Interview with AGE OF FIRE



Hi, AGE OF FIRE. First of all, are you safe during CV-19? What is the situation in your area and what are your personal thoughts on this pandemic? 

Hey everyone! This is Greg from Age of Fire. Thank you so much for asking. Yes, we are all currently fine and safe with our loved ones. We have been observing the quarantine except for necessities. Life has been in pause mode at the moment and adjusting to working from home. It currently isn’t bad here in Central Virginia but it is to the east and north. Don’t’ get me wrong, we have cases just not awful as many others are. Our hearts go out to the many places we have seen where this virus has just been devastating. As far as my thoughts on the pandemic, it’s a crazy thing to witness. Some people are adhering to restrictions quite well and others don’t seem to understand the science behind it all. I was in Europe the first week of March and started seeing the effects happening over there. Grateful for the time spent in Austria and Germany especially now in lock down. When this is over, I hope we can better realize we are all on this planet together and be more unified by our strengths than focusing on our differences.

Would you please introduce your band to our readers who are not aware of your band and music?

Absolutely, we have Laura Viglione on vocals, Michael Heck on bass and drums and myself, Greg Brown on guitars. Michael Heck juggled a lot of balls for our past CD release, Shades of Shadow. He recorded a bunch of it, mix and mastered as well as doing bass and drums on majority of it. We had some guest artists on a few tracks as well.

Give us a little insight into the formation of the band. When and how did it happen?

Wow, it goes way back. Age of Fire was formed in 1988 when I was just out of high school and my band broke up. Everyone was headed to college but I was staying locally in South Florida and going to college. I had a good friend introduce me to Jeff Osias who played drums and we formed Age of Fire. We had another bass player for a while until we were offered a chance to play gigs in theNew Jersey tri-state area and then we got Clint Jacoby. We were mostly thrash at the time but over time we wore collaborating more and the Age of Fire moniker didn’t fit. We changed the name of the band but eventually disbanded in 1993. After we split I moved to Virginia and focused on classical music, I still write and perform regularly. Over the years I’d dust off my chops on electric guitar and realized how much I missed it. Over just the last few years, I remastered and released our old demo tapes. I had so much fun with this project I decided to do new music with a few hired guns on drums and I played guitars, did vocals and played bass as well. That was the Obsidian Dreams album, all instrumental except for 2 tracks. I was blown away by the response and started working with Metal Coffee PR who helped us get even more noticed and signed by Sliptrick Records. I was already working on new music and in the middle started working with Laura and Michael. We re-recorded the 2 vocal tracks from Obsidian Dreams, and wrote 2 more, the rest are all instrumental which became Shades of Shadow which was just releases in February 2020.

At what age did you guys start playing instruments? Since when are you into metal music?

We all started pretty young. I started playing guitar at age 12 and by 14 I was performing and have never looked back.

AGE OF FIRE recently released "Shades Of Shadow". Tell us something about it. Walk us through all the tracks lyrics and meaning.

Sure thing,

Track 1. Epitaph- Is a short instrumental that starts off with orchestration, strings, French horn and flute, there’s a free form electric guitar solo and the orchestration returns. I love classical music and wanted to disc to start off with a little something different for the band. I constantly try different things out. I don’t like to keep it safe and surprise the listener.

Track 2.  Time is Running Out- This is a nod to the old thrash days. The only track with me on vocals. Arnaud Krakowka is on drums.

Track 3.- Judgement Day- This track introduces Laura on vocals. As I mentioned before this was originally on Obsidian Dreams with me on vox but we redid the whole thing. Laura shines on every track she’s on.

Track 4. Fairystones- I love the band Nightwish. This was my attempt to write something in their style but with my touch. I had a lot of fun doing this piece. Arnaud plays drums on this track as well. This was the first piece that Michael and I worked together on. It was great to bounce ideas off of him. I’ve been a solo artist for so long, I missed the band collaboration process.

Track 5. – Shades of Shadow- this is such a different piece for me to write, structurally and tone colors. There’s piano, strings, synth and electric guitar weaving through until the end. I know instrumentals aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and demand a bit more on the listener but that was really where my head space was during the writing of this album.

