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Fire Fly

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Brainwave Festival 2001 - Fire Fly's manager Paul is trying to gather all members of Fire Fly. The English band has just finished their well-received show on the main-stage.  While I chat with drummer Adam in the lounge, the rest runs back to the main-hall eager to see the theatrical outfits of the next band playing. A couple of minutes later all four members are present and I'm starting the first question to find out more about the flight of a fire fly.

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Discography: Swings & Roundabouts (1999). Available through: Fire Fly. Official website: Fire Fly. Interview by: mpo Date: January 27th 2001

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Two years ago you recorded the EP Swings & Roundabouts. What happened with the band after the recording of that EP?

Mark Broomhead: It's been good. We got some good reviews that opened a lot of doors for us. We've done a lot of interesting gigs and starting to become a real band rather than just a concept. So, it's been a good journey.

Adam Gallagher: Lots of stuff has taken off since the CD came out. The making of the CD was hard work. It was quite a project at the time. But since then we've done some work. We've done a lot of practice and gone through a lot of stuff. Like a family we've got to know each other and ticked each other off and got it sorted out. And done a lot of gigs. Met a lot of people. We're still at the beginning, you know. We're just slightly further into the beginning.

Scott James: Yeah, I think one of the big things that has happened is that we're on a spiritual journey which has completely changed the focus of who we are as people. We live differently than we did two years ago. Not that we lived badly then, but we have changed for the better. I think God wants us to. So, it's been a good journey.

Simon Bibby: So, the need of recording some more music is been secondary, really, to the other things that have been happening in our lives as far as the way God's been talking to us. There's been things that we needed to deal with. Things that needed to change. It feels like we're now in the position where we're ready to start thinking about recording again. It's been good. We've not been sitting around and doing nothing. What we have been doing is, we had to reprioritize. And music has become second to our spiritual lives.

And this change, did this happen because of the chemistry of the four of you together, learning from each other, or circumstances beyond that?

Scott: Partly because of the way that we feel we need to go as a group of people. Not just the four of us as a band. But, Simon and Mark are both married with children, and they are as much a part of the band as us four here.

Adam: It hasn't been only one thing. It has been lots of things together. It wouldn't have happened the same without the four of us being who we are. And there's lots of stuff that comes together between us that makes us who we are. Also the people around us, the church, Mark's and Simon's families. And Scott's family as well, although those are his mom and dad, not his wife....And the wide family, like I said, the church. But God came and found us, really. So it was for me.

Mark: We stated our desire to want to get closer to Him and then he has just been slapping things out of us ever since. Knocked us back a bit, but we've got up stronger. It's been painful sometimes. It's been exhilarating sometimes. But it's all been part of a war which is still on. One that may continue and become more interesting as we go on.

Scott: Painful and exhilarating, but complete. Not complete as if we're yet there, but it's been the real thing. Not something that's just happy, but a real life-experience.

Adam (joking): And you can buy it from us for 5.99!

Mark: English humor!

There is another thing I was wondering about. Because two of the members have a past in metalbands: Seventh Angel & Detritus. What sort of people respond to the band, the people who buy the CD? Are they the old fan-base from the metal-days, or is it just a whole new group of people as it is a whole new sort of music?

Mark (formerly of Detritus & Seventh Angel): It seems that we have a really wide appeal from OAP's, old-aged pensioners that is, to young children. Scott is a teacher and we've gone into his school and played to really young children and they really loved it and enjoyed it and experienced it and joined it. And we've played to all kinds of audiences. Some get up and do the musical jump-about stuff, but everyone seems to get something from it. I think we've packed enough different things in this....Even if people don't like the music, there's something there to grip hold of because hopefully it's real and honest.

So, it's a new sort of group of people who are interested in the sound and maybe the message of Fire Fly too?

Mark: Yeah, it's not like we're shutting anyone out. We're not shutting out the old crowd. It's just for anyone who wants to have a go.

I've noticed that there are quite some people at the festival here who know you from the Seventh Angel and Detritus days who came here to see the band. Do you get those sort of responses?

Mark: I haven't spoken to anyone yet since we've come off stage. We'll soon find out.

I think most people are baffled to see you short-haired.....They can't believe their eyes. They are staring in disbelief.

Simon (formerly of Seventh Angel): Even though the musical style has changed, there's still an intensity in what we do, I think. It's just a different type of intensity. So, I think it has an appeal to people who like hard music. I may be wrong but I think it still does.

