Even though I do get genuinely excited about everything I write about here, there are some things that hit closer to home for me than others. The Underground Foundation (TUF) is one of those things for a lot of reasons. TUF is an ASU organization that brings together students “dedicated to solidifying and improving an independent music scene at Arizona State University and her surrounding cities.” Or at least that’s the official story on TUF’s facebook page. In reality, TUF is more than that. Because I can’t say it better than TUF president Khayree Billingslea, here’s our Q&A.
1) How did TUF get started? I keep hearing that this whole thing was basically your brainchild.
Well, it’s the brainchild of a lot of people. Old friends of mine from the local hardcore scene decided something like this needed to be made because we became increasingly aware that college life, “ASU Living,” or whatever other buzzwords there exist to describe the depersonalizing experience of wandering through this massive campus, wasn’t giving us what we wanted as “individuals.” I, being the kind of an impulsive son of a b**** who lets idealism and angst converge in his heart and drag him by the nose, said we needed to get together some of our favorite people and make an organization to attract more people who could become our favorite people, and produce our favorite things: music, shows, social events, cool T-shirts, art, zines, puppies — we’re working on making puppies –, fixed-gear rides, jokes about genitalia, YouTube vomit, cigarette smoking, and hanging out.
2) Did you make a conscious effort to create a group that’s sort of a departure from the majority of what goes on at ASU? Because I think just the concept of supporting underground music (or underground anything) is pretty antithetical to what ASU is known for.
Short answer: No. Long answer: F*** YES, WE DID!
I didn’t start this thinking, “F*** ASU, man. Everthing sucks. Let’s do something that doesn’t suck!” I just knew I wasn’t happy, and wanted to be happier. I realized hanging out with my friends and likeminded people made me happy, so I did what would maximize the conditions for my joy. Long answer, I pledged a frat, realized I don’t like being hazed any more than I like dealing with jocks to the tune of cliche house beats, and was outraged that even once I left I had to listen to their a**hat music when they tabled the MU. In response, I like blasting Dead Swans, The Ghost Inside, and Odd Future when we table. There are moments when I think of TUF as a middle finger to “the establishment” and others when I love it for its own sake, basically.
3) What’s been your favorite part of being involved in TUF?
Seeing students getting to meet other students at TUF meetings and events. They start out as strangers and almost always end up laughing, smiling, and insulting one another like old friends. That’s what makes me happy; seeing people insult each other with honest smiles on their faces. I also love seeing the members put together epic shows and events on their own, without having done it before. It’s like they get to make things happen, without permission, just because they wanted to do something sick, which is the reason TUF came to exist in the first place.
4) If someone wants to get involved, when/where do you guys meet?
If you want to get involved with TUF you should seek therapy…. if you would rather just go to a meeting, they’re held at 9pm in MU224, but it changes on occasion to different rooms on that floor of the MU.
Upcoming TUF events include a show at The Fixx featuring Mouse Powell, and a benefit house show for Samaritan Care Foundation featuring Puer Aeternus, The Fair and Debonaire, and We Still Dream. Like TUF on facebook, or visit their website for more info.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.