FAME ON FIRE
by Abbe Davis, May 1, 2020
I've just put on the cover single by The Weekend called, "Blinding Lights." And, then, I put on the brand new just-released version of Fame on Fire. While the keyboards are the same, (yet set way back in the mix to allude to it and bring that up later on), this song now feels like it is also a strong new one from Fame on Fire. Signature to their style, those strong drum tracks are there at the beginning of this version, cool guitar riffing, and Bryan's clean Rock vocal. Add on some shout choruses, and you have the reason why this band keeps finding their way to hit Alternative Rock singles and tours these days.
Back in 2013 four guys in Palm Beach county were playing drum covers, and had known each other for a lifetime. Alex Roman, the dynamic drummer, was their formation as a band. Through time and covers they knew, songs that drew an audience were balladeer Pop covers they dared to do. Songs from female Pop icons, no less. The added keyboard on these pop tunes was a cool touch, as well as how it wasn't too produced, and you could hear an unplugged, polished quality to the covered songs, with Bryan's vocal soaring on Choruses. They rocked it, but they didn't overdo it.
These days, their sound is has a higher gear, Rock style. The first thing you notice is, Alex Roman and how he goes big in intros, a manifesto of, "This is our sound, and I'm not waiting for the Chorus to drive the point home....I'ma kick this into gear at the Intro." The other pivotal person in the band, is Bryan Kuznitz (Vocalist) who didn't want to sing at all years ago. He realized he could sing when guitarist, Blake-Man Saul, pleaded, "We are recording, pleeease sing this song." Another key person in the band is Paul Spirou, their bass player.
From Alternative Rock to Pop, Fame on Fire is easily crossover in their original music. The band admits to having used Pop music to their advantage, including Bryan's version of Adele’s “Hello” - which hit a million views in less than a month and has over 20 million views. Their first originals EP in 2017, Transitions, was their next good move. Next, the band released Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Llife”, which went viral as number 48 on Spotify’s Viral 50 playlist. Their album, Over It from the past year, includes “Count It Up”, at 1 million streams on Spotify in three months. The band has been featured on many playlists: New Music Friday, New Noise , Rock Hard, and Volume Màximo, and on Apple Music’s, Breaking Rock playlist. Fame on Fire now has two US tours under their belt, and is gearing up for a tour in the upcoming year.
I got to talk to Bryan, the lead singer:
TRR: Congratulations on the success of your single, "Her Eyes." Ypu guys are all over Spotify, and Octane.
FOF: Thank you so much, it's doing really well.
TRR: So in that song, the guy goes back for more pain, right?
FOF: Yah, (laughing) it's very masochistic.
TRR: So, you guys began in 2013, tell me about it.
FOF: Yes, our drummer, Alex, wanted to do a drum cover to Katy Perry's, "Unconditionally," and that started, "Fame on Fire." We were tracking it at my home studio in Orlando, so Blake our guitarist said, "Hey, it would sound so sick if there
was some guitar on it. Blake throws the heaviest guitar tracks on it, and it sounded sick, so Alex said, "We might as well make this a full cover." So I also said, "Who's gonna sing it?" and we had to try to find a singer. So Blake finally said, "Please just sing it, Bryan." And I said "No, I don't wanna sing it." Bryan begged me and I did it. We put it out there as Alex Roman, and the next thing we know, it was being played on National Radio on all of these Pop stations, and people were saying "Heavy Rock is screaming in this song."
TRR: Wos, so what do you think the appeal of it was? The Rock layers, or what else?
FOF: Yes, all of it. It was also a very different time for Rock Covers back then, because nobody was really doing
Rock covers of Pop music, besides, Our Last Night. I just think it was the more heavy groove oriented riffs that we have, and the sound of my voice, and the sound of Alex' drums.
TRR: Yes, I notice that with your sound. Alex doesn't wait to kick it into gear and he uses double-pedal immediately,
FOF: Yes, he does it, absolutely instantly. It's the first thing in every song.
TRR: I can hear how that distinguishes your sound. How many cymbals are on his kit? I think,
FOF: (laughing) Um, I think...
TRR: You don't know this? Come on, man (laughing)
FOF: (laughing) He doesn't have a crazy amount. He's got 2 crashes, one ride, and a hi-hat.
TRR: You know why I ask that? I think I saw a lot for your tune, "Wait"
FOF: (laughing a lot) ye..ah.
TRR: Everybody wants toys, we all want toys.
TRR: Listen, what other covers did you guys play, tell me about Adele, "Hello." Why didn't you wanna sing the Katy Perry?
FOF: Well I din't wanan be a par tof whatever Blake and Alex' adventure was gonna be. We grew up together. Our band broke up, and then Fame on Fire started.
TRR: Why'd it break up?
FOF: We had a singer who loved to do acid and then yell at people.
TRR: (laughing!) What's wrong with that? (laughing) Totally kidding.
FOF: We had a weird singer.
