With Diamond Rowe on lead guitar, Josh Fore singing and playing rhythm guitar, Ryan Lerner on bass and drummer Ruben Limas, Tetrarch has been making waves in the metal pool. With youthful endurance, the band burst on scene in their hometown of Atlanta, before leaving wake all over the country. Currently on the Scream Out Loud Tour, Tetrarch is soon slated to release another album.
Author Marisa Williams: With the implications of ruling and royalty, how did you decide upon the band name of Tetrarch?
Diamond Rowe, lead guitarist for Tetrarch: We started jamming in high school, me and Josh. We were in history class, and our teacher talked about a tetrarch, explaining what it was. There were four of us in the band, and we needed a name, so it stuck and wound up working well.
Marisa: How did you get started in music? Did you come from a musical family? What were your biggest musical influences?
Diamond: I did come from a musical family. Both of my parents worked in the music industry, so I grew up around music. What got me into rock and metal, because I grew up listening to pop and hip-hop when I was young, but I had a friend into Nirvana and Pearl Jam. I started checking out them, then discovered bands like System of a Down, Metallica, and Slipknot. That matched my personality, so I left everything else in the dust and stuck with that.
Marisa: How old were you when you learned to play guitar, and have you dabbled with any other instruments?
Diamond: I believe I took lessons for a year. My first lesson was on my 12th birthday, so I started when 12. I played with other instruments like drums and bass. I played drums in jazz band at school, played flute, and that’s basically it. I would love to learn piano, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I don’t know why I picked flute; I didn’t really fit my personality, but I was decent.
Marisa: What was your first concert that you attended, and how did that compare to the first concert that you played?
Diamond: It depends. I have two first concerts. My dad was doing a Janet Jackson tour, so that was my first, but first metal show was Metallica with Limp Biscuit and Mudvayne. That shook my core, best thing ever seen in my life. Compared to my first show, it wasn’t in a stadium. We weren’t that good, but I will say having to see a show that big for my first metal show, it set the standard for what a band looks like. We tried harder, put all our energy into the show like Metallica does. It might not have sounded great, but we put in the effort. When you get older, effort doesn’t always cut it, but in the beginning, effort is awesome.
Marisa: What was the first album you purchased?
Diamond: Again, when I was young, probably a Michael Jackson album my parents got for me, like “Thriller” or “Bad,” one of those. My first rock record was first greatest hits of Nirvana record, and I purchased that when I was 12, around that time.
Marisa: How do you go about writing music? What comes first for you: drums, guitars, vocals or something else? Has the process of writing changed for you over the years at all?
Diamond: It’s kinda always stayed the same. Josh or I generally have something that sparks an idea, whether it’s a drum beat that’s cool, we come to each other with a riff or a full song. We bounce ideas off of each other, come up with something that sounds cool. When we first started, a lot of it came from jamming in a room. There’s a cool thing that goes from writing that way, like you know it will go over well live. We go into demoing on the computer, then go fix parts that are not cool or find parts that are super cool.
Marisa: What is your favorite musical technique?
Diamond: I don’t know if it’s a technique, but it’s something for song writing. I love bands in metal especially, and this is where bands like Slipknot come into play, bands that write heavy songs with huge choruses. Being able to appeal to heavy fans and more of a mass appeal to radio. It’s not a technique, but it’s an amazing thing, because I think it’s really cool. That’s something I’m always looking at and striving for when I write a song.
Marisa: What's the coolest musical technique in your latest project, or what is something people might not expect in the new album?
Diamond: I would say, for us with the new music, a lot of our older stuff was fast, on the thrashy side. As much as I grew up with Megadeth and Metallica, I hated when people called us thrash metal, because it puts us in a niche, but with the new stuff, we’ve departed from that. We added more groove bass like Korn, weird effects guitar, harder, midtempo chorus. We tried a lot of stuff, pulled from influences we’ve had, to try to take us out of that thrash band genre where we’ve been. We still have that, but we’ve pulled in a lot of other stuff, too, which people might not expect.
Marisa: Can you walk us through the creative process of one of the songs on the new album, perhaps talking about what influenced, something that happened when it was recorded, or what makes it different from other songs on the new album?
