The On Fires - 03.09.11

Interviewed by
The On Fires - 03.09.11The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:

The On Fires


1. How did you get your band name?
Our band name used to have the word 'Asleep' in it. During a tour of Europe in early 2010, an excited Polish fan approached us after the show and said "You're not asleep, you're on fire!" So we changed our name and are so happy we did. It's much more appropriate for our energetic and colorful live show and no one thinks we're a folk band any more!

2. How did this band get started?
Marty and I (Max) were in separate bands a few years ago. We've been friends since we were 15, so when I needed a fill-in guitarist for my band at the time, Marty was an obvious choice. After the show my manager rushed over to say "Your voices sound fantastic together - you should form a band!" Shortly afterward Marty's band split up and my guitarist left for good, so Marty and I decided to give it a try. We haven't killed each other yet (although we've been close).

3. What bands are you influenced by?
Marty dug deep into rock music's roots and really respects Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and hundreds of other bands including Silversun Pickups, The White Stripes, Hilltop Hoods, Foo Fighters. Max idolizes the writing of Nick Cave, loves old Blondie records, swoons to Polyphonic Spree and gets off on punk with great melody such us Gogol Bordello, Stepanov Starlings, Flogging Mollies.

4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Marty would choose Led Zeppelin. Aside from the outrageous and raucous behavior that he would've loved to be a part of, Led Zeppelin represents a 'moment in time' when Jimmy Page was stunning the world with his incredible playing. As for me (Max), I don't know how I ended up in rock'n'roll - I should probably be touring with a nun's choir or something: calm, organized, alcohol-free and a raft of good books to read to wind down after a show.

5. Best food to eat on tour?
Healthy home cooking whenever anyone offers! Otherwise Waffle House in the US is pretty good in an evil kinda way.

6. Why should people listen to your band?
We're pretty uncomfortable with the word "should" - but if people listen to our music they'll be driving around with their arm out the window and a great smile on their face (either that or dancing while vacuuming).

7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
Marty was a national swimming champion right through school, so he'd switch with just about any athlete that didn't have their face under water watching tiles every day. He'd probably choose to be Australian Rules Football player Chris Grant (the man was a CHAMPION).
As for me (Max) I'd switch with Cathy Freedman - an incredible runner and a woman who caused controversy by carrying an Aboriginal flag as well as the Australian flag during an Olympics victory lap. It was significant for the same reason as the black power salute by American athletes in the 60s.

8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
Um, we don't even know what a Grammy is for! So I suppose if we won one, we'd be thanking the hosts for the free flights (presumably) to L.A.

9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?

Get rid of all the patronizing dicks that think just because you're a musician you couldn't organize a scratch in a flea farm. Then we'd magically make a powerful global musician's union so musicians were actually valued like the skilled workers they are, with a pay scale similar to athletes. Just a pay scale alone would do ;)

10. Memorable tour experience?
First gig playing to a punk audience in Kiev, Ukraine. Changed our lives.

11. What does AP.net mean to you?
A meeting place for the unsung heroes of the world.

12. What is your favorite song to play?
Marty likes anything with a guitar solo. I, rather embarrassingly, love playing a punked-up version of Men At Work's "Land Down Under" when we're on tour. Reminds me of home (and made me laugh so much once I realized the whole Australian nation was proudly singing a song about getting totally wasted!).

13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
We tour four continents and spend about 10 months of each year away from home. So Marty's favorite place is his mum's front porch and mine is my mum's farm.

14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
Barry White (Marty's mum still drags unsuspecting visitors up from the table to dance to Barry White in the kitchen) and big-haired 80's bands in lycra.

15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Time travel - so we could go to Woodstock or witness the Berlin Wall falling or hang out with Amazon women or Vikings.

16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
Nope, aside from talking to and meeting as many people as we can!

17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?

That one of us is a black belt in karate.

18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
The current state of mainstream radio reflects the current state of the world: corporatization. I'm sure most bands could flourish there if they happened to have a payola-paying corporate person pushing their barrow. As for wonderful indie radio, we're so grateful people are still creating it and that listeners are refusing to be force-fed what the corporates are selling. YES, we could flourish there too.

19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
HAHAHA!!! Oh, is that a serious question? As a self-managed, self-funded, international touring act, we work about 14 hours a day. Spare time = sleep. (OK, I confess - we get to do great stuff too, but it's almost always incorporated into the work - eg. traveling from show A to show B via a medieval castle in Poland; that was pretty cool!)

20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
House restoration. By the time we're finished, landlords have no idea there was ever a full acoustically designed studio dyna-bolted into the living room walls.
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