A metal band grows in the local scene


Annie Goodman/The Lion's Roar

After its founding in 2018, Swamp Stank, a metal band based in Baton Rouge, looks forward to continued growth and camaraderie.

Tyler Rockforte, lead guitarist, and Devin Thibodeaux, drummer, originally formed the band Swamp Stank with their friends Brendan Beach and Ian Babin. Over time, the band’s lineup changed as Babin and Beach eventually departed, and Connor Metrejean, vocalist, Chet Kolder, guitarist, and Jacob Chenevert, bassist, joined to complete the current roster.

“Being able to share and collaborate on the energy we’re producing is something you cannot feel anywhere else,” said Rockforte. “Having your brothers play side by side with you is what I love about playing music. Solo isn’t for me.”

Thibodeaux discussed the challenges of working in a band.

“It took a good while for us to get things going,” explained Thibodeaux. “We’ve practiced for months and months without a vocalist, then when Connor came in, a few songs had to have been changed up a good bit in certain areas to better fit having a singer in the mix.”

However, the difficulty of roster changes can be offset by the reward of performing.

“I love performing our music and feeding off the crowd’s energy,” shared Rockforte. “It is an indescribable feeling and gets your adrenaline pumping like nothing else.”

Though the band initially aimed to be more of a doom-style group like Monolord, the members found they enjoyed southern metal music more.

“When we started practicing together in the early days, we naturally starting playing music that leaned more towards a hard rock/southern metal sound with a lot of hooks and groove, but by no means did that limit our sound,” stated Thibodeaux. “Those heavier influences creep into our songs from time to time. I believe that our songs could hook a lot of people and will make them want to get out and have a great time at our shows.”

Rockforte believes the current band members have developed good working relationships.

“I didn’t expect us to ‘clique’ as well as we did,” shared Rockforte. “It’s to the point that we can pretty much tell what the next guy is going to do before he does it.”

The community support and local talent attracted Rockforte to the metal genre.

“You can go on a weekday to some random show and get absolutely blown away from the amount of talent some of these local guys have, and the support between them is insurmountable,” explained Rockforte.

Rockforte’s favorite memory to date is the Ventruss extended play release show at the Varsity Theatre.

“It was not only our biggest and most successful show yet as a band, but also the biggest and most successful show of my musical career,” said Rockforte.

Thibodeaux recalled a performance at the Bald Eagle Pub in Baton Rouge the weekend after the Ventruss EP release.

“It was a small place but was jam-packed with a bunch of our friends, fans and fellow members of bands we play with often,” shared Thibodeaux. “There’s no stage, so it was like playing a show in the crowd with all these people. It got a little rowdy, but it was such a fun time with all our friends having a great time. We can’t ask for a better music community to be a part of.”

Looking to the future, Swamp Stank plans an EP release later this year and to play in bigger shows. For now, merchandise and upcoming shows can be found on the band’s website swampstank.bigcartel.com.

“We actively tour the metal bar scene,” stated Rockforte. “However, playing the Varsity recently for Ventruss’ EP release show has seemed to open some doors to play some bigger venues in the future.”