Interview: Fireworks

Ahead of playing with Set Your Goals and Broadway Calls in Glasgow, Faye caught up with Fireworks, as they talked about their first time over, Mandatory Stage Dive Day in Leeds, the release of All I Have To Offer Is Confusion, their acceptance in the hardcore community, that Cartel song, and lots more!

Faye: Can you say your name and what you do in Fireworks?
Chris: I’m Chris and I play guitar.
Dave: I’m Dave and I sing.
Brett: Wassup? I’m Brett, I play guitar.
Kyle: I’m Kyle and I play bass.

Faye: It’s Fireworks’ first time in the UK, how has it been?
Chris: It’s been great, we didn’t really expect, Europe was cool, but once we got to the UK, it was really, really good. All the shows have been beyond awesome and everyone’s great. Everyone we’ve met has been awesome, we’ve had a fun time.

Faye: How’s touring with Set Your Goals and Broadway Calls?
Kyle: Well, this is our third tour this year with Set Your Goals, if that says anything? Honestly, they’re some of our closest friends in the world, they’re our favourite band to tour with, by far. We knew Broadway Calls from playing a few shows with them and they’ve been the best dudes, they’ve been nice enough to take us in their van for the rest of the tour.
Chris: Which has been way more fun.
Kyle: I feel like we definitely bonded with Broadway Calls. Matt and I kind of fool around a little bit, I think we’re a little close now.
Chris: Well, Kyle, Matt and I share an even closer bond because we’re always in the search for UMA, UMA being T-Mobile, we’re out, our phone’s don’t work, Matt’s still reigning supreme in the UMA game.
Matt (of Broadway Calls): That’s unlimited mobile access!

Faye: There’s been quite a bit of hype about you finally coming over, have you found that kids have been into you?
Chris: Yeah, as lame as it sounds, like on MySpace and Twitter, people have always told us they want us to come over here and we were kind of like, “Ah, yeah, whatever.”, but it’s been awesome, we’re really stoked.
Dave: We’ve been met with a really good response, it’s been awesome, getting to meet with everyone.

Faye: Yesterday was Mandatory Stage Dive Day in Leeds, can you tell me about that?
Chris: Well, early on in the day, since the pre-sale for the show was high that day and we all live off buy-outs, money you get every day, our tour manager, Phil, he decided that you don’t get your buy-out unless you stage dive, so everybody on the tour, except for two people – I’m not going to name them, everyone in Fireworks did, though.
Kyle: And all the stage dives took place during Set Your Goals’ set, including the members of Set Your Goals themselves.
Chris: Yeah, so we had to take their place for a few songs, so they could stage dive. It was a lot of fun.

Faye: It seems like you’ve finally been getting recognition this year, what have been your highlights of the year overall?
Chris: Our full-length came out, we toured the whole U.S. a bunch of times, we finally made it to a lot of cities we hadn’t hit before, the tour with New Found Glory.
Kyle: My highlight is coming over here, to be honest.
Brett: We knocked out all the continental U.S. states.
Kyle: Yeah, that’s another record we broke, I’ve been to every state except Alaska.
Chris: Oh, and we got to tour with Polar Bear Club, finally. Basically, this has been the year we’ve done what we’ve always wanted to do, play shows and tour with bands we love and are friends with as well, released a record, tour off it and go overseas. Actually, this year, our band has been more of a serious band, so 2009 was definitely our year, the year for us, so far. It’s been awesome, we played a few awesome home shows too, every single month has been amazing.

Faye: As you said, you released your debut album All I Have To Offer Is Confusion this year, can you tell me a bit about it? It finally came out here this week, didn’t it?
Kyle: Yeah, this week on Hassle Records, but I’m sure people are already familiar with it here with the interweb.
Chris: It’s funny, because there’s an extra track on the release here called Sea Sick and that song was actually supposed to be on the record, but we didn’t have enough time to finish it. We did the whole record in like 11-12 days, and there’s a 11-songs on it, so we actually kind of thing it’s funny, because the version here is kind of what we wanted the record to be.
Dave: We recorded it in Southern California with Paul Miner and Chad Gilbert from New Found Glory, and we pre-production we did it within 13-days or so. It was awesome, great time.
Kyle: It was the first time I ever rented a car, it was cool.

Faye: Did you find that there was pressure and that people had high expectations because of how well the EP was received?
Chris: There was a lot of pressure, I guess, but it’s one of those thing where, and I hate to sound like an ass, we don’t really care. [laughs]
Brett: We just made the music we wanted to make, but right when it was about to out, you were like, “Oh, shit, I hope people like it.”
Dave: I think the biggest thing was to stay relevant, because we hadn’t put anything out except for a 7-inch in three years.
Chris: And the 7-inch only had one new song.
Dave: Yeah, and we hadn’t done a full-length yet and we had been a touring band for three years, so it was kind of like, “I hope people still care.” It’s been working out, though.

