Saturday, May 5, 2012

an Interview with Brandon Malone of FIRE FAITHFUL

This quatuor hailing from Virginia recently released their self-financed debut album entitled "Please Accept this Invocation"... one of the very best surprises of this year so far !!! Not easy to classify in a precise branch, FIRE FAITHFUL plays a very solid blend of Southern/Stoner Metal with a special Doomy touch. Something very heavy, dowtuned and handsome that should easily catch the attention of fans from  Hail! Hornet, King Giant, but also Earthride or War Injun for those amazing doomy moods and the excellent vocals of Brandon Malone. 
In order to know more about this new rising force, I've asked a dozen of questions to Brandon, a real charismatic frontman, humble, talented, breathing true and warm  Southern Stoner Rock... 

First, thanx for accepting this interview Brandon... Could you please do a bit of history about FIRE FAITHFUL : when did you form and why did you choose this name ? Did the fact of forming F.F. represent something different from your previous experiences ? 
Fire Faithful formed in 2009 and I guess you could say morphed out of Southern Vein. We landed on the name Fire Faithful because it was actually a song we wrote, lyrically based off the 70's horror flick, "The brotherhood of Satan", which is about a family that gets stranded in a town where a cult of geriatric satanists use children to do satan's bidding. They are the Fire Faithful. 

I've read that your bassist left just before the recording of the album which implied that Shane (guit) handle all the bass parts on "please accept this invocation", did you find Jon Bone easily after ?
It was our guitarist Dave Marrs who departed from the band on good terms I like to think. We are still great friends and we love him. So yes that did leave Shane,who was the bassist before, to handle all the strings on the recording....and he ripped some ass man.  Jon and I work at the same building, that's how we met about 3 years ago. We flirted with the idea of jamming last summer when we were going through some lineup changes but it just wasn't the right time. However now is the right time and he's THE GUY man let me tell you. Great dude, great bass player.

Was it something easy or rather difficult to place the 8 songs in order ? you know I dig the album in its entirety but  I ask this because personally I would have not placed "a devil's in London" as opener, I think the burning "alone with a stranger" would have been better instead, what's your opinion ? 
I must have sent you the songs in the wrong order. The order should be: Please accept this Invocation, Dollar bottomed out, A Devil in London, Disgust is a Must, Enter the Monster, Flamingo, WonTon Lavey, and Alone with a Stranger. The idea was to put Invocation first to set the mood. The album is all about the mood.

You qualify your style as Ultra Sonic Doom Metal which can retranscribe a part of your sound but it also includes quite many Southern and Stoner tones... are labels important to you or is mainly just r'n'r ?! Are you proud when you read references to Earthride, War Injun, Hail! Hornet or Alabama Thunderpussy ? 
Rock and roll no doubt. obviously we consider ourselves a doom/stoner band, but we just try to write good songs. And those songs will always be on the heavier side. It gives me the warm and fuzzies to be mentioned in the same sentence with those bands man. Like popping a percocet with a shot o whiskey.

One of  the main  distinctive force of F.F. concerns your vocals, there's lots of variation in your way of singing, from the traditional whiskey-soaked southern style to something more agressive in parts and croony in others;  the song "please accept this invocation" could be the most distinctive in terms of crooning, it sounds like you're locked up in a dark, confined and sticky place... does it need a special work or  state of mind ?
Yeah I was really trying something new on that song. I had a Danzig III feeling when Shane brought those riffs to the table. Again very moody ya know. Vince Burke's wisdom was a big help too man. It is a state of mind. When I write, I come up with a general theme for a song then I will find a place in my head, and I will think about what I would smell in that place or situation, or what I would see, or hear. All senses aroused. That's how I write most of the time and I'm always trying to find new ways to deliver it.

