Firekind talk Belgian beer, lockdown and their latest album
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO DURING LOCKDOWN?
Having to stay at home and not being allowed to go out is probably a secret desire of many musicians, to be honest. Doing lockdown I sat down and thought of how I could best use this time so I wrote out a routine of guitar/vocal practice, songwriting and studio time and then basically stuck to that religiously for the entire lockdown. Up to lockdown, we’ve constantly been gigging and never really stopped so in a way it’s given us a chance to look at the bigger picture and reset a little. I’ve been able to write a hell of a lot more. When you’re on a heavy gigging schedule is easy to neglect that side.
THE BAND WON GLOBAL BATTLE OF THE BANDS IN 2013, IT SEEMS LIKE A LONG ROAD TO GET TO 'WHAT I HAVE FOUND IS ALREADY LOST' - TELL US ABOUT THE YEARS INBETWEEN AND THE MUSICAL JOURNEY TO THE ALBUM.
We have been heavily gigging, playing all around the country and doing a few stints out in the French & Swiss Alps. They have such a party scene and it’s a great place to try out new material and gauge how well it all works live. Obviously, with lockdown, things have been impacted incredibly so although we’ve had no gigs it’s enabled us to stand back and review our strategies for going forward. We’ve always been used to the constant gigging routine so it definitely came as a shock but in most ways, it was kind of a wake-up call.
HOW DID YOU COME TO WORK WITH ALAIN JOHANNES IN LA ON THE ALBUM?
One of our co-managers in the past (John) had Alain as a contact and as we were in pre-production, John really felt that the songs could really come alive with Alain’s expertise on the recording side of it. We know how much of a legend Alain is, having played in many iconic bands and worked with pedigree artists such as Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and Chris Cornell. Alain doesn’t work with anyone so there was definitely some anxious moments while we waited to see if it was a yes. Obviously he said yes!
THE ALBUM'S TITLE APPEARS QUITE MELANCHOLY ON THE SURFACE, OR IS IT MORE SPIRITUAL IN THAT EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS TRANSITORY?
I guess in a nutshell you could say that it is about maybe taking things for granted and how you have to be careful not to fall into that way of thinking. Especially when you don’t necessarily realise how good things are for you at any particular time and then comes along some sort of tragedy or you lose someone close to you, the place you came from then is seen as this most amazing time and you are striving to get right back there. The fear is that when you find that you have been taking things for granted, you have already lost it. Whether you take that in a positive or negative light I suppose it is up to the listener.
THERE'S A THEME ON THE ALBUM OF STRUGGLES AND GRIEF BUT ALSO THE IDEA OF BEING POSITIVE AND NOT BEING DRAGGED DOWN BY NEGATIVE THINGS – HOW DO YOU PERSONALLY TRY AND NOT LET THE BASTARDS GET YOU DOWN?
There are many ways to answer this but I’m going to hit it from a songwriting perspective. I think it is important when you are writing new material to keep it private until you feel you are representing your idea or vision as close as you can. You have to have faith in your own vision, create what you want to create and don’t be dissuaded by other peoples opinions. Opinions can be so fickle and many times peoples views are tainted by other underlying things that may not have anything to do with the thing in question. You have to put yourself out there when you are ready and people may hate it, but also people may love it. Trying to please everyone is always a recipe for mediocre or disaster.
'HAVE I BEEN LIVING' HAS A REALLY DIFFERENT SOUND WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG AND IT'S ACOUSTIC STYLE?
This and the other acoustic tracks were recorded during lockdown in my home studio, being that we couldn’t record as a band for obvious reasons. ‘Have I Been Living’ tells the story of my own experience of being alone for 2/3 months straight. Prior to lockdown we were in the French Alps on tour surrounded by energy and people. Then the next day I’m in my house by myself and everything is shutting down. It just gives you a proper chance to sit back and listen to your own thoughts and possibly evaluate if you have really been living your best life or are you stuck in the fast lane of it all.
YOUR VOCALS ARE PRETTY FULL ON, THERE'S A LOT OF POWER THERE – HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR VOICE?
A year before we went into the studio I actually burnt out my voice. This was due to a combination of blasting my voice from 0-100 at gigs without any preparation, poor technique and just generally not caring for it. You think your voice is sort of invincible until you lose it and can’t get it back as quick as you used to. I ended up going to an amazing vocal coach. She used to teach singers in the west end actually. She taught me valuable techniques, how to breathe properly for singing and also how to care for your voice. She rehabilitated my voice fully and it came back with so much more strength than it ever had before. I think a lot of the time the voice is neglected when all along you can work at it and make it so much better. So in a way, if I’d never had lost my voice, I don’t think my voice would be anywhere near as strong as it is now.
WHAT'S YOUR MOST ROCK AND ROLL STORY FROM THE ROAD?
I have 2. First one is being in Zermatt in Switzerland Alps and playing Infront of the creator of one my fav cymbal companies (Michael Paiste) he even played my drums. 2nd story is being halfway around the world partying getting massages and food made until the sun came up
There have been all sorts of crazy shenanigans. One that’s stuck with me is during our winter tour of Europe. We did a show in Verviers, Belgium and afterwards, we all headed to our tour bus parked on the main street outside the venue. A serious party ensued! Anyone that was walking by we were invited on the bus to join the party, pretty much everyone came aboard and let’s just say it was one packed bus. One passer-by happened to be an owner of a club nearby, he came back with tons of bottles of spirits. A hell of a party! The downside? A certain item of the Thetford variety overflowing all over the cabin floor...
OBVIOUSLY THE LIVE MUSIC SCENE IS A BIT VAGUE AT THE MOMENT – BUT DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING SET UP FOR WHEN THINGS START TO RETURN TO NORMAL?
Yes! Obviously it’s quite difficult with not knowing when exactly but we do have an action plan waiting to kick in as soon as things open.
The plus side is that we can still write and record new material and promote and connect with our fans online.
We can’t wait to get back touring, promoting our album and going forward with Firekind.
WHAT'S THE ALBUM OR SONG THAT MOST INFLUENCED YOUR MUSICAL TASTE?
For me, it’s Hocus Pocus by Focus or Puzzle by Biffy Clyro. Love those albums.
The Best Of Paul McCartney was the first album I ever bought (on cassette actually haha). I remember listening to every track as kid and re-writing the lyrics ever so slightly different thinking that I could pass the song off as my own. The best one was my version of his track ‘C Moon’ which I penned as ‘D Moon’ McCartney/The Beatles were obviously incredible and prolific songwriters so although our album may not sound anything like that, it certainly formed a foundation to it all.
WHAT DO YOU ALL DO WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
I’m a big fan of reading, podcasts, films, exercise and exploring new places. Sometimes you can get all swept up in practising and/or staying in the studio 24/7 but it is important to remember that if you don’t go out and live a bit, what will you have to write about.
I love to be sipping beer (especially Belgium Trappist beer) beer is a real passion for me, going to the gym, sea swimming, playing with my golden Burmese cat and also watching the mighty Plymouth Argyle play.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM FIREKIND IN THE FUTURE?
Lots of gigs when that happens again, and we’re working around things in this current moment - New Wave of Classic Rock Webfest 4 on Nov 21 is an example of that. We can’t wait to get out and promote the album and write loads more music. We’re also drawing up plans for a major attack on the festival circuit for next year and the next album already...