Jas Morris // Guitarist-Vocalist From Devon Rock Band FIREKIND Talks Exclusively To Rock ‘N’ Load About Their Upcoming Release
‘WHAT I HAVE FOUND IS ALREADY LOST’ DELUXE EDITION IS RELEASED OCTOBER 30 ON ALL DIGITAL PLATFORMS
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FIREKIND, Devon UK based modern rock 3 piece, announce their album ‘What I Have Found Is Already Lost’ Deluxe Edition in a self-release. Jas Morris (frontman and previous Guitarist Magazine Guitarist of the Year winner) says of lead single and video ‘Adrenalin’, “It’s about not letting any negative aspects, that could easily take over your life, define who you are. You have to take a proverbial shot of adrenalin and get on with things.” Fusing epic, soaring vocal and guitar melodies with driving, powerful drums and bass the band consists of brothers Jas (vocals, guitar), Dan Morris (bass, keys) and Robin Shute (drums). Original drummer and close friend of the band, Dan Collings played on the album. With hard rock and prog roots spiced with an arena sound blent in, it’s hard to pigeon hole them which bodes to a myriad of rock tastes.
This is a theme throughout, augmented by the acoustic bonus tracks which were recorded and produced by Jas and Dan in their home studio during Covid-19 lock down. Moving with grief in ‘Coming Out Alive’, leaving a relationship behind in the brooding ‘If There’s Any Reason’, the flipside potential of being there for someone as a ‘Cry For Help’ and the uplifting ‘Sound Of Rain’ having battled through tough times all feature with a lingering overarching resonance. Previous single ‘It’s Not Over’ was deemed “most excellent” by Planet Rock and was also well received by other stations upon their A-List rotations in the UK and further afield. Produced in West Hollywood, Los Angeles by the highly acclaimed and sought after Alain Johannes (Queens Of The Stone Age, Chris Cornell, PJ Harvey) at his home studio – Jas enthuses “Alain is an amazing man and created such a cool vibe for us the whole time, along with our friends there. We used Dave Grohl’s personal amps, a hybrid of Guns N’ Roses and Jason Bonham’s drum kits! It was so inspiring and pushed us on to give even more than we believed we had already.” The band have played several successful tours and festivals in the UK, French/Swiss Alps with profile acts including Feeder, Reef, Wishbone Ash, Walter Trout and Ocean Colour Scene. Previously in 2013, they won the Global Battle of The Bands final in Chiang Mai, Thailand having blazed their way through the UK and Europe heats.
Along the way there have been escapades partying with the Foo Fighters in London at the ‘Sound City’ film launch, trading muffins for beer with Tinie Tempah, introducing Sharleen Spiteri (Texas) to tequila & orange and teaching Eliza Doolittle how to “Blue Steel”. Firekind are here for fun, to set alight speakers and torch stages.
Hi Jas, thanks for taking the time to chat to us here at Rock ‘N’ Load World HQ.
It’s a pleasure!
For anyone who has yet to discover the enigma that is FIREKIND, give us a brief history and describe for us as best you can the overall sound and vibe you wanted to create from this band.
I’ve always been a huge film soundtrack fan, so writing music that has a filmic quality is often where a lot of our ideas come from. Being a 3 piece, trying to create as much sound as possible is always a part of it too. It’s almost like a challenge, many times I often think of how I can improve a guitar part to make it more interesting and fulfilling for the song.
FIREKIND is a family affair with your brother Dan on bass and keys, I am assuming you guys have surrounded yourselves with music from a very young age? Who inspired and drove you as a young artist to pursue a career in music?
Our Dad was a professional musician gigging many times a week and he was always so passionate about guitars and music. Instruments were always around the house so it was easy to pick one up and have fun. I remember going to see my Dad perform for the first time, it just absolutely blew me away. I was probably 9 or 10 years old at that point and I knew right then and there that that was what I wanted to do in life. Also, generally being a bit of a quiet introverted child, the guitar and music provided some sort of expression that was nowhere else found.
You yourself have previously been awarded the Guitarist Magazine Guitarist Of The Year Award, what do you feel it takes to separate yourself from the crowd as a modern-day guitarist, trends come and go and we really are in new territory with the digital age and 24/7 exposure to players globally, yet to collect such an accolade is an acknowledgement that you have managed to make your mark. How do you think you achieved that?
I have always tried to look at the guitar as a tool for creating melody and for expression as opposed to a tool for technique (also something that my Dad instilled in me). From there onwards, my aim has always been to write guitar music which I would like to listen to. Technique alone can only go so far when it comes to listening to a piece of music for enjoyment, well for me anyway. The guitar is such a beautifully versatile instrument that I if you always keep the melody and feel in mind, you are always onto a good start and that is the best way to keep a piece as timeless as possible – as the technique may change with trends, but a good track will always be a good track.
My favorite players, new and old, pioneering or just playing good ‘ole chops, in my view always have melody and feel in mind. I’m lucky enough to be endorsed by Seth Baccus Guitars, which I absolutely adore. Finding a connection with a guitar/s definitely helps 100%.
Having a disciplined practice routine is also totally paramount, growing up in a musical household this was always pretty easy. Every day, get in your 2-4 hours of practice, no debate, just get it in. There are always those days in which you don’t want to practice but it’s those days that are often the most important.
With winning such an award, was there any additional pressure after living up to the expectation with such a title?
Oh absolutely. Going into the competition, I had nothing to lose. At that stage obviously you want to win but still taking part in the finals is enough to leave you sort of satisfied. Once I’d won that title it took me a small handful of years to even think about entering another competition. Looking back it was most likely a fear of putting myself out there again when in reality it’s competitions like this that really push you to achieve and up your game.
