Fifth & Fite mixes genres for new sound

Members of Fifth & Fite include, from left, Michael Agnew, Cameron Butcher, Jacob Agnew and Byron Roldan. The band has known each other since before attending Baylor and has recently signed with Uproar Records.Megan Shipley Photography
Members of Fifth & Fite include, from left, Michael Agnew, Cameron Butcher, Jacob Agnew and Byron Roldan. The band has known each other since before attending Baylor and has recently signed with Uproar Records.
Megan Shipley Photography

By Jessica Foreman

Four years ago and almost four hours away from Waco, four guys from the same hometown got together to do what they do best: jam.

Fifth & Fite, Uproar’s newest quartet, began in Pearland as a Sunday morning worship band, and jamming has always been the essence of their style.

The band’s Facebook page sums up their start: “When we would be done with practice for church, we would jam. Out of this jamming, an acoustic/hip-hop fusion came out. Now we are Fifth & Fite.”

Members of Fifth & Fite include sophomore religion major Cameron Butcher, sophomore neuroscience major Byron Roldan, and brothers Michael, junior communications major and Jacob Agnew, a freshman at MCC who has plans to transfer to Baylor this next semester.

But, really, what is jamming?

According to Michael, jamming is “a collaboration of the mind fuels that is within each and every one of us and it all comes out into this molecular fusion of harmonious melodies.”

Michael’s brother, Jacob, elaborated:

“The only time we’re all together is when we’re playing music,” Jacob said. “We’re all so busy so when we do get together we’ll kind of just take whatever we have around us. Cameron and I always have our guitar pretty much, or some sort of instrument we can play, and Byron can beat on anything, and Michael can bust a rhyme like crazy. We just come together when we didn’t plan on it, and that’s jamming.”

Roldan plays drums and percussions, while Michael and Butcher handle vocals and acoustic and electric guitar.

The band performed at Baylor’s After Dark show during Parents’ Weekend, and the four musicians have been playing together for years at New Hope Church in Pearland, where the Agnews’ father, Howard, is the pastor.

Michael recalled the first time Fifth & Fite performed as a titled band (without Jacob) in front of an audience at Common Grounds last semester.

“As Fifth & Fite, us three played for this sex-ed thing, and it was hip-hop night and I really had no idea like what it was,” Michael said. “And so we are up there singing ‘Go back to the simple days of living for Jesus’ and then behind us is this giant banner that says, ‘Sex Awareness,’ and it was kind of strange.”

“It was really fun though. It was the first time that I realized, that by standing there really awkwardly as this white guy busting off fat flows, it like blew people’s minds and they all cheered for me and I was like, ‘Yea!’” continued Michael.

The members of Fifth & Fite laughed it off, something that they do quite often when they get together. Humor is a deeply ingrained character trait in each of the band members and it is also something they incorporate in their music. But Butcher explained the role faith plays into their melodies.

“We’re goofy and we love making goofy songs that people laugh and enjoy…but also our faith is big into our lives, very big into our lives, and we want that to be a large part of our music,” Butcher said.

Fifth & Fite’s passion for God is the basis for their band’s lyrics. “Day by Day” is the most recent work-in-progress, and at its mention, Michael began rapping its lyrics. The others followed suit, creating rhythms and sounds, immediately turning the interview into an impromptu concert.

“Pick up my cross every day like it’s a backpack; it’s no knick knack, man, that’s where the truth’s at. Life is not a game, we’re not playing blackjack. I’m a halfback running to God’s soundtrack. He’s the conductor, my life’s instructor, every day give all the work that I can muster…”

The band is also working on four other songs for the band’s upcoming studio date with Uproar Records, Nov. 18-20, where they will record for an EP, a three-song soundtrack. Fifth & Fite said it has five songs established, but would like to create five more in order to have options for the EP, and more content for its performances.

Aaqila Rasheed, Fifth & Fite’s artist manager, said she is excited for the recording because it will give the band an opportunity to get hands-on experience in the music industry

“After you record and after you hear your sound for the first time over a CD, I feel like your confidence is boosted as far as the quality that you have and the potential that you have and how you can grow,” said Rasheed, a junior music and entertainment major from DeSoto, said.

“They are really goofy and down to earth, which is great, which is why I suggested that I manage them. They each have their own personalities, but when they get together…they compliment each other as far as their jokes, their style of dressing, their style of speaking. One of their huge strengths as a band is their chemistry and it’s very evident on and off the stage that you can see. Even though all of them are not related, they’re like brothers,” Rasheed said.

Butcher said he hopes to sell more of their music than any Uproar artist has sold in the past. He said Uproar has a policy that if an artist sell a certain amount of songs, the artist receives money for his or her work.

“I want money in the bank,” Butcher said.

Other band members simply hope to become famous, meet famous people and win the heart of Amanda Bynes.

Fifth & Fite has a Facebook page with more information, be sure to check out their songs when they are released from Uproar after the recording session later this semester.