Q’s With Tetrarch’s Diamond Rowe: On Making It In Metal

Rebecca Potzner
Tetrarch co-founder and lead guitarist Diamond Rowe basks in the metal salute being thrown her way at a show in October. The band recently signed to Napalm Records.

It’s hard for lead guitarist Diamond Rowe to think of Tetrarch as “emerging” when the genesis of the band dates back to her introduction to vocalist and rhythm guitarist Josh Fore in school when she was 11 or 12. But with a new record label and increased visibility of underrepresented artists, Tetrarch may be about to “emerge” in a big way.

Since Rowe and Fore created the core of the band, the current edition includes a seasoned roster with bassist Ryan Lerner and drummer Ruben Limas, the newest member joining in 2015. After a series of self-released EPs, regional touring and some fortuitous bookings with artists including Avenged Sevenfold, Seether and Alter Bridge, it appears the DIY days are over. 

The LA by way of Atlanta band announced Aug. 12 that it signed with Napalm Records and plans to drop its first full-length, Unstable, in the fall. A single from the upcoming disc, “I’m Not Right,” was released in spring and has been streamed more than 1 million times.

POLLSTAR: With a new label deal and single getting attention, is this pause frustrating?

Diamond Rowe: It’s weird to say, but this break has been good for the band. We took this opportunity to kind of step on it a little bit. A lot of bands postponed or canceled tours but, for us, it’s given us a better place than we were in before. It’s a big chunk of time to have off, and not touring is a bummer, but we’ve been working.
How has it affected Tetrarch?

It actually gave us less traffic to sift through with our new music and it gave us time to get ahead. We expect to release the album in October. None of us has dealt with a pandemic before! You have to kind of do what is best for your own band and not worry about what others are doing. We had to adjust, but we talked about it and knew that people are home and need something to listen to. And a lot of people listened to it.
Metal is often pigeonholed as a bastion of white dudes. How do you deal with it?

If you talk to females in metal you’re going to get different stories and experiences. There’s a lot of them in hard rock and metal and a lot will say they’ve had bad experiences by virtue of being female.  For me, it’s been a very positive experience. It’s brought awareness to Tetrarch that we wouldn’t have gotten any other way. If I weren’t in the band, it might not get people looking. What’s cool about me being part of Tetrarch is it’s different and people can identify us always. My experience in how I view it, and view myself within the band, is something different and it’s good. We might be at a festival and people might see the Black girl on stage with the guitar and instead of leaving to get a beer, they might stick around and might even become fans. It’s not a gimmick. It’s very rare that I’ve had a negative experience. 
Have you considered livestreaming or doing drive-in shows? 

The most important thing to Tetrarch is the live show and the connection we have with the audience. We’re very picky about how we present ourselves live. We like to be well-rehearsed and have that live energy. For a livestream we want to perform as we would a live show. If an opportunity was offered in that context we would look at it. But we have a lot of things we can release content-wise to keep our connection with fans.

You’ve had several years of experience and navigating changes in the business. 

Especially with label deals, it’s about being smart and doing smart deals. When you are not on the road, some might get in a position where they give away the rights to their whole lives and end up with nothing to show for it. You have to find a way to be creative outside of that. But it’s business, and always about adapting, making changes and transitions. 

Your father is a concert promoter and you grew up around R&B and Soul in your home. How did you get attracted to metal?

I was always a really strange kid (laughs).  I was cocky, into motocross riding and bass fishing. I was in private school and I had this friend, a little older than me, and when you’re a kid anyone a little bit older seems 
so cool. She was always talking about Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, Pearl Jam, System of a Down and those bands. From that point on, I got into it and it kind of fit my personality. I would only listen to rock radio, learn all the band names, and learn all the songs by bands like Linkin Park, Disturbed, Korn and a bunch of others. I started playing guitar and it’s like I just found it and never looked back.