Image: Sejo Basic
“How about there?” I asked, with a video camera in one hand and the other pointing toward one of the ramadas at Papago Park, where we’d eventually set up the interview. I was with Tempe local and electronic artist Tribal Leader, and we had been hiking for a few minutes now on the paved path, dodging bicyclists and runners on their way out. “Should be easy to catch the sunset and a view of the skyline and park,” I continued. He agreed almost immediately, seemingly up for anything — an easy going guy. But don’t be fooled: As relaxed as he may seem, get him talking about his music, and it’s clear he has a passion for it. And it’s exactly what I witnessed during my interview with him.
Tribal Leader’s real name? Cory Bergquist, and he’s been performing live shows at smaller, local venues for nearly four years now under the moniker. He describes his music as “twisting, turning, jumping, head-banging and stomping — in both slow motion and real time — all at once.” Upon listening to a few tracks, you get the sense that, sure, the tracks are powerful and driving, but there’s something else… His music is both melodic and aggressive, both delicate and unbridled.
He’s played everywhere from the Trunk Space to Sail Inn (R.I.P.) — whether it be solo or as part of a his other project, Bit-Flip. The group encourages local EDM artists to connect, network and perform shows together, in hopes of not only getting their names out there to the public, but to also show Phoenix that, yes, there’s an underground electronic scene worth knowing about.
In our interview with Bergquist, he talks about everything from the importance of live shows to his new EP Rule. (He discusses Bit-Flip in detail, too — and that video is forthcoming, so stay tuned.)
Ladies and gents, it’s time to meet the man behind the moniker: