October/November 2013

by Matthew Butler

Fresh Talent: Fire At Will

by Matthew Butler

Fresh Talent: Fire At Will

Fire At Will was spawned in 2010 from the ashes of My Asylum after singer Caleb Dillner left and the group needed a new vocalist. Drummer Charlie Smith had previously met Hanu De Jong when auditioning singers for another band.
“We’’d got heaps of people saying, ‘I can sing’’. Then he sent me this video of him singing in front of 20,000 people, all singing along,”” Charlie remarks, still somewhat in awe.
Hanu, also singer of The Narrow (the Shihad of South Africa’) liked what he heard too, and with his distinctive vocals and experience Fire At Will was formed. Charlie laughs and tells me they decided their name after they were going to fire bassist Will Kearney for not showing up to practice.Hanu’’s connection helped Fire At Will’’s first single Can’’t Wait blaze its way to #1 on the South African charts, but having a singer split across countries has some serious downsides too.

“We just work around the tours that he does, but we want to go over and play as well,” says guitarist Josh Dillner. “About half our Facebook likes are South African so it’’s been our goal to tour over there for a while.””Still buzzing after recently supporting Anberlin at a sold out King’s Arms, the boys are ready for bigger crowds. Debut album ‘The Way Out’’ is as catchy as it is satisfyingly heavy, with influences such as Alter Bridge, Foo Fighters, Kyuss and the unanimous favourite Deftones.

“It’’s taken about two and half years,”” says guitarist Kev Ashby. “We had originally planned it as an EP, we did six songs but decided to wait and do an album.””

It was recorded all over the place, including the now defunct The Manor and band members’’ bedrooms. Hanu’’s laptop with his master vocal tracks was stolen and, after a falling out with their initial mix engineer, they had to start again from scratch. The album was finally mixed by Sonic Altar’’s Kane Bennett and mastered in South Africa, again thanks to Hanu’’s hook-ups. The self-produced, self-funded effort has been a long time coming but the band is “pretty stoked” with the outcome.

‘The Way Out’’ has been received well at home, with first single Can’’t Wait making it to #9 on The Rock chart and NZ On Air providing grants for three music videos so far. The band recently toured the North Island to promote the album, with Sonic Altar, and are already excited about writing new material.

“We gel more now, we’’ve got some cool new ones coming,”” they claim.

Although there are no official plans for a second album yet, where there’’s a will there’’s clearly a way.