Many of you may not be familiar with the band Tetrarch (a band which I only recently became familiar with myself) or their guitarist, Diamond Rowe. Diamond has the distinction of being not only female in what is still a male-dominated world, but also a woman of color. Black musicians and bands have been integral to the development of rock and roll but rarely in the last few decades have those musicians been female. Diamond blows all expectations out of the water by shredding the fuck out of a guitar and letting the crowd realize she’s there to melt their faces, not to make a social or political point. Lucky for me, they’re playing the Exit 111 festival later this year and I’ll be there with VIP tickets thanks to my oldest friend, Jeremy. That’s enough about me, let’s talk about Tetrarch and Diamond Rowe!
Interview by Jim Dodge
Mass Movement: What or who inspired you to start playing music?
Diamond Rowe: Honestly, once I got into heavier music, I just naturally progressed into wanting to be involved in some way. I was always a kid that when I got into something, I wanted to go all in and be a part of it 100% so it was no different when I heavily got into music. Once I started playing I was inspired every single day by watching and listening to my favorite bands and guitar players.
MM: Did you start out on guitar?
Diamond: Guitar is the first instrument that I HEAVILY got into and had immense passion for but before that I played flute in school and the bass drum in marching band.
MM: Who were your early influences?
Diamond: I had so many, but mainly guys like James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett from Metallica, Dimebag from Pantera, Slash, Mark Morton, and Willie Adler from Lamb of God, Munky and Head from Korn, Jim Root and Mick Thompson from Slipknot, and the list goes on!
MM: How did your family and friends react to your desire to learn guitar?
Diamond: Great! My parents were pretty stoked about it actually, especially when they saw how passionate I was about it. They really just loved that I found something that I loved that much. I never put the guitar down, even when I went to the bathroom it came with me. Still to this day my parents fly out to shows and festivals. I have an amazing support, system that’s for sure.
MM: Is it difficult to persuade listeners to accept you as the talented musician you are rather than a gimmick?
Diamond: To be honest, the persuading part is really easy. Not to sound cocky, but it usually doesn’t take long for people to understand what I am all about. I try to be the best at what I do and at the very least I want to continue on the legacy and foundation that all of my favorite bands have paved the way for and it would be a disservice to those guys and myself if I just got on stage and relied on the sole fact that I look different to carry Tetrarch. It’s awesome to be able to inspire others that may not fit the average mold but I am not shy to show people that I’m out to take no prisoners when doing this. No one is safe!
MM: What made you decide to pursue a career in music?
Diamond: It was a
very natural transition and decision. When Josh and I started Tetrarch we knew
instantly that this wasn’t going to just be a hobby. We had a blast with it
every second but we wanted more than just to be club slug if that makes sense.
We didn’t know how we were going to get to where we wanted to be exactly but we
knew we had a long journey ahead and that we wanted to be one of the biggest
bands in the world. Even from the beginning.
MM: Has an audience ever made you feel uncomfortable?
Diamond: We’ve never really felt “uncomfortable” per se but we have had some crowds where we were like “what the fuck are we doing here?” Like one time we played a straight up hardcore festival in San Antonio, TX and there were like 600 kids there. There were two rooms and two stages so everyone was bouncing back and forth watching bands. We were so excited for our set time and when we hit the stage literally EVERYONE went outside because we weren’t “hardcore”. They didn’t even give us a chance. We played to about seven people tops but as usual we played our hearts out to those seven people!
MM: Are there challenges you face that aren’t related to your gender or ancestry?
Diamond: I get asked this a lot and everything has been really good for me for the most part. I think I’ve faced a lot of the challenges that most bands and musicians do in general when trying to navigate through the industry and get to the top but who I am has honestly been a blessing in disguise for us. In the beginning people doubted me a lot when they saw me hit the stage but that doubt didn’t last too long fortunately! I’ve been very fortunate because not everyone has the same experience.
MM: What is the most amazing thing about playing with Tetrarch?
that’s a good question. There are so many amazing things about playing with
this band. To start, I could not pick any three other guys that I would want to
take this journey with. They are the most devoted, relentless and talented guys
I have ever met. Nothing ever gets them down and they know where we are going
and It’s so nice to be surrounded by that. They’re my brothers. Also, it has
been amazing to just work hard and bust through every block or barrier we have
ever had as a band. Literally, everything we have accomplished someone at some
point told us it wouldn’t be possible so now we get a kick out of just proving
people wrong and reaching goals. It just feels good to accomplish goals in
anything you work hard for. I love it. All of it.
MM: Where do you see yourself in the 2020s?
new music! We have been working super hard on a product that I really think is
going to shake up the heavy music world, especially from an up and coming band.
There’s no other new bands out there doing what we’re doing or openly aspiring
to doing the things that we are and we are definitely using that to our
advantage. That mindset hasn’t failed us this far. We also have some MASSIVE
touring plans. I CAN’T WAIT to be able to talk about that.
MM: What would you say to other musicians that defy stereotypes to play the music they love?
Diamond: I think it’s awesome! It’s such a rewarding feeling to do something outside of what’s normal and be good at it. There’s so many musicians doing incredible things now and its good to see! Keep it up!!