et me tell you what sucks about getting old. You find yourself not wanting to go out as much and that puts you in a strange place as a music journalist. Sure, my area of expertise is recorded music, but rock n roll is all about the live performance. I've let age get the better of me and after checking the all female prog metal band FLIGHT OF FIRE from Boston, I've learned that I'm missing out on a lot. According to some favorable press and some footage that can be found on YOUTUBE, FLIGHT OF FIRE has something - that over-the-top live sensibility that has been missing from rock since the eighties. What good is rock n roll without showmanship? Outside of the pomp and circumstance that goes along with the band's live set, FLIGHT OF FIRE has musicality to spare. You can attribute that to either their ingrained sense of rock n roll with ambition (we did mention they are on the prog-y side of metal right?) or the years spent studying music at Berklee School of Music. Either way, the band's artistry and musicality can be heard loud and clear on their 2017 album PATH OF THE PHOENIX. We are given assurances by the band that a new album is on the way but inthe meantime, the band has released the playful single SICK IN LOVE and are gearing up for a tour of Europe that is set for Summer of this year. ROCKWIRED had the chance to speak with the band's front woman MAVERICK and twins TANYA VENOM (lead guitar) and TIA MAYHEM (bass) regarding the band and their music making. Here is how the interview went.
You've got this new single SICK IN LOVE out. Is this preceding an album to come or is th's single a standalone thing?
MAVERICK: We are planning for a new album. We just don't know when that is going to be. We are expecting SICK IN LOVE to be on that album as well as a couple of other singles that we are working on now.
CHECK OUT THE LYRIC VIDEO FOR SICK IN LOVE!!!
And how are people reacting to this new single?
MAVERICK: It's interesting because this song is a little bit different. We've never gone for that upbeat fun sounding love song before. We usually have over dramatic, epic kind of songs that are tackling these huge issues so for VALENTINES DAY we decided to do this love song which is totally different for us. Our fans seem to be liking it a lot so we're happy that they enjoy it.
And forgive me for making this generalization, but this is an all female progressive metal band and it's not the kind of rock women are known for making.
MAVERICK: Yeah it's true. I think SICK IN LOVE is the most cliche all-girl band song that we've ever put out. It's funny because it's pretty divorced from our usual work. I think in general, we're very inspired as songwriters talking about overcoming adversity and coming up with allegories for things that we have dealt with in the music business and the struggle to be your own independent voice when so many things and people are telling you to be otherwise. So SICK IN LOVE is something that is very light comparatively.
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And bring me back to the beginning of FLIGHT OF FIRE. How did this whole enterprise get off the ground?
MAVERICK: It was about eight and a half years ago when I was studying music at the Berklee School of Music. That was where I met the twins who were also studying there. We met in a pretty entertaining way. We were on the subway in Boston and I was singing a song by BOSTON. I think it was LONG TIME. I was being very obnoxious because I was a very nervous first semester student at Berklee. But apparently I did an all right job because TANYA walked up to me and said "Hey! Nice singing! You wanna join the band?" and I was like "Hell yeah!" That was how I met the band.
It sounds like Berklee figures heavily into the formation of this band.
All the points converged at Berklee but were does everyone come from?
MAVERICK: I'm from San Diego and the twins are from Detroit. We all moved to Boston to attend Berklee School of Music. Our current drummer goes to University of Massachusetts - Lowell and they have an amazing music program there as well. We founder her via the HIT LIKE A GIRL drum competition for girls. She just really impressed us with how well she could play progressive stuff and the metal stuff and that heavy drum driven music that we love.
And talk about the other members of the band and what it is you think each of them brings to the table that makes this thing work?