Track 6. King of Aquilonia- this was the first track where we tagged in Laura. I’ve wanted to work with her for some time. When I first heard her on this track with Michael’s production, I was like “OMG you guys have to officially join the band!”. This was our first single and video for the album.  Lyrically, this song is based on the Conan writings of Robert E. Howard.

Track 7. High Speed Chase- Growing up I loved the music of Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai. This track is definitely a homage to them.

Track 8. Dual Phase of a Lost Moon- This track has Steve Sanderson performing on drums. I’m a total space nerd and this instrumental had some “out there” moments. I like to write with an image in my head and try to score it out. I was picturing on ice moon in distant space when I wrote this.

Track 9. Crystal Ball- Lyrically this is a tribute to one of my all-time favorite singers, Ronnie James Dio. Growing up in the 80s I loved his songs of dragons, rainbows and magic. I wrote this song years ago and finally happy to record it.

Track 10. Mist at Dawn- What I had imagined for this piece was a nice little outro. I sent some rough tracks to Michael and he came back with this epic piece. I think originally it was less than 2 minutes and now it’s close to 7. That’s all Michael, I do think it’s a better ending to this disc.

How has been the response so far by the listeners? Have you started working on new songs already?

We have been getting great response from people and grateful to everyone who has reached out to us. We’ve had a few ‘meh’ reviews and some great ones but reviews are subjective. I’m glad people have taken the time to critique our work. But they are funny, what one person praises another dislikes. Like all art, check it out for yourself and make your own opinion.

We have started writing new material. It wasn’t the plan but with the quarantine it seems like the most logical thing to do right now. Shades of Shadow came out in February and right when momentum was building the pandemic hit. We still have a lot of promo to do for this disc and working on live shows. All rehearsals have been pushed back until we can reconvene. We are also auditioning bass players as well since Michael will be playing drums live (he did both in studio).

When and where did you play your first gig? How was the experience of going live for the first time?

The year was 1984 at a party at this town’s club house. My middle school band played. We played some originals but also Scorpions, Metallica and Van Halen. I actually did a guitar solo with a strobe light behind me and they pulled the lights off in the venue. Shredding in silhouette. I guess I liked playing live since I’m still doing it 36 years later 😊

What, according to you, is the secret behind band’s success?

Perseverance. I think you just have to keep going. It’s a marathon. With anything artistic, there are ebbs and flows. I can’t stop making music, it’s what gets me up in the morning and nothing compares to writing a piece and sharing it with others.

Ever had an epic fail moment during a gig?

Of course. Tripping over cables. Singing and the boom mic starts to fall. Showing up and bass guitar neck split on way to venue. Even had a bass rig start smoking due to lights. There really are so many.  

If asked to differentiate AGE OF FIRE from other bands in your country, how would you like to respond to it?

Us. As with any band we are a sum of it’s parts. We all have very different backgrounds. Michael and Laura love stuff from the 90s and I’m more of an 80s guy. I love the shredders and crunch of old school thrash. Laura also has a theatre background. Michael plays guitar, bass, sings, and drums. He’s a one man band especially with his audio skills.

Which bands/ artists do you draw your influences from? Which are your favorite local bands?

Some of my favorite bands are Nevermore and Nightwish but I grew up listening to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Dio, and Van Halen etc.

How do you guys manage jobs and gigs? Also how often do you guys gathering altogether just to fun?

Trying to juggle it all can be tricky. We also have musical projects beyond Age of Fire, and we also have families. I wish we could get together more often than we do. Especially now with pandemic.

AGE OF FIRE is a very promising formation. Talking of your future, 2-3 years from now, where do you see yourself?

As always, we are moving forward writing more music, working on live shows and the next CD, can’t see that stopping really. We’d love to hear from everyone reading this. Please check out our website at Ageoffire.net, we have some t-shirts available for the new album. Anyone can drop me a line at gregbrownguitar@gmail.com!

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