The Tinder Box battles in Chicago


After one battle comes another. The Tinder Box, the three-piece band composed of Chad Konrad, Dominic Osterloh and Jon Wallner won the SDSU Battle of the Bands on April 19. Shortly prior to that event, they were also informed they were selected to compete in Chicago for the Midwest Regional Finale on April 24.

The band did not win this battle. However, Konrad says they played a good show and he felt confident in their performance.

“Unfortunately we did not win,” he said. “But it was an amazing experience.”

The trio signed up to compete in the finale through a college Battle of the Bands website. Any band was eligible, providing at least one member was in college. This proved to be no issue — all three members have a background at SDSU. Konrad graduated in May 2011 and Osterloh and Wallner are current students. The band had to upload one song and one video. It was then up to the band and fans to promote the page and boost plays, likes and ratings. However, in the end, the band was selected by a panel of judges to travel to Chicago as one of the four bands competing in the Midwest Regional Finale.

Winning the SDSU battle offered a boost of confidence for the band, said Konrad and Osterloh.

“The Tinder Box had its start here in Brookings, while all three of us were close friends and attending SDSU,” Konrad said. “When we won the battle of the bands at SDSU, it was a great feeling to get such strong support from a place that The Tinder Box’s roots are strongly connected.”

The band’s blend of folk, blues and bluegrass music dominated on April 19. However, Osterloh said they can’t let the win go to their heads.

“We feel we need to step our energy levels and overall performance up some more if we want to have a better chance at heading to the national battle of the bands,” he said before the Chicago battle.

The band joked about the list of prizes for winning the regional competition. Along with gear and cash prizes, the winning band also is rewarded with a year-supply of coconut water.

The band members said playing music has helped them through their college careers and they want to keep playing music after school.

“I tend to live a lot by the motto ‘music lives and music gives,’” Konrad said. “I feel a lot of truth behind that statement, and ever since I was kid I had a deep obsession with music. Music has a unique power on the human psyche, one that I try to capture and mold each time I pick up the guitar.”

He also feels his majors in psychology and history have influenced his approach to songwriting and the lyrical content of the material.

As a philosophy major, Osterloh has learned to analyze things from various perspectives. He says he uses that when writing music and he uses it to define what he would like his music to say.

“To me, music has always been not only a hobby I love, but also an escape,” he said. “Performing and writing music throughout college has been a blast, and has helped me get out and meet new people. I plan to keep playing music for the rest of my life, and maybe someday have it be what pays the bills.”

For the trio, traveling can raise difficulties.

“It can be quite overwhelming sometimes, especially in situations like this journey to Chicago — we all work jobs and [Wallner] and [Osterloh] have school,” Konrad said. “We have developed a very particular way of juggling music and everything else. We are quite passionate about the music we make, so it is great to have people find that in us and support what we are doing.”

The Tinder Box has its EP available for free listening on its Facebook page.