It is always exciting to talk to an artist, to get to know them a little; being able to interview an up-and-coming hard rock band from here in the States was awesome. Letters From the Fire has been around for a bit, but, as many of you may know, has recently exploded onto the modern hard rock scene with their newest single, "Give Into Me." The founder of the band, Mike, took some time out of his very busy schedule to answer a few questions for us about the band and themselves.
Hi! My name is Tabatha and I am one of the staff writers for Metal On Loud Magazine. First, I want to congratulate you on the recent success that Letters from the Fire is having over the airwaves! Second, I would like to thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to speak with the magazine about the band, yourselves, and maybe giving us a sneak peek into the near future!
Would you please introduce yourselves to us?
Hi Tabatha! Thank you so much for having us! My name is Mike Keller and I am the founder/guitar player for LFTF.
Can you give us a little background as to how you all came together?
Letters From The Fire has been through many lineup changes over the last 10 years as well as a name change. So it’s definitely difficult to recall the exact journey as to how we got here. But let's just say it’s been quite a long one, haha! I would however like to believe that the way this current lineup has come together is cosmic and meant to be.
What does Letters from the Fire mean?
We are the letters from the fire. Our songs are our expression of the trials and tribulations we have all gone through in our lives. This music represents our stories.
When you are putting together your music, how do you decide what stays and what doesn't?
We generally write a ton of music. Many songs get written at different times throughout the year when we are going through certain ups or downs. That being said, sometimes the songs have different vibes and feels. We generally like to pick a group of songs that are the most cohesive and represent the band the best.
How does it feel to hear yourselves on the radio?
The feeling is so incredible. I remember being in 8th grade and listening to SiriusXM Octane. I used to tell myself how cool it would be to be played on there. It truly is a surreal feeling when you hear your band name on the air.
What is the story behind "Give In to Me?"
"Give In To Me" is about our struggle with the darker side of ourselves It’s always calling at you to participate, but we, as humans, must find a balance between ourselves and our shadows.
What is it like being an up-and-coming band?
It's hard! But it's great at the same time because we are coming into a time when rock music is really starting to make a comeback. I also believe that you really get to be flexible with inventing who you are and don't have to put yourself in a box when you are this young in your career.
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
Rockin' arenas all over the world! Go big or go home, right? I mean, in all seriousness, we just want to continue to have the opportunity to play our music to open ears anywhere and to anyone will have us.
Of all the songs that you have played, for each of you, which has had the deepest impact?
For me personally, "At War," our piano ballad, hit me really hard when it was completed. It's a very dark song with a very sad message. But everyone has felt drained, down, and helpless at some point in their lives. Life isn't always flowers, sunshines, and rainbows.
Who, if anyone, would you like to tour with?
It would be an honor to play with rock monsters Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown, Avenges Sevenfold etc. I mean there are so many amazing bands that we grew up listening to. I don't think I could even pick one. But I know that we hope to share the stage with these amazing bands. We will actually be on Shiprocked with Breaking Benjamin coming up here in early January 2017!
Facebook Live has become a great way to communicate with people, do you think that you'll be doing more of that yourselves?
We have definitely been taking advantage of the Facebook Live feature. It's a great way to reach more of your fans at once and it has really allowed us to personally interact with fans in real time. It is an invaluable tool and more bands should be using it.
When can we expect to hear new music?
Well the new record Worth the Pain drops Sept. 9th! It is out currently for pre-order and we will be selling physical copies on our upcoming tour with Art Of Dying and Children 18:3. As of now we have our single "Give In To Me" out as well as 2 others; "At War" and "Mother Misery."
Would you share with us more about the album?
This particular album was probably the smoothest process we have ever been through. Which is funny because it was also the most work we have done in the shortest amount of time. We added Alexa as our vocalist and literally went into the studio 2 weeks later to start the record. The whole process took about 6 weeks’ total. We are definitely very proud of what we were able to accomplish with our producer Kile Odell (Failure Anthem).
If you could give an aspiring artist any perspective or advice, what would you say to them?
It’s all about the song. If you are new to song writing, keep writing. Don't ever stop. Write write write and then write some more. I can't even tell you how many songs that I have written that no one will ever hear. But the music is always the first step.
Far beyond their successes, who are truly your musical inspirations?
Metallica will always be my first true blue favorite band. If it wasn't for the Summer Sanitarium tour in 2004, I would have never got into music and I would have never played guitar. They are the pinnacle of any band and did it while paving their own way.
Could you tell us something about yourselves that hasn't been previously known?
Well many don't know that some of us were high school athletes and that we have bachelor degrees. Alexa has a bachelor in Psychology from NYU, I have one in Business Management from Santa Clara University, and Brian has a Bachelors in International Studies from UCLA. Our scholarly life rarely ever comes up in interviews haha!
How do you unwind?
I personally take everything out on the gym. I love to lift and am constantly trying to keep up a healthy and fit lifestyle. It’s definitely the only way I can stay level and feel great.
Thank you again, so much, for finding the time to speak with me about the band, your aspirations, and yourselves. I believe that artists are more than the music that they play and I thank you for sharing that side of you with myself and the readers of Metal On Loud.
Good Luck to you and Metal on Loud!!!
Tabatha Spears Woodruff