Featured Photo credit to Colleen Brent at Sights of Sound Photography
I love music.
I love almost every aspect of it.
The creative nature of the business, freedom of expression, and community it embodies.
The weight of the ivory keys beneath my fingers as I delicately traverse the Bmaj scale. The way a new set of guitar strings resonate so clearly those first few days. I love the ritual of finding the sweet spot during a tracking session, zooming in to get the perfect edit, troubleshooting problem frequencies and cranking up the monitors when it’s all said and done. It’s astounding.
I love almost everything about it.
I hate performing. Musical performance to me feels much like a day job. I live to create. When you are writing something, and finally finish it, there is a certain love for that piece. In that moment. With performance I find myself going through the motions until I get distracted by the next creatively stimulating project that comes along. However, finding my place in this bustling industry, has exposed to me true musicians.
These are real deal musicians, flawless from the first take.
The performances are dynamic, rich and engaging.
The symbiosis of their live performance rivals the studio recordings.
They exist in that moment.
They are that moment.
I sat down with one of Atlanta’s rising indie acts The Sound Of Fire. It’s only a few short months after their first release they’re booked to open this Friday October 9th for The Roosevelt’s at the legendary Eddies Attic. I wanted to know more about the minds behind the magic. What is it about TSOF that is turning heads all across Atlanta? I had to find out.
How does it feel to be one of the more noteworthy bands in Atlanta right now?
Caleb:It’s amazing. I honestly just hope we are making music that changes the way people think; the way they look at their lives.
Chris:It’s kind of surreal to be honest. After being together for upwards of 3 years, I never really thought about what this would be like. It’s a good feeling, I feel like we’ve accomplished something with our music and it’s finally paying off in a way.
What inspired the name?:
Chris: Bonfires with good friends, great music and nights that never end.
Caleb: It’s an ember one moment, and a forest fire the next. It’s powerful, yet calming at the same time. We feel our music represents that.
Eddies Attic has quite the reputation. TSOF is opening for one of the hottest bands in Nashville right now, The Roosevelt’s. What do you see this doing for the band’s career?
Caleb: I love Eddie’s. It has been an Atlanta institution all my life. I played the open mic on my 21st birthday, and a few other times, and the experience was always amazing. I think playing there now, with this band, this sound, is the most exciting thing we’ve done yet.
Chris: I love playing music for people, no matter how big the crowd. This show this fast could mean that the crowds and stages get bigger for us, and that’s awesome! I’m also excited to produce more quality music and continue to push myself to the fullest.
What was your first instrument?
Caleb: The Trumpet. It was majestic.
Chris:Funny story, I loved the game Guitar Hero when it was first released, and played it for hours. I didn’t really know I had rhythm until that game came out. When Rock Band gave players a chance to integrate drums into the game experience, I jumped all over it and fell in love. Now I’m always focusing on improving my skill on the kit.
What is a typical week like for a working musician?
Caleb:Practice with the band a minimum of 2 days a week, anywhere from 4-8 hours. Writing/practicing alone 2 hours a day. Working on social medial, promo for shows, talking to venue owners, booking agents, etc. probably another 2 hours a day. Plus the day job, sleep, etc. It’s more work than most people can imagine. It’s like having 2 full-time jobs. I don’t get a day off, pretty much ever.
Meaux: Its a lot harder than I was expecting it to be. Being married soyoung and moving out soon after really was a struggle but you start to appreciate the time you have with music a whole lot more. Never take it for granted.
Chris: Practice. I’m not joking. It’s what you will be doing. Listening to different music to consistently advance my skill level. I would love to just bang on my drums all day but unfortunately that’s not how life works. In my free time I’m checking out concerts and producing.
Talk to me about the meaning behind “Warning Signs”
Caleb:I was reading Jack Keroac’s “Dharma Bums” and part of what he talked about in the first few paragraphs of the book, about the space between dreaming and waking consciousness struck me. I had a dream about a girl I’d loved, and lost. She came back to me in the dream, and it was amazing, but then I realized it was a dream. So I tried to hold onto her, but it was too late, I was awake.
The metaphor was painful, but just so powerful. The dream seemed better, That perfect version of your world that you imagine is beautiful. The real world is always waiting for you. It’s a warning. Don’t miss what’s right in front of you waiting for a dream. If death comes I will embrace it. I will go to whatever home awaits me, but I ain’t done yet.
Chris: Man, that song. I love it! it’s the evolution of what we have been through and created together. That song has been restructured more than once, and we were always striving for perfection. I feel that all of our personalities shine through that song.
What do you feel it is about that song that reaches your audience the way it does?
Caleb: It hits on universally understood concepts. Love, loss, death, and the will to continue on. Plus the badass sax solo.
Chris: What he said, but also it’s the level of pure intensity!!! It starts off with a bang, and gets the crowd pumped! The lyrics are so engaging too. It’s got a mysterious feel about it to me.
Meaux: No idea haha. I just stand there and look pretty. I think its talking about a man’s journey through life and growing older and understanding the setbacks and gifts life give you. I don’t know.
Do you still get butterflies before hitting the stage?
Caleb: Every. Damn. Time. It never goes away. You learn how to channel it; redirect it. You use that energy to fuel your performance.
Chris:I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous beforehand, but as soon as the crowd reacts and gets into it I can’t help but to let loose and get more reaction.
Meaux: Definitely! But not nearly as bad as I when I first started performing.
What brought your band together?
Chris: Pretty much.
How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
Caleb: We don’t make any, and if we did, and we’re doing our jobs right, you’ll never notice.
Meaux: Just keep playing.
Chris: We’ve never had to just stop a song.Keep playing and get back in the pocket. Most people won’t notice. Even when a string breaks or a drum head pops, just ignore it and keep going.
What sacrifices have you guys made to realize these goals?
Caleb: Time. Money. Relationships. The freedom that we should have being in our 20’s. But I’d rather work my ass off now, and get to do what I love forever.
Chris: A lot of time goes into this. I put off vacations to play shows instead. I still pour my heart into TSOF even when exhausted and attending school full-time studying music production & audio engineering. All in all its worth it to make progress, so I don’t regret the investment.
Meaux: Time….Money….Sleep. I could go on and on.
Would you do it all again?
Caleb: Yes, but not the same way. Same band, same people, but more practice earlier on. More focus on our long-term goals from the start, instead of just playing around and “seeing what happens.” More focus on the art, and the passion, then the money or the technicalities. Simply, we’d do it earlier, better.
Chris: Definitely. All the time, money and energy we’ve put into this are worth the lack of sleep.
So is Atlanta’s music scene a slowly dwindling pyre?
Or a smoldering phoenix aimed to rise from the fire?
Only time will tell.