TRR: Yeah, it's really hard to do a band with someone tripping. I mean, you probably had to tell him where the mic
was and all that, right?
FOF: He was just out of his mind constantly. We didn't wanna deal with it. Saw him recently, he's still out of his mind.
TRR: Too bad for him, he needs to get over to rehab or get some help, probably? Back when you did the, "Hello" cover
what other songs were you doing? If you had it your way, how would you have lined up the tunes?
FOF: I honestly think we did it all right. The Katy Perry thing really opened up my eyes. After that, we went to "Black Widow." They were 8 months apart. We didn't realize what we had at the time. That if we kept going we would develop traction and have a fan base. So, we hit "Black Widow," and then "Hello" by Adele. At my recording studio then, bands wanted to cover it, but in my studio, I made it exclusive for our band, Fame on Fire only, and wouldn't record another band doing it.
It was really funny at first because, it was slow -to -start. It was only 5oo views a day and very slowly, it kept growing, and growing. It eventually became the first 1 mil played video we had. It was hitting 20,000 plays a day. It was wild to watch that one.
TRR: Wow. How many over 1 mil singles are you up to now?
FOF: I think it is 16 by now.
FOF: Yeah, it's crazy.
TRR: How is it at your live shows?
FOF: It's exciting, and it's different. the internet is different than how songs translate a little bit differently, live. Whenever
we go out on the road, there are more and more fans. We play a lot of original songs but we throw in an occasional cover we like. We have our favorites. We don't play "Hello," live because, honestly that song would drag out live. But, we play
"XO Tour Llife," and "Roxanne," or "Ransom." It's been slowly growing over time, the fan base, at live shows. Now they are there for us, singing along and we play the best that we can.
TRR: That is awesome. Are you guys signed with anyone?
FOF: We are currently signed at Hopeless Records.
TRR: Is that recent?
FOF: Yes, a year ago we signed, in April, 2019.
TRR: How are you handling Quarantine right now?
FOF: We are doing face time calls every day. We are all working on new music for the year ahead.
We also just finished a cover. We did a Fan Vote online on a cover to see what they wanted us to hit, and
they voted for The Weekend, "Blinding Lights." It will be out on April 30th. It's a good song and we finished it yesterday. It felt good being back in my home studio with them again.
TRR: Are you guys nearby?
FOF: We all live in the East Delray area.
TRR: Do you guys get to meet up at all? I mean, if you are all okay, or not exposed to anything much, would you do it?
FOF: We will meet to record ahead to work on music.
TRR: Oh, wait, no. If someone gets sick now, don't blame me, maybe don't meet up...
FOF: (laughing) No, it's fine at this point, we want to record and we will do it. We are kind of convinced that
we already had.
TRR: Yeah, a lot of us feel that way. I don't knwo about you, but Kreig and I at different times, had this momths
ago at different times. But what is odd, is, if you tell someone there is always that one person who starts
to counter that. "oh, there's no way!" I have someone in my life like that, do you?
TRR: Welcome to my life. Watch what someone says if you get out there and say you had it already. It's weird.
FOF: Oh yeah. Dive into it.
TRR: Yah, those peo(l
FOF: (laughing) We probably didn't have it, but we all got sick on tour, so...
TRR: The thing is, you can't know now anyway, you can't get the antibody test if you don't have symptoms right now.
What were your symptoms?
FOF: The symptoms were so random. I was sick for two weeks and til I got home.
TRR: Not easy when you have to sing.
FOF: It sucks but it's a mental thing, too.
TRR: What about any tour schedule. So many cant say it how far out are you with any planning.
FOF: We say Fall for now. We had to postpone our early May tour from Chicago, all over besides the East Coast.
It was a three week tour.
TRR: Which bands would you guys want to share a ticket with?
FOF: It would be cool to be with Our Last Night, or so many artists, we would love to play with a lot of bands or artist. Even Hip Hop, or Pop, like Post Malone, or Wiz Khalifa, he has a killer live show. I think we could really fit in where a normal, traditional live band wouldn't fit in. Our songs are Hip Hop in some sections, and we double-down on that sound, so we stand out, it sets us apart in Rock. We can play a show with Skillet, we are very diverse.
TRR: When I heard the first songs, it was similar to Royal Blood in how you can crossover. They are a more Rock edge,
yet in Pop and other genres, you just have to decide how you want to roll.
FOF: We are the production team in house so we work on that.
TRR: Who do you want to give a shout out to in this interview?
FOF: Bryan Howes, and to our label, Hopeless Records, and Eric Taubin, and Lewis, they are all great over there.
TRR: Excellent, thank you so much for being here. We wish you guys the best in quarantine and beyond.
FOF: Thank you so much, I appreciate it.
Abbe Davis is (a Music Journalist) and the singer/songwriter for Rock band, Sordid Fable. Her other passion is finding or promoting bands internationally. She and the band are recording their new album, for release in 2020. Don't miss her with Kreig and Doug, and their antics on the Tru Rock Show.