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Fired-up and set to rock

TRISH LEE talks to Firestate's Carlos Smith about their first hometown gig in two years

Trish Lee

Trish Lee


01635 886663

Fired-up and set to rock

The next NEW:Music gig, at the Corn Exchange on April 2, showcases some of the best local rock music – a lively mixture of pop punk, classic American rock and rock ‘n’ roll – bands whose influences range from Foo Fighters to Springsteen with some anarchy in the middle: Firestate, Echoic, The Black Bullets and Invisible Vegas. The gig will be the final night of Firestate’s small UK album tour.

Q: SO, you’re back out there live… First hometown gig in two years… Why so long?

We spent a lot of the time playing new venues in other areas last year to try and get our name out there more, plus we took four months off at the end of the year to finish off the album. We’ve missed playing in Newbury though, as there’s always a great crowd.

Q: YOU’VE a new album, Ghosts, due for release at the end of March – are you happy with it? Will you be
playing the new stuff at the Corn Exchange gig?

Yeah, we’re really proud of it,
especially as it’s self-recorded and produced by our lead guitarist Martin under his MSP production label. He’s spent many an hour in front of the studio computer fine-tuning to get the album just how we want it – we’re massively grateful for all of his efforts and we really hope everyone likes it as much as we do.
We’ll be playing just over half the album at the Corn Exchange show and we’re planning to play some brand new songs as well.

Q: NEW:MUSIC are trying to revive the live music scene in Newbury. How important are venues like the Corn Exchange?

It’s getting really hard for unsigned bands to book shows to play nowadays as venues all over the country are closing down every week. We’re really lucky to have a venue like the Corn Exchange on our doorstep and it’s really refreshing to see people like NEW:Music put their own time and effort into providing a platform for unsigned bands to play. Hats off to those guys. We were disappointed to hear the news that the Corn Exchange funding is at risk owing to the planned council cuts. If that happens it’s just going to get harder for young bands and performers to get seen and heard. Let’s hope we can make April 2 a sell-out and show the council how important the venue is to Newbury.

Q: What’s your band’s line up for the gig? Who are the local guys?

Three of us are from Newbury: Martin – guitar, Chris – drums, and me (Carlos) on guitar. Our bass player Dan is from Hungerford and our singer James is from Maidenhead. So Newbury is kind of our hub and we also do all of our rehearsing and recording (and drinking!) here.

Q: REVERBNATION (the online platform for musicians) says: “In a time where the unsigned music scene is awash with hundreds of similar sounding bands playing the same downtuned chords while a frontman demonically screams his way through the set Firestate are one of the few who stand out from the crowd, their music is probably best described as energetic and sometimes moody (not emo!) rock with just the right amount of heaviness where it's needed. Is that a fair description of your music?

Ha, yeah that’s about right, most of that’s based on a quote from a review last year but it just about sums us up. It’s always difficult to define our sound when asked, I’m sure we end giving a different answer every time.

Q:WHAT other bands are on the bill?

It’s a great line-up, thanks to the New:Music guys. There are four bands in total; Firestate, Echoic from
Reading, fellow Newbury/Basingstoke guys The Black Bullets and
Oxford-based Invisible Vegas. We’re really pleased to be part of such a great line-up and we’re going to have to work hard following those three bands!
WHAT’S next for the band?

Once we’ve completed this small tour and released the album, we plan to continue with as many shows as
possible throughout the rest of the year and try to get on the line-up for some of the summer festivals.
We’re already well underway with the writing of the next album as well so hopefully we can keep the momentum going and maybe even get album number two out by the end of the year.

THE NEW:Music Showcase is on Saturday, April 2, at the Corn Exchange. Age guide: 14+. Tickets: Full price £4 in advance, £6 on the door. Visit
Twitter: Firestate_music

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