It is said not everyone grows up to be a professional athlete, astronaut, or rock star, but the guys from The Artificial Red aim to prove that wrong (the rock star thing, not the astronaut). Four guys raised in the Topeka area are on the verge of becoming professional musicians, and Bri Kraemer, Jay Deever, Brandon Ripley, and Thomas Long II have set their sights on world domination. Soon the whole country will be hearing about T.A.R. thanks to an upcoming national campaign on behalf of their new label, Tate Music Group. With a Hard Rock/Alternative sound, T.A.R. has had their first taste of success, winning the first round of the California Dreamin’ Tour, a competition for bands to join a professional tour. They have expanded their fan-base and industry contacts and have been approached about performing in major concerts like the upcoming
Rocklahoma. It won’t be long before T.A.R. is a serious force in the music industry.
1Q: Where did the Band name come from?
Bri – Layne Staley from Alice in Chains had another band called Mad Season, and they had a song called Artificial Red.
Bri – We found out there are other bands named Artificial Red…
Jay – So we became THE Artificial Red to differentiate us, and because we like the acronym T.A.R.
2Q: Musical inspiration?
Bri – My dad is probably responsible for a lot of the music that influenced me—Bad Company, Alice in Chains, Pink Floyd—a lot of classic bands.
Brandon – I listen to pretty much everything, but I try to find the best drummers in the industry and try to learn from what they are doing.
Jay – When I was in middle school, I stole my sister’s CDs and discovered Tool. That led me to discover Deftones, Korn, and Limp Bizkit. I picked up a guitar and started playing along.
Thomas – Fieldy from Korn, Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Tool bassists. And my dad—he was the bassist for Jabberwocky, which toured with Kansas.
3Q: How did you get started?
Bri – I was a drummer at first, and I was good—planned on playing drums for the rest of my life. Then I went to Germany with the Army, where I learned to play guitar and sing. However, I got hurt and when I returned, my drum playing was hindered. My leg wasn’t up to drum, so I focused on guitar and singing.
Brandon – I played drums in school since the 7th grade. I started just to annoy the hell out of my parents.
Jay – I’m a 3rd generation guitar player, started around 10, mainly just to impress my dad because he’s a big-time rocker. I didn’t really do much singing until I hooked back up with Bri after he left the military.
Thomas – Bass is genetic. I grew up in a rocker’s house and when I turned 14, my dad gave me my first bass.
4Q: What is success in music for you?
Bri – If I can do this for the rest of my life and be one of the greats.
Brandon – Getting music out to people and being somebody else’s inspiration one day.
Jay – To be able to keep doing this and take care of my family.
Thomas – I want a hallway lined with our records. That’s it.
5Q: Favorite local places to play?
Bri – The Celtic Fox, there’s always a great crowd there.
Jay – I liked 39th Street Bar & Grill. We did a gig for VetAid there and I had a lot of fun at that show.
Thomas – I like playing house parties.
[Story by Tony Davis | Photography by Amber O’Dell | June 2012]