interview with Flight of Fire

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Have any of you played in other bands? Yes! As far as serious bands go, Tia and Tanya played in an all-female, classic rock cover band called 4D back in Detroit before coming to Boston and starting Flight of Fire. Tanya also played guitar for Boston local punk rocker, Carissa Johnson, while simultaneously in Flight of Fire for about a year from Spring 2015 - 2016. Cass is currently playing in a band back in her home town of New York called Evvergreen also while playing with us.

How is it that you started playing music? Maverick started writing songs on the piano when she was 13 years old and got her first guitar at 18. Songwriting was therapeutic for her and helped her through some of the worst times in her life. She toured internationally with the San Diego Children's Choir before high school and then studied Opera performance at University of California Santa Cruz before transferring to Berklee to pursue a contemporary performance degree. 

Tia and Tanya started playing music when they joined the school band in the 5th grade playing clarinet (soon to be bass clarinet) and flute (later on introducing the piccolo) respectively. They continued performing in the school's symphonic and marching band throughout their entire middle and high school career. When they were 13, by a stroke of destiny, Tia and Tanya decided seemingly out of nowhere that they wanted to learn modern instruments as well and thus they started taking bass and guitar lessons respectively. After graduating high school, they took their passion to the next level and studied music professionally at Berklee College of Music.

Cass started playing music at the young age of 10 years old. Surprisingly enough she actually started by playing the guitar. Her Dad gave her a lot of great music to listen to growing up and she would mess around on the guitar trying to figure out the notes to her favorite rock songs. She started getting into the drums about a year later after meeting Jason Bonham- the son of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham - and while starting the early stages of what would turn out to be a mentorship under Leesa Harrington - drummer of the world famous all-female Led Zeppelin Tribute Band, Lez Zeppelin.

What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?

Maverick - Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar

Tanya Venom - Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals

Tia Mayhem - Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals

Badass Cass Kadow - Drums/Backing Vocals 

We are all in our twenties.

Have you had other previous members? We have been through a Spinal Tap variety of drummers, as we like to say, but as far as the core goes we have had the same vocalist, guitarist and bassist since the very beginning. We think that is part of what has kept us such a strong unit even in the face of ever changing drummers. 

Did you make music even when you were young? Yes we did! Fun fact: There are actually some really adorable recordings of the twins, (Tia and Tanya) singing little jingles that they came up with together when they were about 5 years old.

Where are you from?

The short answer is Boston, MA. 

The long answer is that Maverick is originally from San Diego, Tia and Tanya are from Detroit, and Cass is from a small town in upstate New York called Roxbury, but we met, formed, and (aside from Cass) we all live in Boston. 

What year did the band form? Flight of Fire was officially formed in the winter of 2009 at Berklee College of Music by Tia, Tanya, and Maverick.  

What's your style of genre? If asked to pick just one genre to define ourselves we generally go with hard rock, but coming from a wide variety of musical influences, we often dabble in progressive, metal, folk, and blues styles as well. 

What inspires you? Our main inspirations come from the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences we go through on this wild pursuit of our dreams and ambitions. 

How often and where do you rehearse? We are currently in the market for a rehearsal space of our own but for the time being we rehearse either at JamSpot in Somerville or at Cass' house in New York. Because of the fairly long commute between where Cass lives and where we live, we practice about once every two weeks or so but will practice more often if needed. 

How have you developed since you started with the music? We have developed a great deal since we started Flight of Fire in the ways of songwriting, stage presence, instrumental and vocal abilities, and how we handle the business in general. While we know we will never stop growing and developing, a few albums and a few more years later, we finally feel like we have found our sound.

Do you have other interests of work outside the band? We have a passion for supporting causes that we believe in, so we do volunteer work whenever we can for groups such as Ladies Rock Camp Boston, Girls Rock Camp Boston, the LGBT community, and Ernie Boch Jr's Charity Foundation: "Music Drives Us." In 2014, Maverick started the "Stolen Voices Project," a multimedia project that gathered together 56 performers from 5 different Boston schools to spread awareness about acquaintance rape. All proceeds from the project go to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. 

Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? There are a few specific booking agents that we work with every now and then, but most of our booking is done by us. 

Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? Yes! Our manager Liz Borden is currently label shopping on our behalf. Labels are tricky these days because with the internet it is easier to do things on your own than it used to be. We have done an incredible amount of things independently thus far, but at this point in our career, there is a lot we want to do to take us to the next level that can't quite be executed without the help and backing that a label can offer. It's important to be picky and read the contracts though. You don't want to get stuck in a contract with a label that is so small that they can't offer anything new for you, or get consumed by a label that is so big that you lose all the rights to your own music. It's a delicate balance and our manager has plenty of experience on both the good and bad sides of labels so we know she will guide us well.  