The album ‘What I Have Found Is Already Lost’ Deluxe Edition drops in October, obviously we have to talk about the elephant in the room and the cluster f**k that is 2020 first, obviously there would have been a lot of hard work put into getting this album to the point ready for launch, I am sure 2020 has been a real challenge for you and the guys. How have you found the crisis that the industry has thrown at you via Covid-19 thus far?
In all honesty, pre-covid we were out gigging very regularly, 4/5 times every week all over the place and obviously absolutely loving it. However, when you have a gig schedule that busy it is hard to find the time to think about much else. So when lockdown came into action, it gave us a moment to sit back and analyze things, re-evaluate and set a plan going forward. We had this album sitting there and we weren’t really giving it it’s due exposure. So with the sudden halt to that busy schedule, and with a little intervention from a longstanding good friend who is now our Manager and runs our PR, we were like, whoa, we gotta get this out!!
Was there a debate at all as to launch the album coming out of the other side of the pandemic?
It’s the right thing to do. Who knows if the music industry will ever be the same so the view was to just get it out there and let’s see what happens. People are always going to want to listen to music so it’s about finding the right outlets and being creating in promoting it in this new rapidly evolving environment. Obviously, we can’t wait to resume shows again, but I do think a lot of the new innovations and norms that are beginning to develop due to the pandemic i.e live streams and creative ways of performing virtually are going to stick around and be part of the new scene that stays going into the future.
Do you feel that how the public consumes music these days impacts as much as to when an artist/band like FIREKIND drops new music, or is the demand so great for new music that the appetite will always be there?
Yes, it has totally changed, even in the space of 5 years. Albums in their entirety don’t seem to be consumed that way as much as they used to. Especially when you would go out and buy a CD, head home and listen to it from start to finish. It seems to be all about individual tracks nowadays, and that means having a constant stream of releases. So in that way, it keeps you on your toes and encourages you to write more. With an album that is already formed, it kinda pushes you to be a little more creative with how you are going to release each single from the album and to make sure the tracks are strong enough on their own.
Regarding the album, tell us how you came to work with such a highly regarded producer in Alain Johannes?
Through various turns of good luck, we ended attracting the attention of the music industry heavy-weight John Wadlow. He used to manage Seal back in the day and he became a mentor of sorts to us and provided some incredible feedback when we were in the early stages of writing and pre-production. He is good friends with Alain Johannes so over time put us in touch. As luck would have it Alain was a fan of our music, liked what he heard, and wanted to work with us on creating this album.
How long did the process take, and how was that experience, what did you feel that Alain brought to the party?
We spent many months pre-producing the album back in the UK, going over the songs, and making rough demos which we would send to Alain for his thoughts. He would then get back to us with his ideas and we were often left thinking ‘why didn’t we think of that!’. I think it really is an important part of the process so that when you arrive in the studio you don’t waste any time. We only spent a month in the studio, but by that point, we were pretty on point and it allowed us to relax a little and be more creative when we needed to. We were at it for solid 12 hour days though and we only had a couple of days off. But the experience was so incredible and Alain’s studio is so incredible you can’t help but get immersed in it all.
Are you happy with the end product? Do you feel ‘What I Have Found Is Already Lost’ represents the best of FIREKIND in 2020?
We always knew that working with a Producer of such caliber as Alain, that the album was always going to sound great, but when the final mastered tracks came through we were just blown away and it was more than we had ever hoped for. Alain gave our tracks such an edge which we absolutely love. Obviously we are huge fans of Alain’s other bands and acts like Eleven, QOTSA, Chris Cornell, etc, so having our tracks sounds a little like that was enough to blow our minds completely!
I am sure with the album release on the horizon you guys are chomping at the bit to get it out there and get back doing what you love, how do you see the landscape of the live experience moving forward?
We can only hope that one day the music scene will bounce back with strength and we will be out at busy shows having amazing gigs. For now, though, we are pretty excited to explore the digital streaming landscape. With the sheer amount of content that people consume via social media these days, exploring the live streaming realm really opens up another leaf to performing and getting out there. It also forces you to explore other ways of performing that you may not have done before. I’ve done a handful of live streams now and due to the set-up of my home studio, they have been laid back acoustic tracks. Working on acoustic versions of heavier rock tracks really takes you back to the basics of the song and lets the raw quality of it come out. Back in the midst of lockdown this then inspired a bunch of acoustic versions which then formed a large chunk of the added songs on the deluxe album!
The time during the lockdown, were you able to step back and reset, or did you use that time creatively to write new material? Do you enjoy the time at home off the road or is that something you find tough?
Writing has been in full flow, especially with how bizarre life has been it certainly gives you extra experiences to write about. The time off has certainly given a new perspective on it all. Fortunately, my house is full of guitars and I have a studio at home which I absolutely love spending time in, so whenever the urge to gig would come up, I’d just head into my studio and be creative. Having the opportunity to live in a studio environment 24/7 doesn’t come around often so that was me sorted!
What has been the biggest lesson for you coming out of the 2020 Covid experience and do you think it has changed you in any way at all?
It can be so easy to just get caught up in the flow of day to day life that you often put things off for another day. Along comes lockdown and everything draws to a halt, you can take a second to realize that you have been putting things off. I have 100s and 100s or unfinished songs as I find the songwriting and creative process to often be an endless task, it’s common to feel that a song is never quite finished. Sometimes you just have to put a full stop on it and you have just got to get your music out there! ‘A song is finished when you stop working on it’ is one of my new favorite sayings. It’s important to have a think about what you really want to achieve in the years to come, make a plan, and put those plans in motion. Don’t delay!!
Many thanks, Jas, best of luck with the album launch and beyond.