Secret Six was founded as an original studio project in June 2003. The collection of songs on the outfit's debut emphasizes the diverse elements of rock, pop, and progressive music. To instill a sense of freshness into the songs, a variety of musicians were assembled for recording and were encouraged to add their own distinct mark to the music. The concept of Secret Six was devised by Jay Youngless. He is a drummer, keyboardist, and vocalist who spent time in several Cleveland-area bands, most notably the hard rock trio Tic. In the winter of 2003, Jay was spending much of his spare time in front of his keyboard sacrificing sleep and composing pieces of music, some of which became the first Secret Six songs recorded. Jay soon recruited his brother Chris and guitarist/bassist/vocalist Nate Nieding to flesh out the crude demos he'd put down on a small hand-held recorder. Nate spent time in a number of prominent local acts, principally the hardcore band Choice, which released it's self-titled cassette in 1997, and the hardcore outfit Hatemail, which released it's CD Hit Me With Bats in 2000. Bassist/vocalist Chris Youngless was also a member of Choice and Hatemail and was renowned for his ability to hit ear-piercing, high-pitched shrieks that stood in stark contrast to other vocalists. In June, the trio entered Track_Six_Recording and laid down tracks for three of the original five songs Jay composed during his winter writing session-the driving 'Remote Control,' the ethereal instrumental 'Frogs In Winter,' and the acoustic ballad 'I Will.' By the fall of 2003, Jay and Nate were meeting weekly to rehearse material for upcoming recording sessions. At this time Chris took a break from Secret Six to concentrate on his full-time band, the F-Bombs. Bassist Shane Post, a former member of Choice, Hatemail, and Birds of Prey, joined the Secret Six rehearsals. In October of that year, the threesome recorded the pop-rock oriented 'Gravity' and 'Candelabra/As It Were,' for which Shane co-wrote the second half. After keyboard and vocal overdubs were completed the following month, Secret Six went on hiatus for the holidays while Jay completed work on a new batch of songs. In March 2004, the original trio of Jay, Chris, and Nate reconvened to rehearse and record 'Be Here I Am.' The two-part song was the most challenging to record as it featured layers of electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, and vocals. Aryn Youngless, Chris's wife, provided the vocal bridge between the songs two parts. Over the course of the summer of 2004, Jay and Nate continued to rehearse. Jay introduced Nate to 'Charade (In Your World),' a song he'd written vocals and drum parts for several years prior while a member of Tic. Unable to ever complete a satisfactory version of the song, Jay shelved it for possible later use. Upon hearing a rough demo of the song, Nate quickly retooled the majority of it's guitar and bass lines and added a middle instrumental section. The duo's collaborative songwriting continued with the stop-and-start 'Tip Your Bartender,' for which Nate retooled the bass line and wrote the chorus' rhythm guitar part. In September 2004 Jay and Nate recorded the basic tracks for both songs in one session and completed keyboard and vocal work the following month. In November 2004, Jay and Nate entered the studio for the last time to record 'Heidi's Eyes,' a song Jay had written a decade prior. The up-tempo, mostly acoustic number prominently features piano, synthesized strings, and bodhran. In January and February 2005, Christian Dohar, a band mate of Chris and Aryn, recorded additional acoustic guitar for 'Heidi's Eyes' and guitar overdubs for 'Remote Control' and 'Candelabra/As It Were.' Finally, in March 2005, recording, mixing, and mastering were completed by Track_Six_Recording engineer/owner Brandon Youngs and Secret Six debuted.
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