Fire in the Radio hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The band’s sound is unique, but has been appropriately described as an amalgamation of Jawbreaker, The Promise Ring, Weezer, and Superchunk. In other words, they are destined to be one of your favorite bands. Last year, Fire In The Radio spent time at Inner Ear studios in Washington, DC, with engineer Don Zientera (Fugazi, Jawbox) doing a series of demos. The demos turned into the foundation for a full-length record that was recorded in the summer of 2014, at Miner Street Studios in Philadelphia (The Menzingers, Restorations) with producer Thom Flowers (Lagwagon, Bad Astronaut, The Ataris). The record was mixed by Jesse Gander (Japandroids) in Vancouver and mastered by Alan Douches in New York. It is set for release in the Spring of 2015.
We had the chance to talk to Adam from Fire in the Radio. They have a new album coming out on Wednesday Records on May 12th the first one in 15 years!!! Check out why they decided to take a 15 year break and a little more about the new album Telemetry. They will be touring through Ontario and Quebec and making a stop over at Pouzzafest this year.
Its been 15 years since Fire In The Radio released “Red Static Action” what has been going on in all that down time?
That’s crazy, it doesn’t even seem possible. Since then we’ve all been just doing our “thing” and next thing you know, you look up and all of this time has passed. Fortunately for us, we’ve continued to play in bands and write and produce music. We’ve all grown and improved as musicians.
-Was it tough getting everyone back together?
Yes but no. We had challenges getting together for scheduling reasons. Those obstacles aside, when the idea came up to make the time and effort to make music as a band again, everyone was all in from day one. Our lives were sending us in different directions at that time and that made it impossible to continue as a band soon after “Red Static Action” came out. I’m sure all of us agree that if there was any way to keep the band going at that time, we would have done it. It felt to me at least that we were just getting started at that point. The opportunity to pick up where we left off is really exciting. That desire and excitement is what enabled us to overcome any other obstacles that stood in the way.
-What was the hardest part of the whole process?
For me it was being patient with the process. This album took a while to come together but there wasn’t really any way of forcing it to happen any faster. Everyone is working as hard as they can within certain constraints to move forward, but it takes time to really do it right. It’s kinda like being a kid and waiting for Summer Vacation or Christmas. You can’t wait, the anticipation is just killing you and it feels like it’s never going to get here.
-Do you see this album as a new beginning rather then a comeback album?
Yes, this isn’t a reunion album or a comeback. We’re not knocking the dust off of anything here. “red static action” was originally intended as a set of demo recordings. We were brand new, I’d only been playing in the band for 3 or 4 weeks. I ripped a tag off a flyer in a record store, they blew me away with the songs they were working on and I must have blown their minds with my drumming prowess. If I remember correctly they had already booked a session before I was in the picture. Like “Nice to meet you, let’s head over to the studio.” The recordings came out really well so we put it out. Going into this album, we are old friends. We have developed as a band. We are also coming into it with all of the excitement of being new band. Thinking of it like that, this album feels almost like a debut to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love ‘red static action’. That album really captures some of the magic that was happening at the time.
-15 years have passed since the last album. Is it easier now that you are all “grown up”?
If you ever have a chance to spend time with us when we all get together, “grown up” is probably not the way you would describe us. We’re the same group of kids in my mind. In general, being a band was easier when we first got together just because of the freedom of being so young. I think that we are better musicians now, and that shows on this album. It’s not easier now, but easier doesn’t necessarily mean better. Art benefits from the struggle to make it.
-Telemetry was built on the demos that you put together with Don Zientara. How did that help in shaping what would eventually become the final cut of the record?
That was where we had the biggest chunk of time to work on songs and see what we could do. On top of that we were all together at Inner Ear Studios, which has all of this history of music that shaped our musical tastes at an early age. You can really feel that vibe when you’re playing in that building. All of those ghosts just enhanced the experience. Don was a huge part of that. It was such a privilege to work with him and just to hang out with him. And in the end, a bunch of the songs that ended up on the album started right in that room.
-To promote this record you are doing a series of websisodes featuring the fictional Donad C. How have you found the response to these?
The response has been really positive. This idea came about really organically. It didn’t start as a promotional idea but it has taken on a life of its own partly because of the response we’ve gotten. -You have a kickstarter project going where you are trying to raise $2000. What will the money go towards once you have raised it? The videos are very DIY but they are not free to produce. We have friends who are talented film makers who are helping us make this happen. This money will help us to cover the cost of producing more webisodes. You guys will be playing Pouzzafest this year. Is this the first time playing this festival? Who are you excited to check out? It is our first time playing or attending as a fan. What a great opportunity to do both! I’m really excited to play with and see Knapsack. Beach Slang, Teenage Bottlerocket, Joey Cape, 88 Fingers Louie, Municipal Waste…… just off the top of my head. Sleep is not part of the plan for that weekend.
-You had said in a previous interview that “were pretty practical about it (playing music) We recognize we have to work outside the band to do what we love” Do you think holding down full time jobs will hinder touring? How do you plan to work around that?
I don’t think of it as being a hindrance. We will still make time to play shows. I don’t think it’s uncommon for musicians to hold down jobs outside of being in a band. It takes more planning ahead of time. Right now we’ve got a great bunch of shows lined up, so that’s where our focus is.
-How do you feel you have improved since the last record?
Looking back what has been your biggest improvement? We have gotten better at playing our instruments, and at playing to our strengths. We had a clear vision of what we were going for when we wrote this batch of songs. Our biggest improvement, in my opinion, is our ability to self edit, revise and take our time until a song feels right. This really served the songs well.
-What are you hoping people take away from this new record?
I hope people get these songs stuck in their heads, and sing along in the car. I hope that they don’t feel the need to skip ahead, but rather listen to the whole thing. I’m proud of all of the songs we’ve put on here. We had more songs that didn’t go on the record. We really wanted the album to be cohesive. I hope that it’s a fun listen for people.
-How have you found things have changed in the past years since the first release of Fire In The Radio?
Would you say its easier now to promote the record and get the word out about the band? The business has changed a lot obviously. It’s easier to reach a wider audience, but there are so many more bands, and music out there it’s easier to get lost in the mix. We’ve worked really hard to get the word out. Once we can grab someone’s attention for long enough to listen to a song or watch a video, hopefully we can gain a fan.
-Whats next up for Fire In The Radio?
The album is released May 12. We are doing a week of shows starting next Monday. Kutztown PA, Philadelphia, Albany NY, Rochester NY, Toronto and topping it off with the Pouzza Fest in Montreal. There are also more webisodes on the way. We are also working on some exciting touring possibilities in the near future, so stay tuned.