Interview Done By Mike Wilkerson
MW: Please introduce yourself or the band?
TUF: The Underlying Factor is a four piece band from Houston, TX, made up of vocalist Spencer Fort, guitarist Parker Sims, bassist Ben Pogue, and drummer Ryan Alder.
MW: Tell me about your band?
TUF: We’ve been told by many people that we are an “eclectic” band because for one, our music is drawn from many many different genres. Spencer, the singer, listens to a lot of different styles, from Mayday Parade and John Mayer to Of Mice & Men. Guitarist Parker Sims however mostly listens to heavy metal like Children of Bodom and All Shall Perish. Ben Pogue on the other hand is mostly influenced with his bass playing by bands like Switchfoot and Skillet, while our drummer, Ryan, has always listened to bands like Blink-182 and Underoath. The second reason we’re considered eclectic is because we appeal to a large audience, and so we get a lot of diverse audience members. We’ll see members wearing shirts from Asking Alexandria with tattoos and gauges standing right next to a kid in khaki shorts and a polo, and for us to see such an arrangement of audience members is really cool.
MW: How young is each member?
TUF: Spencer is 16 years old, but Ryan Parker and Ben are all 17 years old. We’re a fairly young group but many people mistake us for an older group when we perform, which is a good thing.
MW: How did you get started in music?
TUF: We’ve all been doing music since we were very little by ourselves, but none of us really thought to join a band until Ben and Spencer worked backstage at the Free Press Summerfest in Hosuton and decided to get a band together so they could play on festivals like that. Then Ben introduced Spencer to Ryan at a Family Force 5 concert, and Spencer remembered going to middle school with Parker, so for the most part, the band was just kind of randomly formed and most of it was inspired by live performances we’ve seen. From there, we met Spencer Hargis (an independent booking agent when we first met him who now is in charge of Total Booking Agency) by filling in an empty slot on one of his shows and he got us on most of our shows.
MW: How long has the band been together?
TUF: We have been a band for 3 months now, and we have worked nonstop during this time to improve and get as good as we can get.
MW: Have you recorded any original songs yet?
TUF: Our EP, A Paradox at its Finest, is finished now and we’re simply waiting to release it. It has 5 original tracks on it including our two most popular songs We’ll Call This Punk Rock, and Masquerade. We recorded it at GreatDepths Studios and are extremely excited to share it with everyone.
MW: Where can they be listened to?
TUF: We have released an acoustic version of We’ll Call This Punk Rock on YouTube, which you can hear at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLv96wtD-cE&feature=BFa&list=FLG39v1VXKT8m6pW9mDAOjvg also, if you subscribe to the channel, you’ll be the first to hear about any new upcoming albums, music, or shows.
MW: Where is the band from?
TUF: The Underlying Factor is from Houston, TX.
MW: Do you all get to play out much?
TUF: We were first booked for a show on September 15th at a venue called Mango’s, and since then we’ve always had an upcoming show. We’ve been very fortunate to play with bands like School Boy Humor, Consider Me Dead, Divisions, Boy Epic, Red Box Harbor, and A Candle Lit City. We’re also very excited for a show we have coming up on December 15th. We’ll be playing with a band we all like called Myka Relocate and we’re excited to play with such a big band. The shows have been great and we hope they continue to be great and to have such great audiences.
MW: How is the music scene where you live?
TUF: We are extremely happy to be in Houston. The music scene here is just so diverse and you can travel only 10 minutes to see a great show. Even people that aren’t in bands really appreciate the scene, and so for us to be in a band and get a lot of opportunities and connections purely because of the area is just a blessing to all of us and we’re so happy we’re here.
MW: Do you have merchandise for sale? Where can fans buy it?
TUF: We’re still working on getting merchandise. All of our budget went to making the new album so we have to wait until we make a bit of it back before we can release merchandise.
M: Tell me about School Jam?
TUF: School Jam is a competition for high school bands across the nation. It’s online and everyone competes for a $5000 grand prize and a trip to play in Germany. It’s a pretty cool competition and it gives all of the bands exposure, which is very good just in general, and on top of that it supports the arts side of high schools, which has recently taken a pretty big hit with budget cuts, so we’re really happy to be a part of it and to help out schools around the nation.
MW: What is the link for fans to vote for your band?
MW: What would you like to say in closing?
TUF: Thanks to everyone who helped out with everything. We’ve had so much help along the way from a lot of people and there’s too many to list here, but just thanks to everyone for everything. Even if you feel like what you did was small, every bit of it helped. You’re the best!