Emerging from the Arizona desert comes a fiery blast of engaging rock infused with pop-punk, alt-rock and metal influences courtesy of exciting new trio Fire By Night. The Pheonix band instantly grabs your attention with the distinctive vocals of lead singer Kailee (Kai) Vander Maten, supported by big chunky riffs and engaging melodic elements that they describe as “authentic, energetic and dense.”
The trio first began in 2017 when Kai met Chris ‘Skip’ Cleland (guitar and vocals) at an audition for another band, appreciated each others’ talents and started to rehearse together. The pair came from different musical backgrounds but eventually discovered a cohesive sound and wrote a few songs. They went through various band names and lineup changes but landed on Fire By Night in July 2020 then added drummer Faith Powell, who’d auditioned for another Phoenix band called Faun Flora that Skip also played guitar in.
With Faith on board, the trio has gone on to release six singles and an EP, with a further three singles ready to go from the spring of 2022.
Our most recent taste of their sound is one of their more melodic efforts in new single Obsessions. It opens up with dreamy guitars that flow into light opening vocals supported by twinkling synths. The vocals intensify as stabbing guitars creep in and build up to a catchy chorus.
The mellow guitars return as a second verse also starts in a laid-back fashion but builds in intensity led by Kai’s delicious vocals. It drops into a calm instrumental section and a light lick that explodes into life with big vocals that usher in a delicious guitar solo.
On the track, the band told us: “We’re incredibly excited to share this song with everyone. It was actually written by our former keyboardist Jay and produced by our former bassist and current sound engineer/producer Jose. We’re honored that Jay would let us represent her song, but because it came from a different writer than the majority of the rest of our music, it sounds very different from anything else we currently have out. It was just too important of a song/message for us to not release it. It is meant to envelop the listener in the heaviness of emotions, especially when you feel alone in them, or like they’re being disregarded by the people that are supposed to be the most there for you.” Give it a listen here:
The heavier side of Fire By Night comes across in their previous absolutely brilliant single Your Misery. It opens up with a twisting riff answered by a cool electronic sound that drops into engaging vocals. The riff returns alongside big screams and flows into a catchy chorus. Heavy guitars and screamed vocals tee up a huge conclusion led by Kai’s deliciously infectious vocals. Check it out here:
There’s more of the same in their self-titled EP that was released earlier this year. Epitomising this is the superb Enemy, which opens up with guitars that drop into a heavy riff, palm-muted chords and driving drums. Kai’s powerful vocals take over and develop into a big catchy chorus of dual vocals “Are you tired of being subjected to having our own blood on our hands, Does it make you sick and disgusted, Will you ever understand, It’s a monster, it’s a monster, Bad blood will drag us under, It’s a monster, it’s a monster, We must stand for each other.”
Another edgy verse and chorus follow, then a delicious stabbing riff with drums joining in lead up to a final blast of the chorus. Check it out here:
The EP is packed with great tracks like the lively The Fall. But a personal favourite is Parasite, which begins with stabbing guitar supporting Kai’s vocals. That quickly flows into an engaging chorus “You tear us apart from the inside, you’re a parasite, Just another mistake some will happily make, But I’ll be damned before they die, You’re not the same kind of guy, you’re paranoid, I can see it when you speak, There’s no hiding it from me, I’ll be waiting for the chance to watch you, watch you” that ends on a quick blast of heavier guitars.
A second chorus drops into light vocals and drawn-out guitars that develop into a little twisting riff as the vocals intensify and drop into another chorus. Things get really heavy in a big outro led by doomy drums before wild noises bring the track to a close.
As alluded to above, Fire By Night’s come from different musical backgrounds and enjoy different musical influences. For example, Skip’s guitar playing was influenced by Angus Young of AC/DC, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and, more recently, Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro. Kai came from more of a folk background but her main rock vocal influences are Hayley Williams of Paramore and Lauren Babic of CrazyEightyEight. While Faith loves pop-punk and takes inspiration from drummers like Luke Holland, Travis Barker and Chris Turner.
And on what inspires them to write music, the band tell us: “Everything we write is personal to us – things we struggle with, things we’re angry about… We try to write about our personal experiences, thoughts, and Obsessions, in particular, talks about what it’s like to go through anxiety and depression and have friends and family say things like ‘It’s going to be okay’ and ‘Just try to think positively.’
“Those statements are almost insultingly passive and show the lack of truly understanding what it’s like to struggle with anxiety and depression. Other topics you can expect to hear in some of our upcoming songs are anything from feeling like we’ve sold out our soul for a corporate agenda to feeling unsafe because of a broken relationship. No topic is off-limits for our music – it just has to be something we’ve lived through. When someone listens to our music, we want it to be a healing experience where they can know they’re not alone in what they’re going through.”
Fire By Night played their final show of 2021 last month, which coincided with some major changes as Skip moved back to California a few months ago and Kai moved to Washington last month. However, the band plans to resume gigging early next year and have several new singles they’re ready to start releasing in March. They also plan to release videos for all of these tracks, alongside acoustic versions, performance videos and remixes. They’ll also continue writing, so expect a lot more from this exciting band very soon.
And they add: “As much fun as recordings and videos can be, we really live for the stage. We each feel like we can be most authentically ourselves while performing/playing live. If you ever get the chance to come to a show, please come say hi so you can get to know ‘the real us.'”