Tetrachromat: Transcending limits

Tetrachromat: Transcending limits

by Caitlin Cohen


photo by Tommy Calderon


Tetrachromat has become cozy within the Bellingham music scene. Nathan Malick (ambient guitar), Frank Rowland (rhythm guitar), Ethan Wilson (bass), and Josh Pehrson (drums) have made friendships that coincidentally connected them to people within the music community. The progressive metal band is hoping the release of their EP, Chrysanthemum, on Nov. 4 will expand their reach to the Seattle scene.


“We just want to hold a copy of our music—something that we put a lot of time, effort, and love into. We just want to listen to it, enjoy it, and reflect our process that was required to realize the goal,” Pehrson said. “In Bellingham, people are starting to hear our name more often and get excited when we play shows. That’s all we could ask for. Releasing music online will be a huge step up to connect with promoters in Seattle and also having a wider reach outside of Seattle.”


The band is really into the idea of concept albums. With the intention for the EP to flow together into one package, Tetrachromat put a lot of thought into the names and themes within the EP.


“The songs are ordered as follows: ‘Chrysanthemum,’ ‘Kodama,’ ‘Vostok,’ ‘Aperture Dream,’ and ‘Startapper,’” said Pehrson, “The song names and order loosely refer to the idea of ‘the chrysanthemum’, the final climax in a dream or, more specifically, a drug trip, where you enter into a completely unique, fresh state of being, disconnected from who you were beforehand.”


Not only did they carefully select the names of each song on Chrysanthemum, they also have a very specific reason behind their band name.


“Tetrachromacy is the state of having four independent color channels, allowing an organism to see in four specific color spectra – we, similarly, occupy four different sonic spectra with the use of four different instruments,” Said Pehrson. “We have four people who play different instruments; we’re all sort of locked into our own color spectrums. We’re all combining our sound into one tetrachromatic idea.”


Coming from multiple musical backgrounds, the group uses their ambient layering to contrast structured guitar solos with experimental sounds.


Malik has played with many local bands and runs the Mosh Eisley house show venue. Pehrson shifted from piano to drums. He also wrote his own songs and experimented with DIY recording. Rowland and Wilson both played in jazz bands.


“The way Ethan plays the bass comes from him being more into aggressive, hardcore music. Frank has a classically trained background but with his extended range guitar, he’s taken some influence from classic shred guitarists and some modern metal. Nathan has a six-string guitar and a bunch of pedals that produce a really thick, ambient sound,” said Pehrson.


Tetrachromat is also an entirely instrumental band.


“We want our music to be accessible for everybody and it’s most accessible when people can not rely on a human voice to sort of express how they should be feeling at a given moment in a song,” Pehrson said.


Each member is currently balancing school and work in addition to their music. Nathan volunteers for music related projects while balancing one to two jobs. Pehrson studies industrial design and is a competitive swimmer at Western Washington University.


Outside of their busy lifestyles, they love hanging out with the rest of the music scene.


“With Nathan joining our band and running Mosh Eisley, we have such a direct connection to the music scene. We have to credit that being part of the success we’ve had. We have a really good knack for surrounding ourselves with good people who are creative and want to collaborate,” Pehrson said. “It’s a really symbiotic arrangement with all these bands and house show venues. Everyone’s helping each other out, it’s a really pure environment.”


Tetrachromat releases Chrysanthemum on Bandcamp on Nov. 4 and will also be playing at the Shakedown that date. Later in the month, their official release show will be all ages. Within the next couple of weeks, their EP will be also available on Spotify, iTunes and Google Play. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page for these details: https://www.facebook.com/tetrachromatnw/