live Band” sound back to today’s heavily computerized music market.

The “Society” is that breath of fresh air that most aficionados have been searching for. The repertoire is deep and full of history, tradition, and diversity. The combination of talent, experience and a host of influences stemming from the seed of John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Police, Rick James and a host of others give the band their own unique sound and identity. To assign a genre-style to this group would be difficult considering the intermixture of music displayed. This group likes to use the simplistic description, “Feel Good Music” to define exactly what it is they offer.

In 2012, Secret Society was nominated for a WAMMIE by the Washington Area Music Awards (WAMS) for Best Urban Contemporary Duo/Group. The band has been featured in a plethora of publications, including Prince Georges Suite and Magazine 33 Virginia, as “one of the hottest bands in the region!”

Secret Society is led by virtuoso saxophonist Bryan Mills. Mills began performing at local venues and clubs while still in high school. A music scholarship brought him from Silver Spring, MD to Clark Atlanta University, beginning his road to musical maturity. Later, Mills as he is often called, transferred to Howard University’s prestigious Jazz Studies Program, which gave him the opportunity to play with notable D.C. area groups including the Marcus Johnson Project, Thievery Corporation, as well as DC’s  very own, legendary Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-Go!

With vocalists Mike Madison and Taryne Warren, Robbie McDonald playing lead guitar, bassist David Dyson, Patrick Cooper on keyboards, and Tim Steele on drums, the recipe of musicians is sure to please the taste buds of the avid music fan!

Ladies and gentlemen meet the man behind the legendary, Washington, DC based band Secret Society! We hope you enjoy!

1. When was secret society founded and where did the idea to establish secret society derive from? 

Secret Society was founded in 2008. The idea came from wanting to create a band/sound that was somewhat different to this area that catered to a more mature audience that wants to dance/party to the music they partied to back in their prime days.

2. Where was your first performance venue and where do you dream of performing?

The very first venue we performed was a place called “The Scene” and we were opening for Eric Roberson. Dream venue? That’s a tough one. I love festivals so a really big one like Coachella or something like that with a massive audience!

3. What advice would you offer someone dealing with performance anxiety?

Performance anxiety can be maintained with as much practice/exposure as possible. Going to jam sessions and/or open mic nights is a great way to work on that. Karaoke too.

4. What advice do you offer aspiring vocalist / musicians?

Advice would be to keep pushing no matter the circumstance. Mostly when it seems like things aren’t going the way you want. It’s at those moments where it’s most important to keep going.

5. What are the steps to developing a musical band?

For me the most important thing was finding musicians that were talented, trustworthy, and available. It’s not an easy thing to do but it takes patience. I like to compare it to making a meal with good ingredients. It takes time. Fine dining takes time.

6. How would you like to see Secret Society’s brand develop in the next five years?

I’d like to see us having original product around the globe in the next five years. International markets!

7. What is a day for you like as a musician and full-time educator?

I am an elementary school music teacher during the day so like most people, I get up to be at work by 8:30am and I’m there until about 4:00. On the days that we perform, I usually am preparing myself and the band for a show. Set lists, making sure the venue has things in order, etc. Get back home around 11pmish and do it all over again.

8. How do you balance work, life and your passion for music?

It’s challenging, but fortunately for me, all three are intertwined. My fiancé is a huge supporter of SS and she come to almost every performance we have so we make those nights our “date nights” lol.

9. How much time do you spend preparing for a show? 

It really depends on the show but usually about an hour or so for our weekly performances. For bigger one-time performances, we have rehearsals and those can take a few hours. The bigger the show, the more prep time needed.

10. What inspires your work as a musician?

Our audience is my biggest inspiration. Seeing them having a good time is part of my payment. You never know what a person is going through in life. And if we can make them forget about their troubles even if for only a moment, our mission is accomplished.

11. What is your performance schedule?

Every other Wednesday at SoBe in Lanham, Every Thursday at Blue Sunday in Bowie, 1st and 3rd Friday’s at Half Note Lounge in Bowie, and 2nd and 4th Friday’s at Park at 14th. You can always go to our website to see our upcoming performances.

12. What is your favorite bible verse or quote?

“The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.”

The man behind the legendary, Secret Society…

Washington, DC’s very own Bryan Mills!

FaceBook: Secret Society

Instagram: @secretsocietylive

Twitter: Bryan Mills@SecretSocietyBM

Signed with LOVE, Monique

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