Diamond: There’s a song on the new record called “Meri.” It’s super cool. As of late, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It came out very close, if not perfect, to how I heard it in my head. It’s very bass driven, mid-tempo song, something like you would hear that’s creepy like Kill Pop or Marilyn Manson, that creepy vibe. I came up with weird effects on guitar. I had Ryan come in, told him what I wanted, and he nailed it, it was perfect. From there, everything really came together with this groove drum part. In the studio, we did most of the work on the vocals, and Josh did a good job. It came together very naturally. I’m excited for people to hear that more than any other.
Marisa: What is the scariest thing about being on the road?
Diamond: Besides like discomfort, away from all the people you love, and not sleeping in your bed - but you get used to that - I’m constantly worried about our gear getting stolen. I’m the only girl, so I’m like a mom; if we are parked somewhere, or even staying in a hotel, I worry. You hear so many horror stories of people stealing from bands. On the road, you increase your chances of wrecks and things like that. We try to be as safe as we can. Besides that, there’s nothing else that really bothers me. Most bands, you have thousands of dollars of gear that you can’t just go to the store and replace. It’s a nightmare to think about. The more you’re out there, the more you are at risk.
Marisa: Best or worst tour moment?
Diamond: This was more of a tour kickoff show, not in the middle, but best was when we were getting ready to leave where we would be gone for a month. Two weeks before, we got asked to play with Alter Bridge, Seether and Avenged Sevenfold, and there was no competition we had to play or anything. We were eating backstage with them, hanging out, being a part of it. Obviously, I hope for that to be a normal thing. Was great to be a tour kickoff show. That was a couple years ago, but people come up and tell us the first time they saw us with Avenged Sevenfold. Even out in L.A., we’ve met people who saw us that first time in Atlanta with Avenged Sevenfold and Seether.
Marisa: What's your favorite way to travel and why?
Diamond: I’ll tell you what’s not my favorite way. I grew up flying a lot as a kid, but the last two or three years, I am a nervous wreck on a plane. It’s so stupid. I have high anxiety. My favorite way is in a car when I am driving. A plane is my least favorite way to travel.
Marisa: What's your favorite place to travel to, and is there anywhere you have not been to that you would like to go to?
Diamond: My favorite place used to be L.A., but now I live here, so I’d have to say home to Atlanta to visit family and friends. I really want to go up to northern Europe, like Sweden, Finland, and over to Japan. I’ve never been overseas. I’d like to go there on vacation or as a band; either one, I will take. I’m not huge into the tourist parts, but Ireland and stuff like that.
Marisa: What's your biggest musical fantasy?
Diamond: I would have to say a dream tour, my band with Metallica, Korn, Slipknot, throw like System of a Down, back in 2002. That is my dream. If I had to play music for a reason, it would be that.
Marisa: It’s interesting that you said that specific year, as that’s the year that I toured on Ozzfest, which System of a Down was on that year, along with Rob Zombie, Down, and a bunch of other killer bands. I will say, sometimes, as a female on tour, sometimes, you’ll run into guys who just expect you to fall down with your legs spread, and I was never really into that. I will say, as a female, just be sure that you know how to defend yourself, just in case anything crazy ever happens.
Diamond: I’m a super touch chick. I haven’t had many experiences like that. After they see me play, they get it. I’m not mad at them. Afterwards, usually, I don’t have many problems. So far, it’s been okay.
Marisa: I have three personality questions that I ask everyone. They might sound like hogwash, but I promise, there is a psychological basis to the answers ;-) First, if you were an unicorn, and you could be any color, what color would you be and would you have any special powers?
Diamond: I would be… you never see an all black unicorn, so no colors whatsoever. Maybe I’d have really pretty eyes, like really piercing, like a pretty gold color. If I had a power, it would be to be invisible when I didn’t want anyone to see me.
Marisa: Psychologically, that might mean that you have a bit of voyeuristic tendencies, like you if you see something crazy or interesting, you would watch, and just take it all in.
Diamond: That might be true, in certain situations…
Marisa: If you were yogurt, what flavor would you be, and how would you be served?
Diamond: I’m just guna serve myself as I like to eat. Are we talking cold yogurt like at Ice Cream Land, or the regular stuff you’d buy in the store?
Marisa: Whichever you’d like.
Diamond: I’d be the ice cream type, vanilla, but with a ton of crunchy Oreos: the real Oreos, not the off brand, where you’re basically crunching on your yogurt.
Marisa: Describe yourself as either a dog, a cat or a cartoon.