What made you decide to make this music? We make this kind of music because it is the sound of our journey and the sound in our souls. 

What are your songs about? Most of our songs are about the strength of the heart, the fire of ambition, and the inspiration to follow your dreams no matter what the cost. We also write about various other aspects of our lives including love, life, and recovery from trauma and abuse.  

Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? The three main members of the band - Maverick, Tanya, and Tia - are all lyric and songwriters as well as music composers. Between the three of us, we write all of the songs for Flight of Fire. 

Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Most of the time we start with the lyrics or the lyrics and music simultaneously. 

Do you compose in a certain environment? We take lyric idea notes no matter where we are whenever we are hit with inspiration, but we often compose best in a solitary and peaceful environment. 

Have you done any covers live? Yes, we have played a ton of covers live! We always include a few in our sets because they are super fun to play and the crowd absolutely loves them! We cover a lot of classic rock hits and a few songs that are more modern as well, but our most favorite band to cover is definitely Led Zeppelin. 

What language do you sing in? We sing in English.

What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? Since we have performed at a huge variety of venue types ranging from small dive bars to opening for major acts in arenas, the amount of people who attend our gigs is also extremely varied. Our record is Ford Field Stadium in Detroit, which has a capacity of 56,000. 

What ages are most of your concert attendants? Most of our concert attendees are either college-aged kids or middle-aged men and women. However whenever we play an all-ages or daytime event, we often attract a surprising amount of young kids and preteens so we would say the age of our fanbase is quite a large window. 

Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? Though lately we've been playing mostly originals off of our latest album, "Path of the Phoenix," we do vary the sets from show to show. Whether we're throwing in a new original, performing a surprise solo or choosing different covers from our collection, we keep it fresh and make sure our fans are always kept on their toes!

Do you have a regular place you play live often? We don't have any specific venue in which we have a regular residency, and we're always expanding our fanbase, but we do find ourselves playing a lot of gigs at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston.

What was your first gig like? Flight of Fire's very first gig was actually at one of the recital rooms at Berklee College of Music. We had a surprisingly good turnout of our Berklee friends and classmates. Our first off-campus gig was soon after that and it took place at The Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, MA. 

What was your latest gig?

Our latest gig was headlining PlumFest on Plum Island! It was a blast and a truly unforgettable experience. There's no better feeling than performing to a super fun crowd of energetic and supportive people while being surrounded by the gorgeous sight of the ocean on a beautiful day!  

Have you had to cancel a gig? Last summer while we were recording "Path of the Phoenix," we also had a long string of gigs booked over several months. During this time, our singer Maverick was battling a difficult and resilient lung infection. She pushed her way through most of the gigs but we did have to cancel a couple of those shows to prevent her from completely destroying her voice. We avoid cancelling gigs as often as possible, but when it comes to the health of one of our band members, their needs take precedence. 

Where have you played live this year? It is still early on but so far we have played a lot of awesome venues across New England this year such as The House of Blues Foundation Room in Boston, The Mill City Ballroom in Lowell, The Hard Rock Cafe in Boston, ONCE Ballroom in Somerville, and Jewel Nightclub in Manchester, NH. As the summer rolls in however, we will be doing a lot more traveling and we will be performing at some cool festivals as well. In the past we have played in various parts of the country including New York City, Long Island, Los Angeles, several cities in Florida, and all across the northern Midwest. 

Where do you plan to gig the coming year? In the coming year we are hoping to break into the gigging scene overseas. We are currently working on putting together a handful of shows or even a full tour in Europe and Japan. We strongly believe that our hard rock genre and all-female presence would be much better received in those areas so we are super excited to get over there and check it out!

When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? We started selling merch when we put out our very first album in 2011. Now we sell copies of our brand new album, "Path of the Phoenix," as well as a variety of T shirts, posters, homemade patches and pins, and of course, free business cards and stickers. 

Where can people buy your merchandise?

Our latest album, "Path of the Phoenix" can be bought wherever music is sold through vendors such as iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, Bandcamp, etc. For the rest of our merch including Physical copies of the CD, T Shirts, posters, etc, you can come see us at a show and buy merch from us in person or send us a message on our Facebook page and we can discuss a shipment. 

