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ON BEAT: The Fangs

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

Preparing for their upcoming show this Saturday, The Fangs gathered to rehearse their signature sound.  The Belmont band’s roster includes sophomore lead singer Manny A., sophomore guitarist Aden Gray, sophomore bassist Travis Keys and junior drummer Giselle Ramirez.  The Fangs find inspiration from albums like “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” by My Chemical Romance, “Rio” by Duran Duran and “Is This It” by The Strokes.  The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.  Where did the name “The Fangs” come from? 

Manny: Originally, we were named The Phantoms, and this happened around December of last year. We were like there are too many bands with that name. So, we sat in my apartment for about an hour trying to come up with names, and we came up with the worst names you’ve ever heard. Then I said The Fangs has to be taken, but it wasn’t taken. That’s how we became The Fangs, and our first show was February 11th, 2022. It’s almost a year old now.  How was the band started?

Manny: Me and Giselle met off our love for Pop-Funk when we were about 14 or 15. We grew up together back in Miami. Living the wildlife, as wild as a high schooler. I was looking for a guitar player, and one night Aden came into my apartment. I was looking for a guitar player, and I said you’re going to be in my band. He said okay. Then Travis came to my apartment, and he said I’m going to be in your band. And I said okay.  What is the band’s main genre?

Manny: That’s a question I often ponder myself. Funk-punk I guess is the real name for it. I wanted to start a punk band and then I met Aden Gray, and from there it all went downhill. There’s a lot of punk influence. We love the Ramones, all that 2000 Punk. “My Chemical Romance” is also a huge influence, but we take it back to funk.

Aden: I grew up with all the main guitar stuff that every guitarist plays like Nirvana, Foo Fighters and Led Zepplin, but I got into jazz, pop, funk, r&b and writing my own stuff. I love taking something, putting other things in it and making a big concoction. That’s my style, I guess. Travis is probably the funkiest, I think.

Giselle: First, I had my pop-punk emo phase, and then in high school I was in a group of people who were funk-jazz musicians. So, I started listening to Wolf Pack all the time and other similar bands. That’s where my funk started. Then, I came here and started playing jazz, so the funk intensified. But all of us really are kind of funky musicians.

Travis: I’d say I have a background similar to everyone. I started classical with upright bass and then transitioned to electric bass. Punk has always been a big influence musically. I’ll always love motown and r&b. Like Aden, I also like pop music. It’s definitely good to have multiple backgrounds.  Why are bands important to the music industry?

Aden: Solo artists, even if they are solo, are going to have people fill the roles of a band, like guitarists and writers, but in a band, the entire identity is tied to the band members from start to finish. You’re not hiring someone to write lyrics for you. All the ideas come from your identity as a group of people, which I think is fun.  How is the Belmont scene for the band?

Travis: It has been great for us. The scene is pretty cool because it’s driven by artists and musicians. There are so many here and everyone wants to be in the scene contributing to themselves while also supporting others. It’s a big help for everyone involved.  What are the challenges with creating a fanbase at Belmont?

Aden: Oversaturation. Every single person is in a band. It’s hard to stick out, but we have Manny. 

Travis: You really have to push if you do want to stick out. Even when it comes to booking shows and meeting people, you have to push to connect and make things happen. People here don’t want to hear the same thing, especially when you’re around a lot of artists and musicians. They don’t want to go to the same show because they have the awareness.  What advice would you give other bands entering the Belmont scene?

Giselle: Don’t view other bands and artists as competition and be genuine.

Manny: Get a good group of musicians in your band. Do it with your friends. These guys are my best friends, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. Being friends with your band makes life so much easier. Do something new. It’s hard in this day and age to do something new but dig for it. If you have an original idea, you can execute and can market it well. That’s your money. 

Photo courtesy of The Fangs

This interview was conducted by Cameron Lewis. Contributory reporting by Kyle Patton

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