They’re only amateur in name.
The founding members of local band Amateur -- Chris Tauzell and Brody Heinzel -- will perform as a duo 7-9 p.m. Friday, at Taco JED.
Tauzell, on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, and Heinzel, on lead guitar, first connected in a television production class as high school juniors.
After discovering a shared love of the band The Black Keys and learning they lived within a block, the pair started to jam. They’ve been making music together ever since.
Heinzel describes their sound as “indie pop-rock with a hint of blues, garage rock, and jazz.” “We have high-energy songs with catchy riffs and slow moody songs with a serene atmospheric vibe” he said. Tauzell described their style as a “well-put-together musical soup that’s bound to have ingredients that you like.”
The full band, which includes Justin Tauzell (drums), Jonathan Tauzell (piano), and Alex Ortberg (bass), has been recording an album of original music called “Every Little Thing” that they hope to release this winter.
If you’re considering checking out the duo this Friday, Heinzel promised “you will get to meet some cool people, eat tacos, and see my mullet blow in the wind as we throw down the vibe for the evening.”
Tauzell and Heinzel took some the time to answer questions.
How did you first get interested in music?
Tauzell: “I got into music by watching and hearing my younger brother Jonathan play drums. I got this ambition of wanting to play music with him, so I decided to teach myself how to play guitar.”
Heinzel: “My interest in music started when I was a child seeing my grandfather play guitar. I’ll never forget when I first heard him play. There was something mystical about it. I remember having the biggest smile on my face and studying closely at his fingers to see how he made the guitar sing.”
Why name your band ‘Amateur?’
Tauzell: “I found out that there's a separate meaning for the name in Latin — "purely for the love of it" — which means more to us now because that's why we keep playing.”
Your full band had some high profile shows this year like opening for Poliça at Down by the Riverside. What are some highlights?
Tauzell: “Opening up for Poliça meant a whole lot to us because it never seemed like anyone ever wanted to throw us a bone. It just felt great to be up on that big stage in front of all those people who actually enjoyed us. There was a line of people I've never met before buying our shirts and asking for autographs.
The other show I've gotta mention is the Thesis anniversary party. That was so much fun, and I'm so glad that place is still around.”
Heinzel: “The biggest highlight for me playing at the Riverside show was being able to feed off the crowd’s energy. That was the biggest show we have played so far, and seeing all those people sitting in front of me was a blast. It was fun being able to move around on the big stage and interact with the crowd.”
What’s the key to a good Amateur song?
Tauzell: “The emotion and feel we get out of it. … I’ll come to the band with a guitar riff or progression, and we mainly work off of that and just see where it goes.”
Heinzel: “We utilize a lot of dynamics in our popular songs, and I think that is what keeps people engaged.”
If You Go
Where: Taco JED, 808 Broadway Ave. S., Rochester
When: 7-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15