Sophomore duo debut on Spotify and Apple Music



Sophia Pizzi

While the music of the Morning Herald may be “hot off the press,” the friendship between sophomore bandmates Zach Leone and Dan Schmetterling is far from new. In fact, it started in second grade when the two were pen pals at an elementary school in their hometown of Simsbury, Connecticut—a place crucial to the formation of the Morning Herald, which has now made its way to popular streaming sites such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal.

The group’s musical history dates back to their freshman year of high school. Leone, Schmetterling and some of their friends decided to start a band and play different instruments according to their interests. 

“I took guitar lessons for like a month when I was younger,” Schmetterling jokes. “Basically I just owned a guitar.” Leone also plays the guitar and takes on most of the group’s vocals. 

Their first band, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” lasted for three years of high school. Then during their senior year, the two decided to collaborate and form their own group they called “Breakers.”

“That was more like practice, honestly,” Schmetterling says. “We just wanted to figure out how to use Logic, how to record and mix by ourselves. It was a really good learning experience.”

Since venturing to college together—unplanned, by the way—the two never stopped coming up with ideas for their music. They wrote independently at first, and eventually reached out to fellow musicians on campus for feedback and to potentially join in. Then, last summer, things started to come together. 

“When [we] got home, we looked at all the songs we had written and figured them out,” Leone says. “And most of the recording took place in our basements, really. I would sometimes do the bass of a song and then go to Dan and be like ‘alright put a riff over it’ and then add the vocals later. So it was pretty much on our own time.”

Throughout this process, the two found their music started to take on a more consistent sound. Looking to rebrand themselves as an Indie group, the friends renamed themselves “the Morning Herald” after a line in a song by the Vaccines, a British band the sophomores sometimes turn to for inspiration.

The natural chemistry between Leone and Schmetterling is clear as they debate the sound of their album.

“Alternative indie,” Schmetterling offers first.

“More on the garage-rock side of things,” Leone adds.

“Garage pop?” 

“Garage indie?”

“Is indie even a technical genre?”

“I’d say we’re closer to rock than alternative.”

“Then let’s go with that. Indie-rock.” 

  Listening through the album, their debate makes sense. The 14-track record, titled “Undiscovered Oceans,” balances everything from heavy baselines to light acoustic riffs. Some songs, like “Verge of Eighteen,” convey dark emotions through carefully crafted lyrics while others, most notably “In-Control,” are a symphony of rock and surf sounds that capture the album’s fresh and upbeat moods. Other tracks, like “Anonymous,” even take on a folk-rock style reminiscent of “The Lumineers,” sprinkled with a chorus of ‘Hey, Hey, Hey’s’ that will likely be stuck in your head once the songs ends. 

 wMany of the sounds were influenced by some of the group’s favorite artists, including “The Vaccines,” “The Killers,” “Oasis and the Pixies.” And despite the variations within the record, it all comes together cohesively, amounting to a versatile album that’s easy to listen to anytime and anywhere. 

    Along with the recorded tracks, the duo also filmed live videos of its songs at a professional recording studio in Connecticut that are now featured on the Morning Herald’s Facebook and YouTube pages. 

 “Over winter break we were lucky enough to have two musicians from Connecticut back us musically,” Leone explains. 

“They had certain connections to a studio called ‘Telefunken,’ which is actually a company that makes high-end microphones. They knew the people there that could do the live sessions, and they really helped us out.”

 These connections back home also pushed them to expand their online presence.

 “[One] had a really good point about the way people verify you’re a legit band is by looking at how many likes you have on Facebook or how many followers you have on Spotify,” Schmetterling says. “It’s an important metric in terms of how people know about you.”

 Looking to the future, the band hopes to gain new members, continue playing and keep making music. 

 “I guess right now we would love to get gigs in Philly,” Leone says. “Obviously we’re not expecting anything big, but even playing a bar with a couple of other bands would be sick to establish a base.” 

   For now, you can catch Leone and Schmetterling hanging out at open mics in the Cyber Lounge, where they play their songs regularly to get feedback from other students in the Music and Instruments Club.