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Interview: Jas Morris of Firekind
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Growing up my house was always a very musical place with guitars laying around. My father was a semi-professional musician so often out performing. I remember frequenting guitar shops as a young boy and being amazed by all the super cool looking guitars. It’s pretty fair to say that my father is the reason why I got into music without doubt. Had I not gone down the music rabbit hole I was always very much into astronomy and science, so I think I’d have probably ended up a scientist in some form. That or an astronaut, but isn’t that on every kids list?!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Reading, fitness, walks, sci-fi, DIY and water-sports. My world is pretty much built around music but in the moments in-between I like to fit in all this stuff. I think it’s difficult to be inspired to write new music if you aren’t out doing some other things to get inspired by.
How long has your band been around?
Firekind has been around since 2012 (wow doesn’t time fly), but my brother Dan (on bass) and I have been performing and gigging together since 2001 so I guess you could say we’ve now been around for a couple decades…wow, now that’s something!!
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
Newton Abbot in South Devon, UK. A smallish market town near Dartmoor and the sea. It’s pretty quiet down here so when we come home after tours or shows away it is always pretty refreshing to be in a place where the pace is a little slower, it’s always given me time to reset and focus on writing music and practicing. Especially with the moors 15-20minutes away, if I’m ever in need of some grand scenery to help me with lyrics, that’s where I head to.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Band names are one of the most difficult things to come up with, and we have a list of names which we used to be called beforehand, from Morris Brothers Band to Rude Tiger. With those names we’d often get fans saying that had they not seen us at support shows or rock nights, they never would have come to see us, purely based on their perception of what we would be from the name. That was such a common occurrence. Firekind was a name that jumped out to us as something pretty neutral and would allow us to make it our own. It’s originally from a vintage Judge Dread comic. Plus we like to be pretty fiery on stage and I’d say we are all pretty kind genuine guys.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I gotta say it’s probably one of our most recent shows at the Planet Rock Winters End festival earlier this year. I think with lockdowns and being unable to get out and perform so much, this festival had such a great turn out and it was amazing to be able to perform to an auditorium full of people once again. Plus the line up was great and it was great to meet all the other artists and see how passionate that rock music fans still are to this day.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My top venue from one of our most recent tours has got to be The Waterloo in Blackpool. Such an effortlessly cool venue with so much memorabilia around, as soon as you arrive you are immersed in a world of music and it really adds to the experience and makes for a really great show. Venues which we have yet to play would be the usual iconic places such as the Royal Albert Hall, O2 Arena but getting a slot at Coachella would be pretty cool.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Rage Against The Machine, Foo Fighters (RIP Taylor who we fortunately got to spend time with recording our debut album and at some shows), Muse, RHCP. Any show with those guys would be the ultimate bucket list.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
To new bands, get out and perform as many shows as possible. You’ll never really find your feet until you get out and bust your ass gigging as much as possible. No matter how much you rehearse there is no replacement for the live stage. To my younger self, I think I would probably say don’t worry so much about trying to please other people, just stick to your guns and scratch your own itch.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
To not worry so much if a song is perfect or not, to just finish a song, accept it for what it is and get it out there. It is so easy to go down a rabbit hole of perfectionism when writing songs, sometimes it can pay off but most other times it can really be quite detrimental to progress. I think being prolific in getting songs out would most likely be better in the long run.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
‘Coming Out Alive’ is probably the one with the deepest meaning as it was written directly about learning how to move on after losing my father. I can’t wait to release the music which we are working on at the moment as I think I am getting closer and closer to being more honest and open with lyrics.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
‘Desolate’ is always a lot of fun as it has quite a bit of guitar soloing and riffage. We normally position this track towards the end of the set so we are always super hyped by that point. I am very excited about performing the new tracks of which we are writing at the moment, they are more up beat and full of riffs.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Most often songs will begin on guitar in my home studio. Guitar being my primary instrument I’ll often write vocal melodies on guitar first and then translate that into a vocal. After the rough elements of the song have been created I’ll take it to the other guys and we’ll start building it into a fully formed song.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Optimism I’d say. I am an optimistic person in general and sometimes I think when you encounter a problem, sometimes an optimistic attitude can really make the difference on whether or not you overcome that problem. So I think if we can spread that vibe a little, that can only be a good thing.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Ha ha, in the earlier days we had quite a few disagreements but overtime you all fall into a rhythm and as long as we all maintain a mutual respect for eachother, and think of the big picture, everything goes swimmingly.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We are currently working on our new album, we have made a start recording it and we are blown away by how it’s sounding so far. There is absolutely zero tolerance for anything other than great songs on this next album so we cannot wait to get it out there and tour the hell out of it when it’s ready. We’ve also got several festival appearances this summer and a co-headline tour with Loz Campbell which we’re super stoked for. Find out where you can see us and everything else at www.firekind.com and we hope to see you at a show!