15 Sep 2014
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Sachem Alum Creates Suffolk State of Mind

Catches YouTube fever and reaches hundreds of thousands of views.

Move over Jay-Z and Alicia Keyes. A group of Sachem residents are the creators of "Suffolk County State of Mind," a parody to the instant cult classic "Empire State of Mind" that came out in 2009 and pays homage to New York.

With the same amount of love intended for Suffolk and Sachem, Brian and Melissa Brennan, siblings, and friend Joe Toscano helped write, produce and direct a video that has stormed the digital airwaves and garnered over 350,000 YouTube views in less than five days.

"We bet how many page views we'd have the first day," Toscano said. "We guessed five or ten thousand."

Not in their wildest expectations did they think a crisply cut video that took four days to write, record and edit would attract a following this large.

With a "Nassau County State of Mind" video produced not too long ago, Brennan said he had no desire to compare or focus on making something better. Instead, he zeroed in on writing lyrics, which were meaningful to him and his friends.

From the opening scene where he is donning a Sachem football shirt in front of the octagon at Sachem North, it was clear Brennan is proud of his Black & Gold roots. A resident of the small part of Centereach located in the Sachem Central School District, he's a perfectionist when it comes to video.

"I wanted to put out something that represents me and what I want to do," said Brennan, a film major at Hofstra University and 2007 graduate of Sachem North. "I wanted the best quality possible."

Luckily the shooting didn't consist of too many takes. It was the travel that ate up much of their allotted time. They were everywhere from Montauk to the vineyards to Adventure Land, the Crazy Donkey and countless bars and eateries.

While Jay-Z's version is set in sepia tone cinematography, Brennan and his crew weren't shy from shooting scenes with vibrant colors. His high definition camera counteracts brilliantly with perfect sunlight in most scenes.

If you're wondering, yes that's Melissa's voice. Strikingly similar to Alicia Keyes, this was her first major singing role. Though she's always belted tunes on her own since her teenage years, nothing compared to recording in a studio and singing to camera.

"I saw it as a good opportunity when he asked me to do this," she said, adding that she graduated from Westhampton Beach High School before the family moved to Sachem.

They make it a point not to segregate the Sachem scenes, spending equal time in front of Sachem East and North and most Sachem residents can count the many everyday references that affect the community.

"What Sachem kid hasn't gone to Strathmore and gotten a large iced tea," Brennan said.

"Or late night pizza at Little Vinny's," added Toscano, who moved to Florida after attending Sagamore Middle School, but returned to the Island recently.

You'll notice they stop at Mamma Lombardi's, get stuck in traffic on Portion Road, and grab a drink at Momo's. Sachem grad and resident DJ Jerry Robinson makes a cameo in the film also.

While writing lyrics, they initially constructed a list of key places in Suffolk County that were mandatory for a song like this. Quickly, they worked as many references into the song and came out with the instant hit.

"Whatever came to our mind at the time we put in," Brennan said. "We knew we'd see a corn field out east. We even got lucky and saw a deer."

They're working on multiple projects now and will need a secretary or manager with all the media requests they've received.

"This is what we do best," Brennan said, "making fun of things that are a hot topic right now. We weren't trying to represent all of Suffolk either. We were just representing what we're familiar with."

Suffolk County State of Mind Lyrics

You can see me up in Holbrook, reppin' up the East side

I went to Sachem High School, you know I get a good vibe

Party every weekend, Mulcahy's up on Thursdays

When we're not doing that, we're probably up at Friday's

Boardy Barn on Sundays, hangover Mondays

Go to Fire Island beach to catch me some sun rays

We love to go tanning, eat at Lombardi's

Nothing spontaneous like the crazy parties

BLI mornings keeps me from yawning,

The Long Island commute can be rather boring

Eat at Strathmore Bagels, this stuff is never kosher

Got a large ice tea and a bagel in the toaster

Always stuck on Portion, construction leads to traffic

I hate being the guy who's always stuck in that s***

Nassau kids are sheltered, Suffolk's where it's at son

Show you how to party, beat you up in beer pong …


… in Suffolk. And now we're in front of the lighthouse in Montauk

There's no where you can't run when you're in Suffolk

Five minutes from the gym or the movies, everyone likes sushi

Let's here it for Suffolk, Suffolk, Suffolk


Here it goes out to Montauk with the sick lighthouse

Then west to Hampton Bays, nightclubs, Whitehouse

We party all night so it's always worth the drive out

Then back to Ronkonkoma, that's where you'll find my house

It's got Stony Brook, Dowling, St. Joe's and Five Towns

Briarcliffe College in Suffolk is by my hometown

Everyone's Italian, some call us Guidos

When we're up at Smiths Point rocking in the Speedos

Before Island 16, it's pizza at Gino's

Italian ices much better than Marino's

Smithhaven Mall, Bay Shore and Tanger Outlets

That's where all the hot girls, get all their outfits

Don't let them fool you, got money like Nassau

Cars, houses, backyards, who could really more

Got Riverhead Raceway, can even watch the Ducks play

Nassau can't compete now, even on Suffolk's worst day


… in Suffolk. There's a whole abundance of trees here

you might even see deer when you're in Suffolk

Wine tasting all up in the vineyards

Fruit stands up in the front yards

Let's here it for Suffolk, Suffolk, Suffolk


I forgot to mention Port Jeff, ice cream on the boardwalk

Tommy's Place is crowded where me and the girls talk

Shop up at the outlets, love my attire

Waterslides are nice, but Splish Splash sides are higher

Little Vinny late nights, right after MoMo's

Nappertandy's Smithtown never seems to get old

Gotta love the Hamptons, especially up on Dune Road

Beach Bar is hot so you know that's where we all go

Car shows up at Bald Hill, go there every Tuesday

Got the last Roy Rogers next to Sunrise Highway

Pick your own pumpkins, get lost in a corn maze

Lewins Farm, apple picking pie up in your face

Got the largest lake here, people say it's haunted

Least it gives punch, should never be taunted

Nassau keep the Islanders, I'm not into hockey

Head to Adventure Land or head to Crazy Donkey …


… in Suffolk. Nothing like a weekend of Sun, in the 631

when you're in Suffolk. Representing Long Island,

the best part of New York, let's hear it for Suffolk, Suffolk, Suffolk.

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