INTERVIEW: Fires in the Distance

I had the privilege of interviewing the incredible Kristian Grimaldi (guitars/vocals) of Fires in the Distance, answering questions about their debut album, Echoes From Deep November. Thank you again to Kristian for sitting down and answering my questions. If you want to support the band or follow them on their socials, links will follow at the end of the interview!

How are you all doing? I know things have been crazy with Covid and everything else going on in 2020.

Things have been going great, thank you for asking. We’re in high spirits and extremely enthusiastic about playing our music for our fans. Even though times are stressful and the world seems to have a lot of uncertainties, making and playing music is one of the best ways to relieve the stress and depression with everything that has been going on with the coronavirus and the world. So, for the most part I would say we are doing well.

I recently heard that you debuted on the Billboard charts! I am extremely proud of you all, but along with that, how are you all feeling about it? Were you expecting your album to blow up as much as it has?

Honestly, when we found out that we debuted on the Billboard charts it was crazy. It felt like a dream, I actually had to physically pinch myself to realize that I was awake. We never thought that anything like that would happen for us. We all took great pride in writing Echoes From Deep November. We love the songs but we never expected it to blow up as much as it has. It is the biggest compliment as a musician to know that your music, your brain child, is being accepted and loved by so many people around the world. Not only that, it has been extremely inspirational to many people during these trying times in the world. It’s crazy to think that so many of our fans have gone through or felt the same way that we did writing this album. It makes us want to keep pushing the envelope and raising the bar to write more music. We are truly lucky and blessed.

What was the inspiration for the cover art of Echoes From Deep November? Who did the artwork?

The artist who did the artwork on our album is Caelan Stokkermans. He is extremely talented and has done previous artwork for Yegor, Craig, and Kyle’s previous band – Archaic Decapitator. The inspiration behind the artwork is really a summation of what Echoes From Deep November is about. Feeling desolate, being emotionally tormented, feeling alone and isolated, feeling tired of life and living. Feeling starved or robbed of certain human emotions that are so valuable to maintain sanity and happiness within yourself. The trees are fairly bare and most of the leaves have fallen. This represents the end of fall, right before winter hits. The few yellow leaves are barely hanging on to the withered branches, they’re about to die. It’s all symbolic.

When I received the album to review a few months ago, it immediately blew me away; however, listening to it now I find that it fits very well with the theme and overall feeling of the autumn season. Did you envision writing a record that encapsulates the vibe of a certain season or were you just writing what came from your heart?

First off, thank you. I’m glad that the album immediately blew you away when you first heard it for review. This is a pretty loaded question. We all love autumn over here in Connecticut. It’s my favorite time of year that’s for sure. I always loved the way the air smells and the beautiful foliage as the leaves change to their beautiful rusty colors. Even though we do love autumn this album was written 100% from the heart. The name Echoes From Deep November comes from the pain specifically myself and Yegor we’re going through during November 2018. Every member of Fires In The Distance has gone through great pain in their life. During the recording process of Echoes From Deep November I was going through a very rough personal trauma and a very painful divorce. I was broken emotionally and sick with pneumonia. Although I was going through my shit the songs didn’t only encompass me or Yegor – but every member and what they’ve been through in certain times of their lives. I kind of relate this to the character Pink, in Pink Floyd’s album, The Wall. He was a representation of every member in Pink Floyd. Songs such as “The Lock and the Key” really represent the pain that I was going through during my divorce and also the pain Yegor was going through during a very difficult relationship break up. The guitar melodies, keyboards, and vocals were all written not to appease any specific style of metal, but what we were feeling when writing the music. It is another way of speaking from the heart without using words. Every song that I have ever written in my life has been based on emotion. It’s a very healthy and safe way to let out your pain.

I mentioned in my review that I could hear Deus Ex influence in the keyboards. In regards to the keyboards, what would you all say is your biggest inspiration that you brought in to the writing of Echoes From Deep November?

As far as the keyboards are concerned we all felt that it was the main driving force of the music. Bands such as Type O Negative are probably one of the biggest inspirations for using keyboards for us, being one of my favorite bands. We always felt that was the driving force behind their unique sound. It really helped convey the emotion that Peter Steele was trying to get across when writing his songs. Guitars and vocals definitely convey emotion to an extent, but when you want to make something really hit home – especially if it’s sadness or pain – keyboards have a way of really doing that. They also help give us a much bigger sound. It adds an atmosphere to our music that I believe is one of the signatures of Fires In The Distance.

Somewhat recently, you sign to Prosthetic Records. Congratulations are in order, first of all! How do you think joining a record label has or will help you as a band moving forward?

Thank you, we are so lucky to be signed to such an incredible record label. We have all been huge fans of many bands that have been or still are on Prosthetic Records. It was a dream to be on a record label, especially Prosthetic Records. So, we are very happy that we have this incredible opportunity. They have helped us tremendously with promotion, they really got our music out to the world, their feedback is always honest and positive. I believe that the harder we work the more we get recognized. We 100% get out of Prosthetic Records what we put into it. That’s a great business ideology. They have set up fantastic interviews and connected us with some very big things already and bigger things to come. I believe as soon as the coronavirus vaccine is out and we are able to play live shows and get on the road they are going to help us out a lot with that. Our manager, Steve Joh, is incredible. He was responsible for getting us on Prosthetic Records. He found us during the coronavirus pandemic and reached out. The rest is history. I believe in the future they are going to promote us and help us continue on an upward trajectory to fantastic shows, and hopefully get us playing around the world as we so eagerly await doing.

For me, songs like “The Climb” truly feel like their namesake; the intro to the song makes me feel as though I am dragging myself up a hill, attempting to climb, but to no avail. What would you say is the inspiration for your song titles?

The inspirations for all of our song titles are exactly how “The Climb” made you feel. It’s metaphorical of what we felt when writing a specific song. All of our song titles are from real life experiences. We made them short and to the point. We also wanted it to be somewhat subjective because they can be taken many ways by the listener. That’s what’s so beautiful about the art of music.

What would you say was the hardest song to perform in the studio? And what do you think was the easiest? Were there any major hiccups that you all ran into while recording the record?

I would have to say the hardest song to perform in the studio was “Reflections In The Ice”. Mainly because it is the most complex song we have on the album as far as parts, layers, and instruments. There are a total of four rhythm guitar tracks- two lead guitar tracks done by myself and Yegor, one acoustic guitar track done by me and multiple keyboard layers. Vocally, it is one of the more intense tracks because there are a lot of parts. There are two vocal layers as well.

The easiest song in the studio was, “The Lock and the Key”. That song went very smoothly, even though there are multiple layers of every instrument and vocals as well.

As far as hiccups are concerned, the only hiccup was the fact that I was sick with pneumonia. It really affected my vocal performance. I had to go back to the studio three times to complete the vocals because my voice would disappear after an hour of screaming and growling.

Have you all begun the writing process for your next album? I know Echoes From Deep November has been set to release for quite some time now, but are you all planning on taking a break or are the creative juices in full force?

Yes, we have come up with two song ideas so far for our next album. One of them is almost complete and the other one is halfway there. Even though Echoes From Deep November has been released for about three weeks we never take breaks from coming up with new song ideas. We love writing music. The creative juices are always flowing!


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