Diamond: I’d say I’m definitely like a dog, but like I am kinda like a German Shepard or something where I love what’s mine, and I’m very into what my passion is and what I love. I can be very aggressive but also the most loving ever, depending on the situation. I’m not super social; I have introverted tendencies, like to hang around my group. I enjoy meeting people, but I’m not one of those people to hang out. I’d just go and hang out with my people; that’s how I am.
Marisa: Do you collect anything?
Diamond: Guitars, if that counts.
Marisa: What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
Diamond: I should be guilty about it, but I love food. I’m not a big sweet eater, but I love savory food like pizza and hot wings. But when I eat it, I feel terrible about myself. If I had to pick one, that would be it: food.
Marisa: Do you have any hidden talents or special skills?
Diamond: I’m such an outward person with what I do, so I don’t have much hidden that people don’t know. I like to go fishing, but that’s more of a hobby. That’s something I did when I was little, so I got out of it, but now that I’m out west, I want to bass fish. I’m taking my gear on tour, so I can go fishing this summer. Fishing is awesome.
Marisa: Fishing is great, and you’re not the only musician into fishing. Les Claypool, for example, is really into fishing. I used to be the sports writer down in Key West, and I got to cover Shark Week, where they are fishing for sharks, pulling up 12- and 14-footers out of water that I can stand up in.
Diamond: When I people are surfing on the beach, and I see people pulling in these big sharks, I just think, you’re in there of your own will…
Marisa: What's the most important thing to remember?
Diamond: How you treat people. I think it makes a difference. Especially in the music industry, you have to be a little stern with a lot of people. That’s how it is. It’s not a nice place, but you know, you have to judge your circumstance to make sure you’re treating people well. You never know who you are talking to, or who you will be talking to, as it comes back to you.
Marisa: What was your most influential moment?
Diamond: I’d say any time I’m around my parents. My parents, after moving away, I’ve learned this: they keep me inspired more than anybody just by how they live their life, how they’ve lived, and how they raised me. I just feel that how they raised me, I want to take after that. I really appreciate a lot of what they’ve done, and how they go about things. They’re who inspire me, any time I’m around them.
Marisa: If you were not doing music, what would you be doing?
Diamond: I’d be in school to be a doctor. I would go back to school. I went to University of Alabama, and I want to get my degree, but I’d like to make music a full-time career. It would be for something else. That’s what I would be doing if I hadn’t started this. I was also really into softball, super good, but obviously, there’s no huge career in softball, so I’d say a surgeon or something like that.
Marisa: What are three things you must have with you when you are on the road?
Diamond: My cell phone, and this probably counts as one, but also my laptop to make sure I get work done. What else, what else? Snacks, you have to have some good snacks when you’re on the road, so they’re very important. Some good baby wipes, because we don’t always get great showers. It’s frustrating for me, because I always feel there’s a residue left on my body after using the wipes. You don’t feel fresh.
Marisa: When I did the Ozzfest tour, I know there were many times when we would cross from one side of the country to the other, and that’s a three day jump. You don’t have time to stop, except for truck stops. We would have to do the truck stop showers sometimes, or just the whore bath in the sink.
Diamond: We’ve thought about doing the truck stop showers, but I would definitely want to have my flip flops with me. We go to Walmart a lot. If I wash my face, that’s half the battle, but there’s a point when you have to shower.
Marisa: Any advice for musicians starting out?
Diamond: I’d say if this is something you want to do, and you’re serious about it, you can’t have one foot in and one foot out. You don’t hear people say they made it by playing on the weekends and got signed and got huge. You have to put everything you got into it. You can do other things, but your mind has to be on it. You have to run it like a business. If it’s a hobby, run it how you want, but if this is something you want to spend your life doing, put everything down and be okay being broke for a while. Just go for it.
Marisa: Closing thoughts and additional comments?
Diamond: Just for everyone to keep track of our socials; we have a lot of new music and videos coming out. I think there’s something for everyone on this new album.
Be sure to check out Tetrarch on tour this summer, as they traverse the country, playing shows in Tampa on June 30 at the Brass Mug, The Ritz in Detroit on July 12, and a host of other places. For more on Tetrarch, check out: https://www.facebook.com/tetrarchmusic/, http://www.tetrarchmusic.com/, www.twitter.com/tetrarch, www.instagram.com/tetrarchmusic, and https://www.youtube.com/user/Tetrarchlive.
The author of more than 100 books, Marisa Williams earned her Master's in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University; for more on Marisa, visit www.lulu.com/spotlight/thorisaz, www.instagram/thorisaz, and www.twitter.com/booksnbling.