Speaking again about the title track, I think its first part shows a bit different tones to my ears, sounding more like "desert rock" stuff reminding some cool Brant Bjork, this is more intimistic and strangely a bit more  luminous and warm at the same time, how do you see this song and why did you choose it as the title for the album ?
I came up with it as the album title before we wrote the song. I like plays on words haha. When we wrote the song it was a couple days before we were going to Vince's and were at practice and thinking that we really needed one more track for the album and thought it should be like an intro thing. So Shane I think had just kinda came up with a couple of those parts and I started bullshitting over it and then Joss kicked in and it was written and tight in like an hour. And it's been getting some of the best feed back, it's crazy and very cool.

Vince Burke from Hail! Hornet and Beaten Back to Pure is credited for the production work of the album, did you personally know him previously ? how did this happen ?
Everybody knows Vince, haha, his resume speaks for itself. But no we didn't know him before, just new of him and had seen him around the scene. I got Vince's number from Willy(Lord, Ol scratch), cause Lord had just recorded "Chief" (which is badass), called him up and he was very accomodating. It was a great experience.

You have done a video for the song "Wonton Lavey", was it filmed at your rehearsal place ? was it  made by friends of yours or did you work with some people from outside your environment ? 
The video was made by the family. we are a family band. helter skelter. Shane took a self crash course on video shooting. Shane is the type of guy who will take on a challenge that he's never done before and nail it every time. He's one of the smartest and most motivated people I have ever met and I'm proud to call him a friend and a bandmate. My wife also setup the perfect altar table I might add and our friends came through for us in a major way. We shot it at our friend Travis grandparents' barn. He showed them the video  and they said we were satanists and that he was going to hell for helping us. haha, mission accomplished.

You guys know and have played with quite many great bands, have released a very consistant album for a debut but for the moment the name of F.F. is still pretty unknown in the worldwide scene... are you working on this ?  do you maybe think you should need some help from  a promotional agency or something ? 
We are working hard on spreading our stuff to the masses if they'll have us. We are pretty DIY at this point. Some of that from choice but some from necessity. Help would be tits though.

I know you're going to play at the next SHOD fest  , do you have good memories of last year edition ? Any other gigs planed ? If you had to choose one foreign country to play in first, which one would it be ?
SHOD was a blast. Went for the whole fest, partied the WHOLE fest. Played a tight set that Sunday. So many impressive bands. We are thrilled to be doing it again this year. That was the first time I heard Weed is Weed. that was a highlight. We are playing the Heinzmann benefit at the 611 cafe in Fredrick Maryland on June 30th. We are also working on some dates around SHOD up the east coast. Might be hooking up with Borracho and Kingsnake on that. I'm dying to play in Europe first, no question.

Lyrically wise you deal with Occult and Drugs stuff... it makes me think that on your FB page you mention Electric Wizard and Weedeater in the bands that count for you, which I think is not really obvious musically but maybe they've had an influence on the lyrics ?
Yeah lyrically I draw alot from the occult and horror/cult films. And sometimes just whatever life has thrown at me. 

You've recently posted a new song "Organized Occult Love" for an upcoming ep , can you tell more about this new stuff ? will it be released by yourselves or a label ? Do you feel the band is in a very productive era and maybe(at least musically) the most difficult is behind you ? 
We have demoed out three songs that will be released in succession over three weeks. "Organized Occult Love" we put out last week. "Harvest Rune" I believe was going up today, so look for that. And lastly " King Macabre" next week. Just to put a taste test out there ya know. We plan on recording an ep or possibly another full length late June with Garrett Morris from Windhand at the controls. These three songs should end up on it and we are really looking forward to working with Garrett. I do feel like this is the most productive this band has ever been. We've had alot of struggle with this band as most bands do and it feels good to be over the humps.
Ok Brandon thanx for your time, maybe I forgot something important so here's your chance to add what you want and then end this intie... 
Well first I want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me Steph! Your support is greatly appreciated. I want to thank High on Fire for putting out their new album. it has served me well. I want to thank my band and friends. I'd like to say R.I.P Levon Helm. And much love to my wife, kids, and family. 

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