With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to this Interview with Greg Brown from AGE OF FIRE. Anders Ekdahl ©2019 for Battlehelm
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
-I guess finding inspiration is the key. There are so many things that spark creativity. It could be a story, a sound or tone, a drum beat it’s pretty endless. Truth is, I don’t really know how to stop writing. I love it! All of our influences and experiences come out in our writing. There are so many amazing musicians out there right now and that’s also extremely inspirational.
How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
-Our latest disc “Shades of Shadow” on Sliptrick Records has been a huge leap for us in many ways. In the middle of working on this disc I tagged in Michael Heck and Laura Viglione. Their contributions to the CD are immeasurable. When I did “Obsidian Dreams” I did everything myself except for tagging in a couple different drummers so it was nice to bounce ideas off of them. Mike recorded most of it and mixed and mastered it as well, oh yeah and did drums and bass on most tracks. I’ve been wanting to work with Laura for a long time, I love her voice and the songs she is on are elevated to a whole new level because of her. First track we did together was “King of Aquilonia” which was the first official single and lyric video, so I guess it worked out pretty well.
When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get? How important is it to have a message in your lyrics? What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
-That’s a great question. I guess it still goes back to inspiration. On our latest disc we have songs that are about fantasy, literature, social issues and the end of the world. I could never do a “Hey baby” kind of song, it’s just not what I like to write. I think it’s most important to write stuff thar resonates with the artist. There currently is no common thread beyond what I mentioned, no concept album. I think that’s one reason why I like instrumental music is because it’s less definitive and open for more interpretation. There’s a bunch of instrumentals on latest release.
Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands/sounds do you indentify with?
-Wow! So many. Nevermore is one of my all time favorite bands. I’m a huge Iron Maiden fan as well, to name some more I’d say Nightwish, Megadeth, King Diamond, I mean the list goes on and on.
How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-I’m a huge space nerd. With the title of the album being “Shades of Shadow” I was trying to thing of something pretty epic and remembered the total eclipse. I was fortunate to see it in totality, I’ll never forget it. That is what the pic is on our cover courtesy of NASA. It’s the sun being covered up by the moon.
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with art work anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have art work that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
-I think the artwork is part of the whole package for sure but sometimes things are rushed due to deadlines and budget constraints.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-I think the name should be reflective of the song or if it’s based on the lyrics it’s a lot easier. Instrumentals can be harder to name sometimes but it depends on what inspired the piece.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-Yes, the online streaming has to be one of the hardest things facing a modern artist. You get great visibility but there are more artists than ever trying to get noticed and get people to listen and the pay fractions of a cent to the artist per stream. It’s part of the reason ticket pricing and merchandising is so much higher than it was before streaming. That’s great you buy CDs. the artists greatly appreciate it. It’s even harder now with the virus because all venues have shut down. Many musicians are hurting right now.
How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
-We love playing live. Like most artists we are involved in many different projects and try to perform as much as we can. We have yet to perform with the current line-up. I was in Europe in the beginning of March and we were supposed to start rehearsing when I returned and within a week after I got back everything shut down.
What lies in the future?
-We are hoping to hit the stage together as soon as possible. We all have Cds coming out with other projects within the next 6 months or so. Personally, I record, compose and perform a lot of classical guitar music. I’ll be back in the studio next month to do a solo disc and Mike will be the engineer. I’m excited about relinquishing engineering duties, one less hat to wear. As far as Age of Fire goes, we are taking advantage of the down time to write more music. To date we have about 4 new songs in different states of completion. Hoping to release a single sometime this summer. Please check us out on social media or at Ageoffire.net!