With a campus and student body the size of ASU, one would expect the independent music scene to be huge.
As it turns out, size, in fact, does not matter.
ASU’s music scene has proven be more disorganized than a childhood game of cops and robbers. With almost no unity and cross-genre promotion among artists, few scenes on campus have been able to truly thrive. Bands and artists looking to make a name for themselves will often turn to the outskirts of Phoenix before they look to campus.
In response to this dilemma, ASU psychology sophomore Khayree Billingslea founded The Underground Foundation (TUF), a student organization dedicated to solidifying an independent music scene, culture and social network at ASU.
“When I first came here my freshman year, there was no infrastructure. There were organizations for someone like me, [but] no one to represent the Indy or hardcore kid,” Billingslea said. “The hipsters sort of had their own commune, but the lone punk was kind of left to wander. I just wanted to do something where they could all come together and share their ideas.”
So far TUF has recruited roughly 40 members and is constantly expanding its roster.
The club seeks to make an impact on ASU’s campus by engaging in music-centered philanthropic activities, such as putting on shows, and tirelessly promoting local bands and artists, said Billingslea. Once every week, TUF meets to discuss how to allocate funding for new events and shows.
“We want to leave a positive impact on the ASU community,” Billingslea said. “We just recently put on a benefit show for a close friend of mine, Bryan Kenealy, who recently passed away, to help out with his family and friends in the wake of the tragedy.”
The Underground Foundation has already started planning for an acoustic show, in which local underground acts can showcase their music to likeminded college students. This show is just the second of many that The Underground Foundation is planning for ASU.
Billingslea said that in addition to making an impact on the music community, he wants to make a community where fans of independent music can come together and make new friends, all while acting as a productive, creative unit.
Throughout meetings, Billingslea tries to maintain a fun atmosphere for members, weaving in jokes and allowing for members to get to know each other and interact.
“We [The Underground Foundation] just want to give them a community and something to do, instead of sitting in their room, alone, listening to music like I did freshman year.”
Even though it was started at the beginning of this semester, the organization has raised nearly $600. Currently, they are still awaiting USG funding and more member dues.
“We’re sort of like a frat,” said Billingslea. He laughed. “Save for the fact that everyone is welcome and we have good taste in music.”
Club meetings are held every Tuesday at 9 p.m. in the Refectory at The Barrett Honors College.
For more information on the The Underground Foundation and how to join, you can visit their page on Facebook or e-mail Khayree Billingslea at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com