June 19, 2013 • 03:43:01 p.m.

The Secret State coming to St. Charles


The Secret State will bring its electronic-tinged rock sound Thursday to River Rockhouse, 106 S. Riverside Ave., St. Charles. ( photo)

The members of Baltimore-based The Secret State were as surprised as anyone when the music video for the group’s hit single “The Biggest Mistake” became a viral sensation, garnering more than 67 million views on YouTube.

The Secret State will bring its vibrant electronic-tinged rock sound Thursday to River Rockhouse, 106 S. Riverside Ave., St. Charles. The band will support Smile Empty Soul and Boy Hits Car.

Tickets are $13, available at

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to The Secret State digital performer Danny Espinosa about the band’s current activities.

Eric Schelkopf: You guys are really generating a buzz. The video for “The Biggest Mistake” has more than 67 million views. What do you think about the video connected with people?

Danny Espinosa: Yeah, I don’t know. I can’t explain it.

It’s a very relatable song. It’s kind of a universal song. It’s something that happens to everyone. I would have been ecstatic if it hit 100,000 views.

There’s only so much you can do. And then you put it out on the Internet, and see if people gravitate towards it or not. It just so happens in our case they did.

ES: It seems like YouTube is almost like radio these days.
Definitely. A lot of people don’t even buy albums anymore. They just look up the song they want to hear on YouTube and listen to it.

ES: Another video, “Fight or Flight,” is a song about a patrol on deployment in Afghanistan and their homecoming. You yourself served in the Coast Guard and served in Afghanistan as a defense contractor. A few of your band members also have served in the military. Did you want to make the video because of your military experience?
We always wanted to do something. We wanted to kind of give back to the people who serve.
The song when we wrote it, it just kind of fit. And it was cool how it all just kind of progressed.

ES: The video was shot at Fort Irwin in California at the U.S. Army’s National Training Center. I understand you got a lot of access and clearance that had never before been granted by the U.S. Army. Were you surprised by that?
I wasn’t so surprised, because it’s for a good cause.
They had real soldiers out there. They had explosives going off. Pretty much, it was a training exercise.

ES: Why did you decide to serve?
When I was 18, I joined the Coast Guard. I always felt like military service was very admirable.
After 9/11, I felt like being in the Coast Guard wasn’t enough. I took the defense contractor job and had the opportunity to go out and serve.

ES: How did you make the transition to being a musician?
I was in Afghanistan for six months, and then I took two weeks off, and saw Deadmau5 in concert.
Afterwards, I said, “I have to at least try this.” I was always into electronic music.
After that, I bought a mini-keyboard and a drum machine that I had sent to Afghanistan. So, pretty much every time I wasn’t on a mission and working, I was on my mini-keyboard and drum machine going bananas.

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