We caught up with AJ from Fire From The Gods by phone for a new interview, while he was self-quarantining at home with his family. AJ talked at length about how coronavirus is affecting him personally, how his band is spending the time at home working on new music, the last tours supporting their recent album American Sun (Better Noise), how he feels society and government need to work together in the future in light of the pandemic, what books are on his quarantine-list, and how he stays creative, mentally strong, and upbeat in these tough times. Continue reading
Fire From The Gods recently released Narrative on Rise Records, and it’s an album I feel everyone needs to hear. The power of the lyrics is only enhanced by the intensity of the music, and it makes for a great listen, no matter what type of music you enjoy. AJ Channer‘s words are truly heartfelt, and he brings the listener on an uplifting journey from the beginning to the end. I’ve been a fan of his work for years now, but this is his shining moment, and a stepping stone for what can only be an even brighter future.
I recently got to chat with AJ about writing, recording, and performing the tracks on this new record, and you can read our interview below. This is a man that has something to say, and after you read his words, I urge you to grab Narrative today! Continue reading
Texas music has began to sprout about in various regions of the state and has produced some promising new prospects over the past few years. Alongside fellow heavy music statesmen Nothing More and Shattered Sun comes Fire From The Gods out of Austin and are making noise within their scene. Band guitarist Jameson Teat believes they are representing Texas rock alongside the other bands popping up as of late.
“We’re bringing the dirty six string vibe in it as well. There’s a lot of great bands over there too. It’s cool to see a little bit of a band from that era to break out of a scene from there too.”
Freshly signed to Rise Records following their second appearance on Knotfest, this six piece began gaining attention through touring independently regionally and attracting fans along the way. Being that they come out a scene that was billed the highest grossing city for live music, they are about to bring attention to a heavy music scene in Austin that has previously been somewhat overshadowed by other genres of music that thrives there.
“I hope so! There’s a lot of great bands in Austin too,” said Teat. “The rock scene will get there but I guess like indie rock and pop punk…stuff like that is going really strong. Bands are starting to get into where they can get out of the city and not play Austin for a little bit and come back for little bigger shows. The bands there are really great too.”
Speaking of Knotfest, Teat enjoyed his time at this year’s edition and being they were the first band aside from the headliners to play on both of them, he saw some obvious progressions on being recognized by fans.
“We played it last year too. It was insane. This year some of the headliners are huge, like Judas Priest and Korn – can’t wait to see [Korn]. Tomorrow is Bring Me The Horizon. It’s awesome here. The people here are so nice. It’s cool coming back here to play this festival. We see a lot of our merch running around too. Back then we were an unsigned band but we’re from Texas and our singer AJ [Channer] lives in Brooklyn. So coming back here as small town kids and seeing a lot of these fans that are here to see Slipknot and wearing your merch…it’s insane. It’s like them coming up your booth and telling you ‘we’re so glad to see you sitting here.’ It’s awesome.”
So any odd Knotfest stories to share? “The people and the characters…there’s so much going on. The museum for one – we’re all big Slipknot fans. Last year we’re at our stage and Corey Taylor was over there. He was just hanging out. That was cool to us. Seeing that dome that people were going crazy in and climbing on top of the dirt bikes and monster trucks; and all of the great music on the stages and all of the characters like the people on the stilts, the creepy people walking around. It’s pretty crazy.”
He talked about the origins of Fire From The Gods and how they came together. “Fire From The Gods have been around since ’08. They were always going through a bunch of members, but as far as I know before I moved to Austin, I always heard about Fire From The Gods being the heavy band in Austin. They would get on the best shows and they would always be touring a lot.”
“Whenever I moved to Austin, we all became really good friends. I started touring with them in my other band and they kept going through member changes and couldn’t find that good, comfy fit. They got rid of their guitarist and I filled in for them off and on until they found somebody, but that never worked out. So I became a permanent member. I came in when AJ [Channer] the vocalist, the other vocalist Chris [Mardis] and Richie [Wicander] the drummer all came in at one time. We started jamming and it just clicked.”
“We came together with AJ with the Headbang For The Highway program. That being said, he brought us out if we would go out on some tours and see how the lineup works. We all got along great. We clicked really well musically and we made an impact. This is as much attention as the band’s ever got. So we kept pushing on and writing some songs, and shopping it around.”
“Our basic concept was we would go out for a tour – two to three weeks and then come home, write a couple of songs, record them, keep them on the backburner, go out for another couple of weeks, come home and write another couple of songs…over and over and over. We took those songs and kept shopping them around. That’s how Rise came around, hearing them and they wanted more. It’s business and we’re here now.”
Taking their name from a slogan from another band, they immediately used that to fuel themselves into making everything come together into a complete band.
“It was Drew [Walker] the other guitarist and one of the original members…from what he was saying it came from a small clip from a band…Horse the Band. I think it was some sort of whisper or something that said ‘fire from the gods.’ That’s where they first got the idea and they liked the term.”
He talked about the club scene that Fire From The Gods came out of. “The Dirty Dog Bar is a really great venue, really great staff and all of the promoters are awesome. They treat all of the out of town bands good. Red 7 and Holy Mountain just closed but they just opened a brand new venue right down the street. Emo’s is another good one. More than likely it’s the Dirty Dog Bar. That’s the best one I think.”
Originally from the Dallas/Fort Worth area, he met his current bandmates back when he played in a previous band. Liking what he heard and saw of them, he was swayed into joining them and relocating to Austin.
“I’m from a little town right outside of Dallas/Fort Worth called Dublin, Texas. That’s where Dr. Pepper is from. I’m from there and I was always playing shows in the Dallas/Fort Worth scene. I went down to Austin and they were the first people I met. They befriended me and I’ve been here ever since.”
Coming from a scene known for bands like Pantera and Drowning Pool, his previous band was not quite like what most would expect. “I was in a similar band that was more like Underoath, Norma Jean, Maylene [and the Sons of Disaster] type stuff….Every Time I Die…and we would do shows with them every time we went to Austin.”
“We would go from the whole Dallas/Fort Worth, Pantera/Deep Ellum type shit and then go right into the Austin 6th Street vibe. I remember my first time that I actually went on tour with my other band and I hit Austin and our van and trailer got towed. From my first time I actually went, we got towed and I was like ‘I’m not going back to Austin!’ But I ended up moving there.”
Lastly, Teat gave an update on when to expect new music from Fire From The Gods.
“Right now we released a song ‘Tenders’ and we might be in the works to where in November we might be doing a little bit of pre production and then in the very beginning of December we’re going to be tracking the new record until January. Hopefully in that due time we’re going to be releasing maybe one to two more new singles. That’s to create a little bit of hype and keep people in the loop.”
By Rei Nishimoto