The Fireship

"It can be overwhelming at times, and the sacrifices are many, but for those of us that are still in bands a decade or two after picking up an instrument, I don’t think we really have a choice in the matter. It’s what we need to do with our lives."

The city of Chicago is a big city full of big talent. With bands like Alkaline Trio, Plain White T’s, and Smashing Pumpkins coming out of the city, it makes me proud to say that I am from there. The Fireship is the next band to add to the list of talent that comes from there. Forming in late 2009, members Nicholas Paul (vocals), Brad Snow (guitar), Aaron Keefner (drums), and Benjamin Soleim (bass), have so far released an EP, “Paper Tigers”, and are currently touring. If you have the chance to see the band live, you’ll notice their dedication to their music and can easily see that they have the passion to be in the music business. I recently had the opportunity to ask the lead singer, Nicholas Paul, some questions and learned more about this band on the rise.

Q. How did you all form together and start the band?

A. Ben, Aaron and Brad had been in various bands together since they were in high school. Back in 2007 or so, I was introduced to the group when my previous band hired Ben to produce a record for us. Ben and I kept in touch after those recording sessions and as soon as we had an opportunity to work together musically, we joined with Aaron and Brad to form The Fireship.

Q. What are some of your favorite venues to play?

A. Strictly judging by the venue’s merits, and not the audience or anything else…I’d have to say that my favorite venue to play is the House of Blues in Chicago followed by the Congress Theater. At the House of Blues, everything is pristine and top-notch all the way. At the Congress Theater, everything is weathered and aged in a really beautiful way.

Q. What has been your biggest break thus far?

A. Winning the PacSun PacTour contest and being flown to L.A. to work with Keith Armstrong and appear on FuelTV’s The Daily Habit was definitely one of the defining moments of our journey as a band so far. If nothing else, that event bolstered our confidence and redeemed all of the hard work we’d been putting into things – at the time, we had only been a band for about six months.

Q. What are your plans for the year 2011?

A. We are currently working out details for some national touring in 2011, and a few appearances have already been scheduled for this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, as well. Knowing our inclination for surprise events, though, I would expect a few fortunate curveballs to come our way as well. The best laid plans…

Q. If you could open for any band, who would it be and why?

A. At this point in time, I would be ecstatic to open for Muse. Their live shows are so well-produced and, as a band, we really respect and admire their abilities as musicians and performers. Also, they tend to pack entire arenas and that would be a gratifying experience, to say the least.

Q. You guys recently won the “Pac Sun Battle of the Bands” contest.  How great did it feel to win such a big contest like that and have the opportunity to have your music heard from a wider audience?

A. The contest itself was stratified into different levels, and whenever we would be notified that we’d been chosen to continue to the next tier, it felt a little surreal. You try not to expect to win because of all of the ego-bruising that results from identifying so closely with a contest result, you know? That disassociation from things made the situation so strange that, by the time we were chosen as the Grand Prize winners nationally, I was in Los Angeles saying “Wait…hold on…how in the world did we get here? I’m in L.A. with my band…on television. Huh?”

Q. What are some of the challenges of being in a band?

A. Being in a band involves all of the invested passion that comes from being in a relationship, multiplied by a factor of THREE. When things are good, those emotional highs are multiplied, but when the collective mood is irritable, stressed out, or frustrated – well, those are multiplied as well. It can be overwhelming at times, and the sacrifices are many, but for those of us that are still in bands a decade or two after picking up an instrument, I don’t think we really have a choice in the matter. It’s what we need to do with our lives.

Q. What is one of the best memories since forming?

A. Walking onstage, when we opened for Papa Roach in Chicago to 3,000+ people…that’s a memory I’ll never forget.

Q. Your guys’ debut album “Paper Tigers” was released about 7 months ago. Is there any talk to release new music soon?

A. We are currently in the process of recording a special release that will be announced around the end of the year, and we’ve begun talks about a follow up to Paper Tigers being released sometime mid-2011, but you never know how things will work out logistically. 2011 is going to be an interesting year for The Fireship, that’s one thing I am sure of.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. I’d bring Ferdinandea, since it’s title refers to an island and that would just seem poetically appropriate.
Get up and move with their featured song, “Ferdinandea”.

The End.

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