And I'm quite surprised that how ever small you are, you sing with such power.

Simon: It's no me, actually. I have a tape recorder on my shoulder.

Adam: Which you can also buy from us for 5.99!

Well, I'm interested!.... I read on Fire Fly's site that you had quite some bad luck at a show at Alton Towers. How important was that show for the band because I read it but I didn't quite comprehend how important it was. But you seemed to be so disappointed.

Adam: It was important, actually. It was interesting because it was our first big gig. We were very lucky to get it. A very big gig. There were thousands of people. And we had built ourselves up for it quite a long time. Not just ourselves, but we had been praying about it. And we were really ready to do it. And then the keyboard broke and half the sound wasn't there. And we were gutted. I remember it being quite nasty. But the effect of it, in hindsight, was that we remembered what we prayed before the gig. And we said that God had given us the gig. We hadn't done the sort of work to get that sort of gig, you know. So, we were doing it for Him. When the keyboard broke, from our perspective it was hard to go on. What we said still applied, you know. After we did that, I remember afterwards, after coming off stage feeling gutted, I think it did something. The fact that we carried on. It seemed important.

Mark: To me on that day, we had been praying a lot. And there were lots of record companies. It was a new record company starting up looking for artists. And I was convinced we were gonna walk out with a record deal, and a very big record deal. I thought that was what we were doing it for. I was sure that that's what God was going to give us. And to get upon stage, we prepared so hard. We worked out any tiny detail of the gig more than we've done with any gig before or since. It all flowed beautifully. With each practice it was amazing. And then it just fell apart. It was like: "Why have You done this to us?" We were embarrassed. Like our trousers had fallen down or something, you know? Like we were standing naked on the stage and what do you do? But God's glory came out of it.

Simon: We made it the gateway to something big. We made it so massive but at the same time we'd been praying the prayer: "Your kingdom first. We seek Your face first, God. You're first in all of this." We said that and kept saying it. And when it went wrong, it was like God was saying: "Is it really my kingdom that's still first? Or is this more important to you. Is the fact that this has happened more important than worshipping me, regardless?" And it was a difficult thing to ask. It was a big turning point for us. A big turning point.

Scott: Yeah. We thought it was going to be a big moment. And it was, in another kind of way. I mean, I'm standing and I can't play anything because my keyboard isn't working. The fact that we worshipped God anyway, really pleased me and pleases us all. Even though we felt naked.

Simon: We felt stupid. We felt like frauds. We just looked stupid in front of all these people. I mean, I went afterwards and set in the tent and didn't come out for a long time. Because I was so embarrassed. I couldn't face people. So, it was a hard lesson but it was a very good lesson to learn.

So it was sort of like....Not a station at the end of the line and you're reaching maybe a record deal. But it was like a station halfway and you're learning to go in an other direction. So, it was sort of a junction?

Simon: It helped us to realize that what we say and what you are, aren't necessarily the same. We said that God was number one and the music was number two. And it was like. "Is it really?" Maybe it wasn't until that point. But we have to constantly reprioritize. What is important?

Adam: It's an ongoing journey.

Scott: It didn't make us suddenly achieve a kind of spiritual peak. But it made us realize where we were and where we could go if we tried. And I think that's what we've been trying to do.

And that lesson is also to read on the website. It hasn't been updated quite a long time. So, the story of Alton Towers is there all the time.

Mark: It's kind of what we've been saying earlier. Up to that time we had been updating the website regularly, hitting all the business people, mailing out to everybody. And after that point, after we put that on the website, it kind of didn't matter quite so much anymore whether people were reading the website or not. It does matter, but it was a matter of priorisation to us.

Simon: It's also time. Time is precious and we don't have an awful lot of it. So, we have again, to prioritize what we need to do with our time. Unfortunately, the website is something that comes near the bottom of the pile. So, it's difficult to make time.

Adam: But have a look in the next month or so and see if there's anything there. You never know.

I've heard that before. But because the website isn't updated and I read about the Alton Towers thing, it almost felt like "are they thinking of splitting up?" It might look that way for people who come to the site and it looks like a dead thing and so the band.

Scott: It's not a dead thing. We're still truly alive and we're still wanting to do it.

Simon: No, we're not dead at all. It's more alive now than ever. Hopefully we can just really follow Jesus this year and He can lead us anywhere, to some amazing things. We need to stay close to Him and I think it will be a great year. But we're certainly not thinking of quitting. Certainly not!

Adam: We're still just beginning.

