Alumni band is on a mission to success

By Carolyn Freeman

Just after releasing its new EP, alumni band Mission South will continue its “Migration” around the country in the midst of its month-long tour.

The band released its second EP “Migration Vol. 2” April 9. The album is the second in a three-part series, following “Migration Vol. 1” which was published September 2012.

The group consists of Dan Miller (guitar/vocals, ‘08), John Beck (bass/vocals, ’08) and Max Harwood (drums ‘08). The three met in fourth grade and played music together throughout their childhood, but officially formed Mission South in their junior year of high school.

Mission South performs at Crawfish in New Orleans. Photo courtesy Mission South.

Their strong friendship has made writing music together a more fluid process, Miller said.

“It’s really like we’re brothers,” he said. “Knowing that makes us be very honest with each other and trust each other, which is a huge part of us making music together.”

After graduating from college, the trio vowed to refrain from searching for jobs, and to focus on their band. Their support from former Whitman students who live across the country along with their new focus has helped in securing performances and in growing a fan base, Miller said.

Junior Gabe Schwartz said that the band’s success is helpful for aspiring musicians like him.
“It’s pretty cool to see people from Whitman being part of the music scene,” he said. “Pretty inspiring for musicians.”

The band played at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin. They began their month-long tour April 4 in Philadelphia and will end May 3 in Ithaca, New York.

Even after touring the country and playing at larger venues, Miller said his favorite performance was at D.C.’s 9:30 Club.

“I grew up on 16th St. two blocks away from 9:30 Club, so to get to play there is something I’ve literally always wanted to do,” he said.

Miller said that the band writes almost 50 songs for each EP, and cutting songs to reach a final six is difficult. While he doesn’t have a favorite song, he enjoys each type of sound the band produces because of his appreciation for all types of music, he said.

“The best part about music is that it’s living and breathing,” he said. “It’s not like a painting that sits on the wall. Every night you get to recreate it and do it differently which is what I love about every one of our songs.”

The band’s experience at SXSW and on its current tour has been incredible, Miller said.
“When I was a kid, I grew up dreaming of playing music every night and being on the road,” he said. “The combination of the two has been nothing short of completely amazing.”