“We’re all different — the guys from the Cliff,” he says.
The band members have known each other since they were kids. All Oak Cliff natives, Greyspot Syndicate consists of seven wildly entertaining characters who have one thing in common: no filter.
“We’re different, but we’re similar, too," Udon says. "All Dallas enough to hang with each other. But there’s one thing that keeps us together and it’s that each one of us stands out in our own way. Shamelessly. That’s what we have in common.”
And stand out they do. One of the most entertaining squads around, each member of Greyspot Syndicate is outrageously unique. (“Extraordinarily,” Udon says.)
Every member brings something strange and novel to performances, which sets them aside individually. This is where Udon got the idea for his story, a narrative he’s converting into a manga or anime-style graphic novel.
“It’s been in my head for years — no, centuries,” he says.
The artist never considered himself a writer until he began making music.
“Oddly enough, I write like a doctor," he says, "but it’s like all my creative strengths came from a sense of curiosity, like, ‘I don’t know how this is going to turn out.’ Almost like a mental freedom. A brief reprieve from it all.”
The saga goes that seven rebels fall in each other’s paths and become intertwined through a common sense of wonder and expression. Most certainly, through a common sense of humor. Some of the funniest, weirdest guys in the game, they’ll be sure to have you laughing while you sing along. At times they all wear suits for a performance, while in a series of music videos they take turns wrestling with someone in a panda suit. Greyspot Syndicate is full of surprises.
First is Udon, who sports a curled, handlebar mustache and speaks with an eerie, eloquent tone. Then there’s Steez Ronin, the leader in the room, wild and outgoing — onstage and off. Tyler, “Blockparty,” is the most silent character, serious and hardcore — the last one to call himself an artist. Next is Durty Redd, the realist in the group and a smooth-talking baritone. Prince Ace is the lone wolf and poet. Hood Spaghetti is the natural trendsetter with an avant-garde style and sense of humor that’s uncomfortable but somehow fitting. Last is J4 Mane, known for his antics. Each show, you can find J4 in some sort of strange getup.
“I guess that kind of led into my idea of doing something different each show. ... It’s more about standing out, as if our shows don’t do that enough.” – J4 Mane
“I had an idea to do some dumb shit,” J4 Mane says. “The suits kind of coincided with a fashion project we were working on, ‘Designer Artillery,’ which was weapons made by clothing designers. Like, Balenciaga brass knuckles, a Burberry bō staff, Ferragamo flame thrower.”
Picturing the gang in “designer artillery” draws an image that could be straight from an anime manga. Perhaps Udon’s story is more relative than he thought.
“I guess that kind of led into my idea of doing something different each show," J4 continues. "It’s more about standing out, as if our shows don’t do that enough.”
While each member of the Syndicate sticks out, J4’s antics give him a kooky singularity. He’s shown up on stage in a motorcycle helmet, a top hat, a birthday hat and even performed an entire set blindfolded. And while the group has been making music for some time now, what inspired all the foolery is simple: boredom.
“I mean, we’ve made music since we were young,” J4 says. “But we got bored and shit sounded good. So we started doing more performances and having fun with it.”
Greyspot Syndicate has become more than a group of musical performers, but one of all-around artists. Like in Udon’s tale, this gang of misfits shares a passion for creating. In the world he illustrated in his story, where art has seemingly reached its pinnacle, the Syndicate continues to find new strengths in themselves both as a group and as individuals through music.
“We’re all head ass in our own ways, and seeing how the world responded to us as a unit as an entity was pretty fuckin’ nice,” Udon says. “It’s strange how so much talent can arise in one syndicate. Iron sharpens iron.”