Harmonizing Through Acoustics

Two musicians from Maize join forces together and experience the joy of musical adventures with their Hip-hop and R&B creations.

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Photo by Bridget Johnson and Graphic by Alexis Baty

This potential album cover for Quiroz and Johnson’s first album uses color and shapes to emphasize a psychedelic vibe for their music. “Once we release this stuff that would be very cool for this, but when I work on individual stuff, I want a simple vibe with a few colors and a solo artist album kind of a deal,” Johnson said. The magazine style letters stand out from regular fonts and add dynamic structure to the cover.

Piper Pinnetti and Bridget Johnson

One presses the keys of the piano while the other jumps from one computer monitor to another. The recording of the piano keys combines with lyrics and edited together with the clicks of a just a few buttons.

This is the music making process of Maize South High junior Fabrizio Quiroz and Maize High senior Tate Johnson. Despite an upbringing in opposite schools, the two joined together in music collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic roughly six months ago.

Music was introduced to the two during a young age. For Quiroz, the piano keys have been familiar since age four and has incorporated his piano experience into music for years afterwards.

Interview by Sam White-The OneMa1ze Show

“The first song I learned was ‘Purple Rain’ by Prince when I was four,” Quiroz said. “Now I mainly play the piano for our music and Tate plays the guitar.”

Johnson was introduced to the piano during elementary school and later the guitar prior to middle school. Johnson was to sit down while the instructors told him what to do and what to play. Eventually, he took a few year gap until the beginning of his high school career.

“I quit the piano after a couple years because I did not like it or the way I was being taught and quit the guitar afterwards for the same reason,” Johnson said. “Around freshman and sophomore year when I began getting into choir, I began to teach myself the guitar and enjoyed it again.”

Eventually, the two met with mutual friends at the Chick-fil-A on Maize Road about a year ago. Quiroz shared his interest in various artists such as Tom Misch, Jacob Collier, and Daniel Caesar that began their friendship. Eventually, Quiroz expressed an interest in recording music.

“At one point I told him that I wanted to record some music because I had been writing a lot of songs during quarantine,” Quiroz said. “Then Tate told me that he has a studio in his room and that we should get together and start creating some music.”

The unnamed duo has been collaborating since. However, going to different schools with opposite atmospheres, schedules, and sports teams has left the friends with barely any time to hang out together and create music.

“It is tough, we don’t have as much time to get together and record than we used to,” Quiroz said. “Setting a time and place has been difficult for us, but we have made the most of it every time.”

Johnson not only balances school five days a week with working at Panera, but is also involved in sports year round such as cross-country, swim, and track. Quiroz balances school, his job at Qdoba, and participating in the Wichita Swim Club.

The year age difference also will introduce another challenge for the creators. Following this school year, Johnson plans to attend Kansas University to major in astronautical engineering or trekking to the U.S. Naval Academy, which will be at least two and a half hours away from the Maize district.

“Once I go away to college, I think the reality will be more like me focusing on my own stuff and him focusing on his own stuff,” Johnson said. “But during breaks we will meet up and join forces again and collaborate more every chance we can.”

The creators are utilizing the time they have together by putting everything they can into their music before Johnson leaves for next year’s first semester. For them, this is the prime time to mix their styles together when their schedules will open up soon at the end of May.

During this time, the boys will have the opportunity to work on their first release: an Extended Play (EP). This means that the release of their music will most likely be three to six songs in what is a smaller version of an album.

Video by Lakin Zamorano

“We are thinking about working on an EP this summer and hopefully releasing that is a step towards an album,” Johnson said. “Pretty soon, probably within the next month or so, we will release it on streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and more.”

The first step of sharing their art is virtual rather than in-person performing due to the COVID-19 restrictions as well as just a quick way to introduce themselves. With Johnson at Maize High, he is able to grab one audience while Quiroz reels in Maize South High.

Online releases are instant and with one tap of the bright screen, their audience listens in a comfortable setting and connects with the content independently. The next step? Giving their fans an opportunity to hear their music live.

“There is a lot that we want to do. We want to work on songs together and one day even get a band together and perform around town,” Quiroz said. “I think that would be really cool and we could get ourselves out there in the world.”

Although a majority of performers are driven by the thought of people cheering for them in the audience, the duo is driven by personal satisfaction and adventuring through the world of music.

Their musical creations may only be reserved for weekends, but Johnson and Quiroz are joining forces to enjoy the music making process and discover new ideas, voices, and art in themselves. While still appreciating the fans they gather, their main focus is having fun, collaborating with each other and other artists, and seeing how far they can take their music career.

“The big thing for us is to enjoy ourselves and see how much we can progress making music and to see how far we go together,” Quiroz said. “By ‘progress’ I don’t mean how popular we get, but how far we grow, what we can do with our music and find our voice.”