By Isabella Schneider
Cole Thomas, 24, had gone to the Tempe Festival of the Arts in 2017. Intending to jam out and have a good time. He didn’t realize he’d be joining the Tracing Faces, formally known as The Wilders, and embarking on a three-year journey making music.
Thomas wandered over to the band because they were playing his favorite Red Hot Chilli Peppers Song. He said that he noticed that their drummer sounded strange only to soon realize that the band didn’t have a drummer. He talked to Parker Olszak, the band’s bass guitarist, and they set up a jam session for Thomas to join the band.
“I joked that the drummer didn’t show up to that concert because he didn’t exist,” the band’s singer, Cole Maurer said. “I used to program the drums on my computer before every show. But then Cole (Thomas) came along and all our problems were solved.”
Maurer, Olszak, and Chris Fallon, the band’s guitarist, had been playing together for a year prior to Thomas joining the band. Since Thomas joined they have produced three EPs and performed at numerous concerts around the Valley.
The band changed their name from The Wilders to Tracing Faces after being asked by another band called The Wilders to change their name. They picked “Tracing Faces” because Maurer once wrote a song titled the same name after his old college roommate said everyone puts on faces when they go into the real world, but none of them are real.
The band’s most recent project was producing their EP “Time” last August. Maurer said that he’s more proud of “Time” than any other EP because they had finally found their sound.
“We’ve been searching for our sound for a while,” Maurer said. “We worked with a producer who we vibed with who helped us share the sound that we wanted for our EP.”
Thomas said that the band hopes to turn their EP into a full-length album within the next year. To get there, he said that the work process involves writing in the studio while they eat Italian subs. They also take plenty of naps and play around with the instruments until they find a sound they enjoy.
In addition to having fun, Thomas acknowledges that it’s important to be professional in order to find success in the music industry.
“You have to take it seriously,” Thomas said. “It can be a real thing if you want it to but you have to be organized, you have to stay on top of things, and you have to be committed to it taking time.”
The band has also found success through collaborating with local artists. Maurer said that they like to perform with other artists in order to cross fans and build a larger audience.
Despite being organized and collaborating with other artists, the band said they’ve faced many obstacles in the past 100 concerts they’ve put on. Challenges range from stage fright to having no one show up, to exploding amps.
“There was a Tuesday night show where it was raining and we only had one person show up,” Thomas said. “You have to move on from that. Our last concert we did had 100 people at it.”
Their last concert was at the Nile Theatre in Mesa. This is the band’s favorite place to perform because everyone’s huddled together. They said that when people are close together, it makes them realize that vibing with the music is all the audience is there to do.
Ultimately, the band said they hope that listeners enjoy their songs and that their music can help people.
“We try to make songs that are catchy and go to the top of peoples’ playlists,” Olszak said. “We want to make music that’s inspirational and meaningful, whether it be vocally or lyrically. We want people to always remember the songs.”
Their purpose is to share the joy of music with their fans and to inspire listeners to create their own music. While creating music is not their full-time job, they acknowledged that given the chance they’d love to go on a tour to share their songs with a wider audience.
“If we got the opportunity to go on a world tour we would take it in a second,” Thomas said. “You only live one time and that’s it, and not a lot of bands get chances like that.”
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