The Underlying Factor is a band from Houston, Texas. I saw these guys play at a venue called Walters and I’ve been hooked on their sound and energy ever since. Being a multi-genre band that can actually play the genres they attempt is rare and its something I’ve always wanted to find and these guys do it well. Give them a listen sometime!
(Our interview with Spencer Fort of TUF)
Q: Could you please introduce yourself?
A: My name is Spencer Fort and I’m the lead vocalist of The Underlying Factor, a rock band from Houston, TX.
Q: How did TUF come about?
A: I had always had little bands and musical groups growing up because it was something I loved doing, especially with friends. I would put together a small band for a school talent show or carnivals and do covers, but I never really wrote for rock bands because I mostly wrote acoustic music and would record it in my bedroom, so the idea of having a real band was never a very serious one for me until I met Ben Pogue, our bass player. He and I were best friends almost instantly when we put a small music group together for a male pageant at our school (not TUF, just another temporary cover band). We played the show, and he realized I wanted to do music as much as he did. Ben then got asked to work backstage at the main stage at Houston’s Free Press Summer Fest 2012, a massive music festival, and when they told him he could bring a friend, he called me instantly. After seeing all of the amazing shows and how amazing the crowds were (neither of us had seen a concert before that) we realized how badly we wanted to perform. I later went to Warped Tour for my birthday and after seeing Sleeping With Sirens, Memphis May Fire, Of Mice and Men, and Mayday Parade I knew I had to have this experience, and that’s when Ben and I called up some old friends, guitarist Parker Sims and drummer Ryan Alder, to get the band we have today, The Underlying Factor.
We got our first show in September of 2012 when a band dropped from a local lineup. The show was with Divisions, Design the Skyline, and A Candle Lit City, and we gladly took it. From there we began to get booked for more shows until we decided to make the EP we currently have out, which is A Paradox at its Finest, and from there, we’ve just been doing what we do and loving every second of it. I’m really blessed to get to work with such amazing guys and it’s exciting to be a part of something that keeps growing the way TUF has.
Q:You have played with bands such as Divisions and Fear and Wonder as well as others. How is it sharing the stage with these guys?
A: Sharing stages with bands like Divisions and Fear and Wonder is always a treat. I love to work with these bands, they’ve all been great musicians and great people. Both Divisions and Fear and Wonder bring amazing shows and audiences, and all of the bands I’ve worked with have given me a huge appreciation for Houston’s local music scene. For me personally, my favorite band I’ve ever shared a stage with was Outline in Color. Trevor and K.C. are both really awesome guys and their show is absolutely incredible. I could go on for hours about the bands we get to play with; I have nothing but positive things to say about them.
Q: In one of your songs you feature Kendra Fort, who happens to be your sister. She does a fantastic job on her parts and this leads me to ask, is there any chance she’ll be in any upcoming songs?
A: We have begun writing for our full length album and there’s definitely the possibility of having Kendra sing on more songs. She did an awesome job on Cut Me Deeper and we all enjoy having her around. The only reason we haven’t put her in the band as an official member is because she’s only 13 and the band life would be pretty demanding for a kid that’s only in the 7th grade, but we’ve had a rather good audience response to Kendra singing on our songs, and I’d like to have her sing on more. Plus, it’s really cool to see her having so much fun since she’s my little sister. It really makes me feel like I’m a good big brother, and that’s always important to me.
Q:The first song on your EP “This Sounded Better On Paper” is about a young boy who was left by his father and is now singing to his ghost. Where did the inspiration come from for this particular song?
A: This Sounded Better on Paper was not actually written about any of the band members. We all have two parents and supportive families, which we’re happy about, but we knew that audiences like to be able to relate to songs, and many people have been walked out on. Many of my friends had gone through those kinds of situations, so I was able to bounce off of other’s stories.
Q:We were talking earlier about your song “Masquerade”. Could you please tell us about that particular song?
A: Masquerade is my favorite song from the EP. I had written it when I was 14 but never got a chance to do anything with it because like I said, the idea of being in a band had never crossed my mind. Once TUF was formed, Masquerade was the first song I wanted to work on with the band and right now it’s our most popular song. It incorporates a little bit of everything each member loves in it, which I find extremely cool. Parker loves metal music, and the guitar riffs incorporate a lot of elements from that genre, while the drumming has punk influence, which is Ryan’s favorite style. I really like the fact that I get to go back to my primary instrument, piano, with Masquerade. I’ve been playing it since I was six, so I’m a little kid in a candy shop when I get to touch piano keys in our songs. Masquerade is the song that defines us as a group the most. Another thing I really enjoy about the song is that we add a new section to it when we play it live, so it gives the audience members more of a chance to be excited to see us live than any other song. I really enjoy playing it and hope that people continue to like it.
Q: You seem to be a band that is talented at conquering a lot of different sounds. With your first song being heavy and another song having a pop/ punk feel to it, do you guys have a sound that you specialize in?
A: I wouldn’t say that we have one specialized sound because I think our versatility is something that we would consider our specialty. It allows a larger variety of audience members, which makes it fun for us because we never know what to expect. Each show comes out differently than the last one, and that’s always fun for me. I just really like the fact that some people will hear our pop punk song “We’ll Call This Punk Rock” and listen to the rest of the CD only to be introduced to styles they’ve never heard before. I’ve even had people tell me that they normally hate post-core but that they really love the way we do it, so I really enjoy pushing people beyond their normal limits and having them be thankful for it. The other thing it lets us do is play with a variety of groups. We get to play with screamo bands like Myka Relocate and we also get to play with chill Indie groups like Red Box Harbor. It’s just fun to be free to go down whatever musical path we want, so I like the liberty of it.
Q: Is there any chance of you guys touring anytime soon?
A: We’ve begun making a few tour plans. None of them are confirmed or set, but we’re definitely trying to start making a tour happen. It would finally give us a chance to play for our fans outside of Houston. I know we have people wanting to hear us play in Miami, Florida and surprisingly in Singapore as well as lots of other cities and states. I doubt we would be able to get as far as Singapore at first, but if we get a tour together, playing a show for our fans in Miami and other states would finally be possible for us. We’re currently planning one that will most likely happen during the summer, we just don’t have anything guaranteed yet.
Q:Do you have a place where potential future fans can hear your music?
A: All of our music is on iTunes, YouTube and Spotify, as well as on our warped tour battle of the bands page. It’s also on a bunch of sites I don’t really know anything about. Basically, our EP can be found anywhere you can find music. We’re looking at releasing a live acoustic song here pretty soon too, so stay tuned, and if you happen to be able to catch me with a guitar, I’m always willing to play a few tunes for anyone who asks me.
Q: Do you have anything to add?
A: I’ve talked a lot about the band and future plans for it, but I never got to talk about what I really want to do with my music. I want to inspire my generation to choose their own path. I was bullied a lot growing up because of a lot of things, music being one of them, and I had a lot of anger built up in me. I’ve been told and am still told to quit because “music is only for fags and losers” but I never did, and I’m glad I didn’t. I wouldn’t take back anything I’ve gotten to do with the band and I absolutely love it, so one of my biggest goals in life is to be an inspirational figure for kids like me and tell them that the world is going to be hard and attempt to make you quit but you never can. You have to keep doing what you love, because your passion is the only thing that can never be taken away from you. It’s difficult to make a big difference when I’m not anywhere near being a person that people view as a hero, but even if I only helped one person with this, that would be success to me. Other than that topic though, I love everyone who has helped support the things I do and want to thank them deeply. They’re the only reason I get to do any of this, and I really look forward to seeing them and meeting new people in the future as the band continues to grow.
Interview By: Joseph Tucker
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