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Seeing Double strives to navigate TikTok’s success and share their passion for music

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Sarah Gross was stunned when she met Seeing Double last spring. She discovered the group “like everyone else” – via TikTok.

Attracted by their use of harmonies and guitar sounds that “hark back to a bygone era”, Gross contacted Seeing Double and booked a performance with them on April 16 at the Garden, a concert hall in Syracuse, where she met the five SUNY Oneonta students in person for the first time.

“Especially musicians, we have it in our brains that the artists we like are like celebrities,” said Gross, who graduated from Syracuse University in May. “Then when you meet them in person, you’re like, ‘Oh, these are just people. “”

But Seeing Double, whose third single “Take It Or Leave It” drops on Friday, is far from celebrity status, even after a hit single and a few viral TikToks. The unexpected success of the rising juniors has only raised more questions about their music careers in the near and distant future.

Lead singer Allie Sandt formed Seeing Double to overcome pandemic boredom on a desolate college campus. Soon after, the band transitioned from playing covers to writing original music, and Sandt began working on the Fleetwood Mac-inspired single “Leah” last summer.

To promote “Leah,” Sandt posted a TikTok brushing her teeth with the caption reading, “Brushing my teeth on TikTok until my band’s song ‘Leah’ goes viral.” To her surprise, Sandt woke up the next morning to thousands of views and watched them grow over the next few days. “Leah” now has over 2.4 million streams on Spotify, and Seeing Double has over 12,000 TikTok followers.

While fans often perceive Seeing Double as a rock band, band members agree that their music doesn’t fit into one genre. None of their six unreleased songs sound alike, Sandt said.

As pandemic restrictions eased and students returned to campus last fall, the band resumed more shows at Oneonta, playing an average of three shows per weekend, and went on tour in the spring, Sandt said.

But during the summer vacation, the members returned to their respective hometowns and found part-time jobs.

Sandt lives in Bergen County, New Jersey and guitarist Zach Torncello is from Scotia, New York, near Albany, where drummer Dylan Travison lives. Guitarist Mike Aaron lives in Cornwall, New York, just north of New York, and vocalist Ali McQueeney is from Onondaga Hill near Syracuse.

With each member in a different location, playing shows in the summer is “a bit of a logistical nightmare,” Aaron said. The group converges on FaceTime calls at 11 p.m. — the only time everyone is free — to discuss things as simple as new merchandise, Aaron said.

“It’s not like I can just drive over to Allie’s house and work on something,” Torncello said. “It’s half past two.”

The band won’t be able to record new music until classes start in the fall, and even then there’s virtually no time when everyone is free to book rehearsal space on campus, said Aaron.

For now, the group only plans to release singles because it’s easier to write, record and later promote one song at a time, Sandt said.

“Being a college student and running a band is almost like running a small business,” said Gross, who understands first-hand the challenges Seeing Double faces. “They have a band where everyone really cares about the music equally, and that’s super important.”

Allie Sandt (left) and Ali McQueeney (right), two members of the SUNY Oneonta group, Seeing Double, perform on stage. Courtesy of Mel Telesmanic.

SUNY Oneonta teacher Jeremy Wall remembers seeing Sandt singing front row at each of the college funk band’s fall concerts. When he found out she was a singer, he knew she would be perfect to fill a spring vacancy.

Wall, founder of jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra and now a music professor at SUNY Oneonta, has led the university’s funk band for 20 years. It takes only the best students for the eight-piece ensemble each semester, he said.

With Sandt on lead vocals and Travison on drums, Wall said this spring’s funk band was one of the best he had in his 20 years at the school, he said. declared.

“Even though I technically had an open audition, I was counting on Allie,” Wall said. “She’s not afraid of anything. Whatever song she accepts, she immerses herself in it and expresses herself freely.

To avoid expensive hotels, the band stayed at the house of the person closest to the venue that night, except after their show at Dartmouth College. Sandt said the show ended too late to drive, and so the band “cash” for a one-bed hotel room.

“Shelled? said Torncello. “It was a hundred bucks, man.”

Travison brought a queen-size airbed for the tour that not only took up most of the space in the van, but also half the space in Dartmouth’s hotel room.

“We had to bounce off the air mattress to get to the bathroom,” Sandt said.

Of all the hurdles the group has faced, the biggest hurdle is yet to come – deciding what to do after graduation.

“I had no intention of being part of a band in college,” said McQueeney, who is studying early childhood education, the only member of the band not majoring in the industry. music. “I don’t really have a plan, but you know, a sketch. I have to figure out how (the band) is going to fit into this.

If Seeing Double is profitable upon graduation, the group will consider pursuing music full-time and move closer, Sandt said.

Regardless of what Seeing Double chooses, Gross said she hopes every member continues to perform or play music in some way.

“They’re gritty rock and roll, they’re super good at what they do, and they’re very talented,” Gross said. “It’s captivating for a lot of people.”


Contact Sarah: [email protected] | @sarahalessan

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