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DÅZR dazzles Clemson

DAZR // Provided

Within these hills, Clemson boasts a broad music scene, with artists and creators adorning the campus, sometimes seen but often heard.

One of these artists is the local band DÅZR — a rock band heavily inspired by classic bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Guns N’ Roses and many other rock artists of the ’70s. The band consists almost entirely of current Clemson students and rocks across downtown and beyond, bringing what they feel is an underrepresented genre in Clemson’s live music scene.

DÅZR was founded in Jan. 2022 by lead guitarist and junior finance major Grant Hendrix alongside bassist and senior civil engineering major Matthew Shranko. After connecting through flyers, the two were then joined by drummer and senior psychology major Felipe Gustavo Soares.

The three were nearly ready to perform, only needing a lead vocalist to begin their rock journey. After some searching, they found their singer hidden in plain sight. The second Hendrix brother, Austin Hendrix, surprised the band with adept vocals.

“He’s my brother, and the whole time I didn’t know he could sing,” said Grant. “We had people audition at our house, and he was in the next room just listening to them. He came into my room after and said ‘Y’know, I can sing.’ I was like, ‘Since when?’”

As the group assembled, there was still uncertainty about how well they would perform together. 

Grant Hendrix described the band’s first rehearsal as one of his favorite memories since their formation. “We all played ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ together for the first time, and we were all super excited.” The band later stated in an interview with the Nashville Voyager that “we … had to find the best fit, and we did. We wouldn’t want to be doing this with anyone else.”

With the four finally together, DÅZR became whole, but much was still left to be done. The band knew the sound they wanted to bring. Amidst a sea of country and newer electronic sounds that “very few of us listen to ourselves,” said Shranko, DÅZR hoped to bring the golden age of rock back to Clemson. 

“We definitely wear our influences on our sleeves, those older classic rock vibes,” said Shranko. Grant Hendrix described their sound as “energetic,” further explaining that “if we’re out playing downtown, we want people having a good time.”

One of the greatest barriers to success in any field is getting the first person to take a chance on you. As stated before, Clemson is littered with musical artists, all with goals and triumphs of their own. 

Riding the resurgence of activity post-pandemic, along with their dedication to the classics, the name DÅZR spread through upstate South Carolina as they began performing at such venues as Thunder Tower, the Koger Center for the Arts and the Clemson RV Park. 

Shranko documented their first inside performance at New Brookland Tavern as a favorite memory from their journey. “It was the first gig where we had someone else do our sound. When Felipe started hitting his kickdrum, and we could all feel it in our chests, that was definitely a surreal experience.”

With their name and presence established in the upstate, DÅZR eventually set their first foray into downtown Clemson at Tiger Town Tavern. While new to the scene, the work they had done clearly paid off. “It was pretty packed; I mean there was a line out the door.” From there, DÅZR has continued to rock around the downtown area, their name spreading amongst the hills.

Like with any blossoming band, covers had been DÅZR’s primary performance material, but naturally, the band began to expand into personal creative endeavors. 

When it comes to songwriting, Grant Hendrix went into detail about his process: “Personally, as a guitar player I sit around and come up with riffs and ideas all the time. If I, or one of us, comes up with something that we think is worthy of turning into something, we’ll bring it forth to everybody else.”

Creating something from the ground up is no small feat and can be even more challenging when collaboration is involved, but after months of performing together DÅZR set off to write their first song. Soares recounted their experience, saying “It just kind of happened in a night. It all just flowed, and by the end of the night we were all super hyped because we’d gone from nothing to having, like, our first song.”

DÅZR’s chemistry followed them off the stage and into production, thankfully, with each member building off of the other to create a stronger and stronger sound. 

Grant Hendrix said of their strong suits, “We found out I’m good at coming up with stuff, and Shranko’s good with arranging things, so he and I worked together a lot to piece things around.” While the two worked on riffs, Austin Hendrix led the lyrical charge. “They were jamming back and forth with riffs, and I was just saying whatever, trying to get a rhythm going.”

Eventually, it all came together, and DÅZR’s first song was born, only needing a title. A few ideas were thrown about, including ‘Blood Money,’ inspired by a suspiciously red-stained dollar Soares had earned from his other job downtown. Though catchy, the band decided it was “a little too rough for us,” said Shranko. The search for the name began again, an arduous task, trying to find a simple phrase that encapsulates exactly what the song is. It wasn’t until Soares said, “It kind of sounds like it’s about a night lady,” that DÅZR found their answer.

‘Night Lady’ will be DÅZR’s first song across streaming platforms, set to release sometime in December. The band stepped into the studio on Nov. 8 and worked on several other materials, hoping to release an album early in 2023.

DÅZR has climbed incredible heights in their relatively short time together, and has no plans of stopping anytime soon. Grant Hendrix described their future aspirations as “selling out shows and stadiums; it’s what we all wanna do professionally. We wanna go as big as we can take it.”

With each show they sell out, and each song they write, DÅZR shows an inspired side of Clemson students not often seen. Though they’ve been on quite the roll, their rocking has only just begun. 

Where their path will lead them is a question for artists everywhere, but one thing is for sure: these hills have heard them roar, and they’re ready for more.

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Griffin Cobb, Senior Reporter
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