MAVERICK: The twins are both songwriters, as am I, so we've got three songwriters in the band. Even though they are identical twins, they do have different writing styles and their personalities are slightly different. They're very classic rock influenced and I am as well. I think I take even more ques from eighties heavy metal like QUEENSRYCHE and JUDAS PRIEST. That's kind of my forte as well as folk music. That's something else that I really love. TANYA VENOM and TIA MAYHEM are on lead guitar and bass respectively. They both sing backing vocals and it's awesome to have them sining backing vocals because their voices blend perfectly. They bring a lot to the table. In addition to everything I've said about them already, they have amazing performance skills and they add an exciting element to the stage as twins. It's as if they make each other stronger but there is also a kind of a sibling rivalry going on when they are on stage, which people love to watch. MADDIE MAY SCOTT on the drums is just ridiculously talented. She's also got a great voice too when she sings back up. She comes from more of a modern metal background but that is something that our music really needed. We have this strong classic rock foundation so it's nice to have someone in the band give us this modern edge to our sound. She really brings us into the modern day.
And have there been any reactions to the band's music that have surprised you or that you didn't see coming?
MAVERICK: We tend to connect with fans that use music as kind of a therapeutic release. That is where we're coming from as songwriters. We write songs as a part of our own way of dealing with the tough stuff in life and our fans have told us that our music has gotten them through a tough time or has made them feel empowered. That's been true with fans of all ages and genders but specifically for women. We put on a very energetic set. We like to flip instruments in the middle of songs and having solo battles. The effect that we have on young women has been some of my favorite reactions because we meet them in the backroom after the show and they'll be like "Oh my god! I've never seen girls play instruments like that! It makes me feel like I can do anything!" I think that is like my favorite thing to hear- that we're adding to someone else's empowerment by doing the thing that makes us feel empowered. I think that's the best thing.
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Now TIA, you and your twin sister TANYA hail from Detroit Rock City. Did growing up in surroundings like that end up influencing the kind of music that you are doing now ith FLIGHT OF FIRE?
TIA: I do think so. We grew up Detroit and there is a huge classic rock scene there. Everyone loves BOB SEGER nd ALICE COOPER and ZEPPELIN and all of the greats form the seventies and eighties. Our parents raised us with classic rock and you can hear it inour music. We are very inspired by those artists and bands. As a whole the music scene in Detroit is very rock oriented. We've always loved rock music and there were a lto of bars to play at. We were sixteen years old and playing in this all girl cover band and we'd play songs from the seventies and eighties and we'd play all night. We'd get drink offers but we owuld decline them becasue we were undeage. It was a great scene to grow up in and the people are very supportive there.
So far in this interview, I see a theme of a fondness for the kind of metal that was happening thirty years ago. What was it about music from the seventies and eighties that resonates for you in a way that more modern music doesn't?
TIA: Great question! I personally as a bass player I love melodic basslines that had something to do with the song. I feel that was huge in the eighties and the seventies with bass players like JOHN ENTWISTLE of THE WHO and JOHN PAUL JONES of LED ZEPPELIN and GEDDY LEE from RUSH. All of those guys had these amazing basslines that were just "there". They added tot he song and I've always loved that. I always hoped that I would get the chance to write basslines that would add something to the song and isn't just there to be a bass part. I love that. I also feel like music from back then just had so much power and passion and raw energy and that live shows were less about videos and fireworks. It was about people giving their energy tot he crowd and running arpund stage and doing crazy antics. I feel like music back then really meant something.
And how did musical training at Berklee School of Music benefit your work within the band?
TIA: Berklee was amazing. We made so many connections and we got to meet all kinds of people and we learned how to write in all kinds of genres. You really learn how to write songs and how to analyze all kids of genres. My sister and I did film scoring and we learned how to compose and write for an orchestra. Our singer did composition and songwriting so she got really into the songwriting and she learned all of these tips and tricks of the trade and she learned about the business of it all and that has really helped the band out. We got this huge pallette of tools to work with so that we could write what was in our heart and get it out there and make it likable by people and getting it out all over the world. We try using everything that we have learned as much as possible and it'sbeen great. We use our Berklee connections all of the time. We've got connections in New York, Los angeles and Europe. We've met people from all over the world and it's just been so awesome.
