When you’re working in the line of psych-jazz-rock fusion like Philadelphia’s Tetra, the job prospects aren’t exactly ample. But here’s a plot twist — the four longtime bandmates aren’t looking for a 9-to-5 in music. In fact, keeping their soothing yet scathing musical remarks outside of business is how they prefer things.
“It’s tough to speak for anyone else, but I’ve found what works for me is to separate the art from the business of it all — to play music for music’s sake,” lead singer Zachary Ryan Humenik tells Vanyaland. “Not everyone can make a living from playing music, and frankly, I don’t want to. I have a job that I like. But I can’t go to my job and scream and rip solos and say stupid satirical shit about society — that’s what my music is for. Understanding the role you want music to play in your life is a prerequisite to enjoying the way you interact with music.”
After playing together in different iterations for 12 years, the four friends have reconvened as Tetra to release the group’s first single “Weekend,” what the band calls “a tune about the modern age” and the first taste of their forthcoming album Chill Chill Mega Chill. Their other project, a bossa nova outfit called Travel Songs, still performs live, while their older group Diego Paulo has since been retired.
Starting with the sly gumption of “Weekend,” the group moves forward with their civil commentary on the unspoken codes of life and our societal superego using the best method they know.
“I have always enjoyed taking a critical eye to certain aspects of life,” Humenik adds. “I like engaging in discourse, but I find that I cannot articulate certain concepts through conversation alone. Sometimes I wonder if art can challenge socials norms more effectively than debate. That’s why we do it. A lot of our music is critical of capitalism and its influence on culture — and I think in the context of the time we live in, that is very important. I play in jazz groups and lounge acts too, but I serve a different role in those groups. In Tetra I get to be subversive and I like that.”