Faye: Did you find that people liked it instantly or that it was a slow burner and took them a few listens to get into?
Chris: I think it had to grow on a lot of people, like people kind of from the EP. We wrote the songs on the EP in the summer of 2005, actually, ’04 even, and we record the EP in the summer of ’06 and summer ’06, I was like 18/19-years-old, I’m not gonna say that reflects in our music, though. Actually, I want to say that, that EP, I think almost came out and was recorded kind of before a lot of the trends in pop-punk, that people associate us with, so I think people kind of had us pinned down as a certain kind of band. I was happy with the full-length, because once it came out, it’s not what you think. I know a lot of people were expecting us to have breakdowns, cheesy lyrics, really fast melodies and shit, but we wrote the record that we wanted to write, we’re all extremely happy with it.
Kyle: It needs more breakdowns, we don’t really fit the dudecore mould, whatever that is.
Dave: We’re kind of just a punk rock band.
Chris: We’ve had people say it definitely took them two or three listens and then they were hooked on it, but I do think there were some people that thought we were a certain kind of band and going to sound a certain way and didn’t end up doing it, I don’t know, I’m sorry. [laughs]

Faye: That’s what I was going to say, Fireworks is always associated with this easycore/popcore/softcore etc. genre.
Kyle: Yeah, this kid at Warped Tour came up to me, and he was like, “Oh, you guys are dudecore!” and I was so confused, I was like, “What’s that?” and he was like, “Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals!” But dudecore?! What is that?!
Chris: I think what it is, the similarity we have with Set Your Goals and Four Year Strong is more or less where we all came from. Every single person is both of those bands, because we get associated with those two bands a lot, is doing it for the right reasons, they came from punk rock/hardcore/whatever you want to call it and play what they want to play, so I think that’s where it came from, but, musically, I wouldn’t actually compare us, I don’t know.

Faye: I found the album to be quite a bit slower than the EP, was that something you intentionally went for?
Chris: Yeah, it did actually end up slower than we wanted, like with tempos and stuff like that. I will say yeah, but I actually think the uptempo stuff on the EP was kind of due to us being young and not knowing how to play to any sort of beat or metronome [laughs] and just kind of playing whatever. Tymm just kind of recorded the tracks and we were like, “Yeah, ok, that’s sounds good.” I do think it’s a bit more midtempo than our older stuff, I’d say. But it also has the fastest songs we’ve written, we’ve never had one song that’s been fast all the way through.

Faye: I read in a review somewhere about the album, that “the appeal of this band lies in repeat listening.” Would you agree?
Chris: I can’t really say for our own band, but I like that, personally. I think that’s an awesome line.
Brett: Yeah, we put a lot of time into the lyrics and just everything we do, and I’d like to think there’s something there to chew on and revisit, so I like that.

Faye: You’ve got songs about suicide on the album, and the thing I like about Fireworks is that you can touch upon something really serious and depressing yet make it sound fairly upbeat and catchy.
Chris: Yeah, actually, my mom made a comment, laughing how Closet Weather is such a grim song, but it’s probably the most quirky-sounding song. We kind of did that on purpose, because of the irony of that situation, I mean, call us assholes, but that situation sucks for family members, but, to us, it’s kind of karma, I’d say. [laughs]
Dave: Another thing, with the lyrics, in general, we were kind of sick of poppy bands that kind of just didn’t really have anything to say with no substance to the lyrics. It’s not that we have something super enlightening to say, but it’s our life and it’s our experiences and views that we try to put out there, and we always try to give backs something and it just so happens to go with the music we play.

Faye: I’ve heard people call Fireworks, ‘NFG-lite’, what do you think of that?
Chris: People can say what they want, we all love New Found Glory. We’ve never really listened to a New Found Glory song and say we want to sound that way, though. Once again, I think it kind of what people know as a pop-punk band and we worked with Chad. We kind of figured that working with Chad, we’d get labels like that, but New Found Glory is great, but it’s people’s perceptions, I’m fine with it. We love New Found Glory, so if people say we sound like them, then that’s great to us, but I don’t really think so.
Brett: How do you compare a baby band like us to a fucking career band like New Found Glory? You can’t compare, they’re on another level.

Faye: I have to ask, the opening to Cardenelli, some say it sounds pretty similar to the beginning of Cartel’s Honesty, do you agree?
Chris: Oh, yeah, it does, but to me, it sounds more like a Spitalfield song on Remember Me Right Now. People have said Cartel, but I will definitely say the drumbeat and riff is more like a later song on Remember Me Right Now by Spitalfield, it’s kind of one of those things now, where I’m like, it had to be one of those things in the back of our heads where we thought it was awesome, but no-one ever caught it, and still to this day, I’ve never heard anyone make that comparison, ever. Chroma and that one song, it has the same duh-nuh-nuh-nuh and that’s about it. The Spitalfield song, though, yes! I will say it sounds exactly like it.
Kyle: I listened to both those bands at the time we wrote that, but as well as a lot of other stuff.
Chris: Again, I’m fine with that, we don’t really care, overall.