*Buy "Path of the Phoenix" on Bandcamp here: https://flightoffire.bandcamp.com/releases

Buy "Path of the Phoenix" on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/path-of-the-phoenix/

What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? As a financially challenged fan it is nice to have the accessibility of online music streaming but as a musician trying to make a career, it is near impossible to make a good living during this time of falling album sales. These days, larger bands make their best money touring while smaller bands have to beg their friends to come out to their local show and hope they can take home a percentage of the door or a small amount of merch sales from a generous fan. 

How do you think the music industry has changed because of this? The music industry has changed so much with the digital age. In some ways it is harder to make it and in other ways it is easier so in reality it is just different. Things like crowdfunding, social networking, home studio software, and youtube make it a lot easier for anyone to make music and share it with the world. A lot more can be done independently now than it could back in the day when you pretty much had to sell your soul to a big label to make it big. However, with the extreme accessibility of the internet comes the massive over saturation of the market. In the sea of people trying to make it with their music, it becomes a game of who has the most followers instead of whose music is the best or who is truly committed so that can be very frustrating. 

What do you think of my work? We are new to your work but from what we've seen so far, you have interviewed some really awesome bands with very thorough and interesting questions!

How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? We are always excited about opportunities to get our music out there to the masses! Every interview we do is a chance for another person to hear our story and find our music. It's wonderful to have a friend in the Scandinavian/European music scene!

Do you have any role models or idols? We idolize bands such as Led Zeppelin, Rush, Heart, The Who, Journey, Aerosmith, Queensryche, and Halestorm because of their strong and passionate vocals, impressive guitar work, melodic bass lines, powerful drumming, superior songwriting, and huge stage presence. We each individually look up to different members of these legendary bands as role models for band leadership, instrumental prowess, songwriting, and performance antics. 

Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? It is sad to say that it's not so easy to find hard rock bands these days with the larger than life stage presence, soaring vocals, lightning guitar leads, thunderous bass, heart-pounding drums, and the edgy rock n roll spirit that defined decades past. In fact, it's hard enough to find popular music today that has any real instruments at all. So yes, aside from a few select modern bands, it is absolutely easier for us to find inspiration from older bands.

What have been your biggest obstacles? Our biggest obstacles have definitely been with finding the right drummer, and on a more serious note, sexism. With every lineup change there is always a natural setback. We are extremely fortunate to have had the same core members - vocalist, guitarist and bassist - since the very beginning, but finding the right fit behind the kit has been a struggle. Female drummers are a rare breed enough as it is, let alone finding one who is local enough and shares the same musical style, ambition, skill level, drive, and commitment as us. Being an all-female band is a double edged sword because while it has its obvious marketability perks, it also comes along with some very frustrating setbacks that have created obstacles for us. Based on our experiences, we have found that we have to work extra hard to earn the credibility and respect of industry people and some of our male counterparts in general. Being taken seriously is a battle we consistently face. When people see us for the first time, we often get objectified and many people make assumptions based on the fact that we are all girls that we don't know what we are doing or that we are WITH the band, not IN the band, which is trying. We shouldn't have to wait until our set is over to earn respect, but when we are met with negative first impressions like that, we just let our performance do the talking. ;)

What advice would you give other bands or artists? The most important piece of advice that we would like to give to other bands or artists would be to never give up! No matter how tough it may get, and it will get tough, you just have to follow your heart down the path you feel is right and always believe in the value of your music. If anyone causes you to stray, then let your mistakes make you stronger and use this new found strength to find your way back to the path. Don't be afraid to leave the toxic people behind in the past. 

How do you get psyched for a gig? We prepare for gigs by doing vocal warmups, stretches, making sure our hair and makeup is on point, taking a fun photo together to advertise the show on our social media accounts, and lastly we get pumped up by doing our Flight of Fire secret handshake! 

Do you have any new material? Yes, we are constantly working on new songs. Our latest album is less than a year old so right now we are mainly focused on pushing that with the exception of releasing a few new singles sometime in the not so far future. 

What are your websites?

www.flightoffire.com

www.facebook.com/flightoffire

www.twitter.com/Flight_of_Fire

www.youtube.com/user/FlightOfFireMusic/videos

www.flightoffire.bandcamp.com/releases

Instagram Username: FlightofFire

How can people reach you? The best way to reach us is to either message us on Facebook or email us at booking@flightoffire.com

What are your plans for the future? The future holds boundless possibilities that could strike at any time. Our plan is to continue to forge forward making our music, playing shows, booking tours, and reaching out to labels while always being prepared for what opportunities may arise. Our dreams are big and our determination is strong so we won't stop until we reach the top. Arena tours, here we come! 

Do you have something to add? Thank you so much for checking out our interview! We hope you enjoy what you read and take a second to listen our music! Rock on!

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