Tetrarch Makes Its Mark

A few of the words that can describe L.A.-based metal band Tetrarch are determined, driven, talented – and definitely unforgettable.

Formed out of the friendship between guitarists Diamond Rowe and Josh Fore after they met in middle school in Atlanta, the still-independent band hasn’t slowed down in its quest to share its music with the masses.

“I and [Fore] found out we were both into music, so we started jamming and became friends. The first song we jammed to was something like “Johnny B. Goode,” Rowe told Pollstar. “We both liked hard rock and metal – I more so than him – but we just started jamming in general. We got in and jammed “Rockin’ In The Free World,” you know, little covers of older rock songs. I knew like three chords.” 

Courtesy Tetratch

Since forming around 2007, Tetrarch has self-released EPs Pravda in 2008, The Will To Fight in 2011 and Relentless in 2013 as well as gigging and hitting the road whenever possible. 

The line-up of Rowe, Fore, bassist Ryan Lerner and drummer Ruben Limas headlined the “Scream Out Loud Tour” earlier this year before heading out as support for DevilDriver with 36 Crazyfists, Uncured, and Cane Hill in August.   

And the band’s debut full-length release, Freak, will be released Sept. 29.

Rowe found some time between gigs to talk to Pollstar about Tetrarch’s early days, making an impression and on being an African-American woman playing metal.

You mentioned the band formed 10 years ago. When did the band play its first gig?

I’d say the end of 2007 is when we played our very first show. It was at a club outside Atlanta that just closed down a couple of years ago. It used to be a really good spot for underground hardcore tours and stuff to go through but also a good local spot. We set up our first show there with some friends and other local bands. 

What was the metal scene like in Atlanta at that time

At that point in time, it was actually very saturated with local bands. The Atlanta scene was doing really well and I knew a ton of local bands. We played with them almost every weekend. Atlanta was a really good hotspot for metal. Even bigger metal tours coming through did well.

Were there many clubs in town to pitch gigs to? How competitive was that?  

I’m the kind of person that would sit at the computer all day long and try to get shows.  While it was hard and very time-consuming, we played a LOT. There was a time when just in Atlanta and the surrounding areas, we’d play three shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday while going to school. In the beginning we probably played 200 shows by playing every weekend. I never had a hard time getting us shows. Looking back now, I feel like that’s where we got going on our experience and learned how to play. We learned things you can only learn by playing, like how to tailor your set to a certain crowd.


Jenn Curtis

I’ve read that Tetrarch’s single “Disciples of Sorrow” caught the attention of rock radio station “Project 9-6-1″  

It was Project 9-6-1. It used to be the No. 1 rock station in Atlanta. Funny story… what really got their attention … They used to do competitions for bands to compete to open for big tours. Like Bullet For My Valentine would come through and shows like that. It was super-exciting but we couldn’t get into the competition! So, finally, there was one coming for Bullet For My Valentine that we really wanted to get on, so we had like 200 of our friends literally call the radio station at the same time over and over again. One of the ladies there emailed us and said ‘Guys. You can’t have your friends call and get what you want!’ But we did get what we wanted. They put us in the competition! [But] we lost to this older band. We were so bummed because we had put so much effort into it. 

Is that how Tetrarch landed the opportunity to support Avenged Sevenfold, Seether and Alter Bridge at Verizon Amphitheater Alpharetta?  

“Yes. A few months later we got an email from [Project 9-6-1]. And it said, ‘Hey. we’ve got Avenged Sevenfold coming through. Do you guys want to play the show? You don’t have to be in a competition. You can just play.’ We were like ‘Oh My God!’ Of course, we took it and ever since then, some of the DJs at that station are like some of our best friends in Atlanta. And looking back, we had to annoy them like crazy just to get them to look our way!

Was that the biggest crowd the band had played for at the time?

Oh, yeah! It was like a 13,000-capacity venue. It was early so it wasn’t full, but there were several thousand people there. It was pretty surreal. We still meet people to this day that say they saw us open for Avenged Sevenfold.

 Was there a time when it hit you that Tetrarch’s music was grabbing people’s attention?
For me it wouldn’t have been a specific show but I think [it was] around 2011. We were still playing a lot at the time and I noticed we would go to a Warped Tour in Atlanta or Mayhem Fest and people would come up to us and say, ‘Aren’t you the guys in Tetrarch?’ a lot. As small as it may seem because it’s still the Atlanta scene, we would have a lot people come up and say that to us and it was surprising. That’s when we realized more people were paying attention than we felt like [they were]. That was really cool and it was very motivating!


Jenn Curtis

And you were interviewed for the book, “What Are You Doing Here: A Black Women’s Life And Liberation In Heavy Metal” by Laina Dawes in regard to your being an African-American woman playing in a metal band.   

You know, it’s crazy. I think it’s cool that, in a sense, I’m doing something different but I didn’t think of it in those terms when I started. I really like metal, I really like hard rock, I want to play guitar in a band. That was as far as it went. It wasn’t until we started playing out and started to get some attention that people [began] bringing that up.  

If anything, my being African-American in this band has been more than helpful. I’ve never been discriminated against because of that or lost opportunities. It’s been nothing but a positive.” 

See Tetrarch tour dates here.