Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!
David Williams is as high energy as his shimmering, indie pop band, Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!. Having played together for quite a while with Williams at the helm, the addition of vocalist Caitlin Duff added a distinctive layer to the band’s sound that has taken them from indie-cute to outright adorable. Support has come from the obligatory indie channels but Fire! have taken their time refining their sound, their live performance and their plans for the future. While packing up boxes at his mum’s house and readying himself for a move from his hometown of Adelaide to Melbourne, Williams has a lot to say on every question asked and is brimming with enthusiasm. He loves his band, he loves a chat and he seems to love the idea of playing music for as long as he can without putting masses of pressure on the band or himself.
I ask whether he has left the nest before and he laughs that he has returned and there is certainly no despair from his (loving) mum. “She’s looking at me like, ‘Off you go’,” Williams laughs. “I’m the little bird that is hanging around for far too long filling her house with my crap.”
When we discuss the support the band has received from radio to some pretty exciting support slots (St Vincent, Band Of Skulls, Kimbra and a heap more), he suggests that the songs that haven’t garnered as much backing as the singles Panther Shrine and Animal Spirit Guide, were overlooked because they simply weren’t good enough. I remind him that commercial success is certainly not an accurate measure of musical quality.
“I couldn’t agree with you more,” Williams says. “When I say that there were songs that weren’t good enough, I certainly don’t mean that they weren’t good enough because they were slightly left of centre, I simply mean they weren’t good enough. I have no problem with assessing songs that I have written in the past and realising that people didn’t like those songs because they just weren’t very good songs. I don’t think Fire! have done that much that is left of centre; we are comfortable with that. We also don’t just bang out a song and go and consciously add the words ‘disco, party, radio, love, girlfriend’; if you put those words in then that generates pop success. We do love pop music, though. Pop music is just as good as any other genre of music. If people don’t agree with me they can go screw it, I don’t care,” he says, laughing.
Williams continues along this line of thought pondering the bands that he sees around him that haven’t had the industry support that has afforded Fire! a wide range of opportunities. “It can get you a little down, can’t it?” he says wistfully. “You see people who are doing some really amazing things but because they are just a little bit left of centre, they don’t get that springboard to reach a greater audience, they aren’t given those opportunities and really, all they are doing is writing music completely on their own terms. I don’t think musicians should be punished for that.”
With a large portion of the band already in Melbourne, Williams is excited that they will finally be in the one place. They have been fine-tuning a host of new material but life and all of its economic demands have gotten in the way. “We have always had great support here in Adelaide but the opportunities are simply more abundant in Melbourne. Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for all of the support we have had it but it is simply a smaller place. It has been really hard being spread across the country so getting us all in one place will make moving forward a whole lot easier.”
With a single released last year as a teaser for their sophomore release, and Codebreaker arriving as their second single, I finish up by asking exactly when this follow-up album will appear. “We have been playing with the same set for a while and we really haven’t been able to get a lot of those songs recorded yet,” he admits. “The second album has a lot of boxes ticked but what it needs is to be filled out and have a cohesive sound and the songs that aren’t recorded will do that. We are so well practiced with them that if we had a week in the studio, we could bang them out easily. We just haven’t had the time. The second album is there, we just need to join the dots.”
BY KRISSI WEISS
FIRE! SANTA ROSA, FIRE! are joining locals Founds on The Gemini Tour playing at The Worker’s Club on Friday June 22.