Faye: Even though you’re a pop-punk band, you’re accepted by the hardcore community, why do you think that is?
Kyle: Because we can mosh pretty hard. [laughs] Nah, I think it’s because of the backgrounds we come from, like playing in hardcore and punk rock bands and whatnot.
Chris: The way we started the band and started touring, and it’s the same with bands like Broadway Calls and Set Your Goals, they would just play hardcore shows, that’s the only resources we had, us doing DIY touring, the only shows we could really play were punk rock and hardcore shows, and I kind of think that helped us out along with the fact that lyrically and even some aspects of the music, kids not necessarily can say sound hardcore, but have the same connections. I think it mainly has to do with the shows we played early on and we kind of ran and worked our band like a hardcore band, just because when you do it that way, you kind of have to. Bands to this day, who do it that way, still get lumped into that group, I think it’s the work ethic and the values and stuff that are similar to our band.

Faye: Didn’t you play the Great American Hardcore Fest in Boston?
Dave: We did, it was awesome, it was a really cool experience with tons of awesome bands playing, there were still a few pop-punks.
Chris: Kris Mission who put on the fest, he’s helped us out so much in the past and he’s done shows for us in the past, so I heard about the fest and right after he sent us a message on our MySpace page, actually, asking us if we wanted in on the fest, and we were like, “Yeah, sure!” We really like his shows, we really like Boston, so we just went for it, as out-of-place as it was, something people thought it was, but it made sense to us and we had a fun time. The reaction wasn’t amazing, but there was definitely a lot of kids singing along, there was obviously a lot of confused faces, but even the people you thought would be the most weird about it completely did not find it that strange at all.
Dave: Yeah, not once did I feel out-of-place there, a lot of the people we were with, we’re friends with, we’re all kind of associated with, anyway, so we were more or less hanging out and watching a bunch of amazing bands play, it was awesome. I don’t think it was a weird thing at all.

Faye: (To Chris) Aren’t you in a hardcore band?
Chris: Tim and I play in a band called Viking, it’s not really a band, we basically have just recorded a demo, we’re playing a show when we get home and that’s about it. It’s not really meant to be a real thing, we’ve just recorded a few songs.

Faye: Didn’t you guys recently pull out of the Anti-Flag tour in the States to do New Found Glory’s 10th Anniversary Tour?
Kyle: Oh, yeah… It was, basically, we were forced in a corner, we wanted to do both tours, but because of certain politics and band business, no compromise could be made, and New Found Glory kind of went out on a limb to get us on that tour and I guess it came down to not wanting to turn that tour down. We wanted to do as much of the Anti-Flag tour we could have and do the New Found Glory tour, but they weren’t having it.
Chris: I’ll be honest we did know that, that might come up, but we thought we’re the opening band, hopefully people will be cool about it, people weren’t cool about it, so we just did what was best for our band and it kind of actually worked, we were just put in a corner to make a choice.
Kyle: Either move we could have made, we would be stepping on someone’s tours, so we had to make a decision.
Chris: The decision was made, even if you look at the tours, in our defence, with New Found Glory’s is longer, it hits more areas, shorter drives, honestly, kind of better for our band and a better crowd for our band, so we kind of just went for it since we couldn’t do both of them.
Dave: The Menzingers, Broadway Calls and Trash Talk got added to the Anti-Flag tour, so we’re stoked about that. We’ve never met The Menzingers, but I like that band a lot.
Chris: I’m stoked because we’re going to be home and we’re going to see The Menzingers and Anti-Flag, so, hopefully, there’s no bad blood.
Dave: Yeah, hopefully, it’s not awkward but we’ll be there.
Chris: But, yeah, Trash Talk, great band, good guys, and we love Broadway Calls, we’ve never met The Menzingers, but I hear they’re awesome and they’re an awesome band. I’m not saying people weren’t really looking forward to see us on that tour, but those additions are probably better than us. [laughs] I’d be happy if I was a Fireworks fan and we dropped, I think it’s a pretty good trade.

Faye: Does Fireworks have anything planned after the New Found Glory tour?
Chris: We want to do Warped Tour this year.
Dave: And we might be going to Australia, we might do another small headliner in the States, hopefully we’ll come back here.
Chris: But, basically, potentially Australia, maybe a headliner and then, hopefully, Warped Tour, and that’s as far ahead as we’ve looked really.
Kyle: We want to get our foot in the door as far as writing goes as well, so doing some writing and stuff as well.
Chris: Yeah, we’re always writing riffs, writing songs.

Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Kyle: We Are The Union, Banner Pilot, Tiger’s Jaw, The Wonder Years, Man Overboard.
Chris: Basically, anything from Eastern PA, a band called Daylight.
Kyle: Anything on Run For Cover records.
Brett: The Greatest Kids
Dave: Aerosmith, Nirvana.
Kyle: Yeah, check out Nirvana, they’re making a comeback.

Faye: I think that’s about it, is there anything else you want to say?

Chris: The UK’s great. Oh, and go watch Dumb and Dumber Uncut, there’s a lot of great scenes you’ve never seen before.

Faye Turnbull.

Many thanks to Fireworks and for more on the band, visit: www.myspace.com/fireworks

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