It's been a year since the release of the band's last album PATH OF THE PHOENIX. A year later how does that album hold up for you?
TIA: We have done two self produced album but we really do feel that our first true professional album was PATH OF THE PHOENIX. Looking back now, we're still really proud of that album. We feel that we've really put our heart and soul into that album and it still rings true today. As always, We're just hoping to get better and better and write more awesome songs and get better at our instruments and do cooler solos. We're always looking forward but we're always going ot be proud of PATH OF THE PHOENIX and we're really happy with how it turned out. We're pretty happy about it still which is a good sign. We couldn't quite say that about our previous two first albums.
How do you think that the forthcoming album that you guys are working on will be different?
TANYA: With this new album we're hoping to focus our songwriting more. We're hoping to do more group writing. On PATH OF THE PHOENIX we would have one person write a song and then they would give it tot he band and then everyone would add their part. With this album we're hoping to do a lot more group co-writing and sitting down together. So we're very interested to hear how all of that works out.
And how did the songwriting get accomplished in the past with three writers?
TANYA: We have three main songwriters MAVERICK, myself and TIA. We each write songs and it's interesting because we all have very different styles of writng. MAVERICK will sing and play guitar for the song that she wrote. She usually write more of the folkier stuff. She's really inspired by SIMON AND GARFUNKEL and stuff like that. She'll have this demo that is full of all of the vocals. The melodies are perfect and the lyrics are veperfect and she'll want people to fill in the bass and drum parts and the lead guitar. When I write songs I write all of the guiar parts and the solos and the riffs and it will be full of harmonies but it won't have any of MAVERICK's melodies or her lyrics. TIA and MADDY will do all of the drum and bass stuff. When TIA writes, she will sequence something using either GARAGE BAND or PROTOOLS. She'll sequence the bass and the drums with some really crappy guitar and MAVERICK will help her with melody and lyrics. We all love the same kind of music but we all have different flare and I think that helps in our variety of sounds. We have quite a variety going on. As songwriters we each have our own flare.
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And what kind of legs does this band have? Have there been any opportunities to take the music to stages beyond Boston?
TANYA: We've played in various cities. We've played in Detroit and all over New England and New York, Florida and Los Angeles. This summer we're going otbe going ona European tour so we're really excited to be taking the music out there and seing how people will react to it. We've been all over and we're looking forward to hitting more and more places.
And what kind of roll out can people expect for this upcoming album?
TANYA: That's going to depend on our funds. We're focusing on fundraising on going to Europe which is happening inthe summer. I don't want to preemptivley predict something that may not turn out but probably next year. A lot of songs are inthe making right now.
What is the big takeaway with the band's music? What would each of you lke for people to come away with after they hear the band's music?
TANYA: I really love your questions! We feel that with our music, we write a lto about following your dreams and doing what your heart wants. we hope that our music will connect with people who are struggling and who don't know if they can follow their truth. We want to inspire people to do what they want to do with their life. We're hoping that message gets across in our music and we hope that we can be a sincere and understanding friend for listeners so that they're not alone.
TIA: My biggest hope is that people will hear our music and be inspired to take action in their life. I know that I have a problem with dreams and ambitions and I'm afraid to do them and I want for people to not be afraid. I wnat people tojust go and live their life. Who knows what happens when we all die so we might as well do all that we can while we're here. I hope people tka that into consideration when they hear our music and get inspired to do things to make their lives how they want it.
MAVERICK: Oh man! I guess that I would like for them to come away with the strength that it takes to be themselves. To be true to themselves. A lot of our songs are about that. I think thatin society today there are a lot of borders and obstacles to be truly honest with yourself. If people can hear our music and take that momemt to reflect within themselves and feel strong enough to express themselves honestly, I really feel like that would be the best thing.
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