Scott: How big the band gets is becoming irrelevant, really, to a certain extent. Because the spiritual thing, wanting to know who God is, is becoming a real priority. And from that the music is moving that way, I think. More so than ever. So, the bigness of the band....When you play you want it to become as big as you possibly can, wherever you can go and stuff. But if it doesn't happen, then if we have affected one person at a small gig, it was worth it, I think.

Something else now. To many music is entertainment. Playing on stage can be very much like playing your instrument and that's it. Are you also thinking of other ways to enhance a show? To add things, maybe visual or things you say? Is that something you chat about: "What are we gonna do on stage?"

Adam: We've done that, actually. We've talked about that. We don't have a lot of money to spend on band-stuff which is always a problem. Yeah, we'd like to. We have no shortage of ideas. Things like visual things on stage like projecting stuff. And talking and different ways of communicating and interacting with the audience. We've had some quite radical ideas which we needed a slightly different platform to work. Stuff like having a communion is part of a concert. That's a crazy plan. I don't know how or when we'll do that. So, yeah, we talked about things like that.

Mark: We work along to click-track midi stuff anyway, so we could rig up the visuals to interact with the music. And that's what we plan to do. But, Adam said money is a bit of a shortage, and projectors and software and time are needed. They are all very expensive things. But one day, as things get bigger. If we carry playing small clubs as we do, so be it. But we have plans!

I heard a rumor from someone that you've built a studio with 24-track equipment. There are many bands in the world but not all of them are building their own studios. So, why build a studio?

Mark: It's a slow process. At the moment it's a pro-tool system that we're sorting out. It's up and running. We could do with some more equipment to make it better. But it's up and running and ready to go. So, we need to start doing it. The reason why we're doing it that way is that we don't feel we could do justice to what we do by running in a studio for two days and banging out and coming out again. Even if you do it this way and do bits, we still get more time to work on things and get it right. And not have to regret what we've done in the studio. If we do regret it, we'll change it. But we have to be careful not to overproduce it. It's a cheap way forward once we've set it up.

Adam: The technology is amazingly cheap for what it does now. Much cheaper than the same sort of project time in a big studio. And the flexibility that it gives us, suits us. We need it.

Scott: We haven't got the time so the flexibility is great!

So, this is also a matter of priorities. So you can go into the studio when it's fitting for you all?

Simon: Yeah, correct. And bring back stuff from the studio and work on it more at home, add things to it, and go back into the studio at our own pace when we have time. Instead of a two week block where you're under pressure to produce something which you've got to live with for the rest of your life.

Adam: That's the future of recording. I mean, lots of stuff is going that way. It's old fashioned to force yourself to work inside for a fortnight or a month. This is the way forward.

And are you also gonna use the studio for other bands, people you know, friends?

Scott: Eventually that's what we want to do.

Adam: That's part of a long term plan as well. We've got some ideas about that. We'd like to do that sort of thing.

I've heard that you're also writing a lot of songs. You played quite some tonight. Well, they are new to me actually. How about the plans to record? You're already talking about reprioritizing. So, how is that going to fit into the lives of the people from Fire Fly, and your future-plans?

Mark: Recording is quite high on the priority-list at the moment. As soon as we can we will start it in any way we can. So, look forward to hearing something, hopefully soon.

Simon: As soon as finances become available. We need to think of the cost effects and the quickest way to get something out. We really need something out, in the summertime really. So, how we're gonna do it, I don't know. We have the material.

Mark: "We have the technology to rebuild him".

Simon: It's just the logistics of how we're gonna do it and what's the best way. That's the priority at the moment: To record.

Adam asking Mark: Did you say that some of the mixes of Detling (a show the band played in August 2000, mpo) and stuff is really good?

Mark: Yeah. It's an idea. We've recorded quite a lot of big gigs over the summer in England. And there's an idea of perhaps mixing some live stuff in the studio stuff. Not like one live song and one studio song, but actually doing the studio stuff and having bits of live in that song. So, we're gonna give that a go 'cause it's very hard to get the live atmosphere. And some of the stuff that Simon says and they way things go and the way his vocals go, wouldn't happen in the studio. It's an idea, it might not happen but we'll see.

Adam: We can say that maybe in the next month or two we might have some samples of that sort of stuff on the website. We've been thinking about that. There is no reason why we shouldn't do it really.

I have only one question left and you can answer anything you like: Any final comment?

Mark: Stroopwafel!

Simon: Lekker!

Scott: Dank u wel!

Adam: No comment.

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