My name is Andy Reed, and the idea is a simple one: what happens when you combine the drive for higher education with a never-ending Rolodex of band press kits and social media pages? With a cup of coffee and a great deal of patience, I look and listen for the next young somethings out there to give them a moment in color. Shine on you crazy diamonds, and let it be known that this is the moment in time before you were famous.
TetraFuze started this musical journey in the spring of 2018 with only some guitar riffs and the idea to record an album. With four members who differ in many different ways, from musical background and influences to playing styles, it is hard to define this band as one true genre or subgenre. The closest I can describe is a powerful commercial alt-rock sound, like a indie fusion project in your neighbor’s garage, like a zebra who doesn’t know he has stripes, or like 311 but better and with a fresh, young outlook on life.
Frontman Landon Randall grew up with classic thrash and grunge as his greatest influences; drummer Tyler Secrest has influences across the board from contemporary jazz to Breaking Benjamin; guitarist Kaylon Grimsley has a background of alternative influences including Muse and the Arctic Monkeys; and bassist Travis Collins, who cites his inspiration comes from bands like Tool and Three Days Grace.
To put things in perspective, Tyler is currently a student at Pittsburgh State University, and Landon is a finance major at the University of Kansas. Despite having hectic schedules during fall and spring semesters, coming together to “fuze” their four different playing styles is always a priority. Student-musicians can, and in fact, do, practice effective time management skills in order to make rehearsals work with studying, playing gigs while finishing their degrees.
A small moment later and I was able to get a conversation with Landon to talk about the band, the release of their album, Welcome Home and what the music scene in Kansas is really like.
I see that some of your members attend the University of Kansas and Pittsburg State University. What kinds of challenges have you faced as a band with their members pursuing higher education in different schools?
Landon: It’s more difficult to practice together when school is in session. During summer, it’s easy to get at least one rehearsal weekly, but during the semester we are lucky to get one in a month. It’s also difficult to schedule shows when our schedules are so limiting until the breaks.
You just recently completed your first full-length album ‘Welcome Home’. What can you tell our readers about the record?
It started off as a just for fun project that turned a little more serious as we recorded. We made it into a thematic album that follows a former soldier through a dark time in his life. The music itself is very diverse with anything from soft rock and blues to hard rock and metal. It is definitely an album we plan to build off of stylistically as we continue to make more music.
What was your last gig like? What does Kansas’ music scene look like?
Our last gig was a fairly good one. The turn out wasn’t as much as expected due to the snowy weather conditions, but those who did show up brought some amazing energy to the show. The Kansas scene is very overcrowded right now. There are very few venues and so many local artists looking for gigs that it is hard to get on a bill locally. That’s why we like to play out of state most of the time, because it is easier to book shows and more opportunities going that route.
And as a follow-up question, what are your observations about today’s music scene as a whole?
There are so many good artists out there, and many do not get the attention they deserve. It can be difficult to get attention towards new original music with the over saturation of artists in today’s world. However, this pushes musicians to make the best music they possibly can, and from a consumer point of view, it’s a great thing.
You guys are signed to Sliptrick Records. How have they influenced you and how did you get to where you are today?
Sliptrick was a point where we decided to take our music a little more serious. Being on their roster has definitely opened doors that would be locked for us otherwise, and it continues to open new opportunities for us as we continue through our music career.
In your opinion, what role does social media play for musicians? Musicians in college?
It is crucial to push the image you want to give off and to grow your following. Having a good following with good number across the board, with likes, shares, and views, can make a musician’s life much easier, especially when booking shows.
What is a guilty pleasure song/band/album that you all share?
A guilty pleasure we all share is Muse’s latest album Simulation Theory. It is constantly playing in the van. The only other thing that I can think of is “Country Roads” by John Denver. That song plays every time we get back in the van after a show.
Following the completion of their Lighting the Fuze tour this past winter, the guys started and finished recording their second full length album, Soveriegnty of the Tortured and are in the process of booking new tour dates from mid June to the end of July.