Recently the French metallers of Fireback released their first full-length album, called Theory Of Happiness. It’s the follow-up of their debut EP Wake Up, released in 2012. Below you can read the interview DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen had with Fireback’s guitarist/vocalist Joe.
Hey, how are you?
Hey man! We’re fine, thank you. Thanks a lot to take some time for us.
Fireback is already 8 years old, can you tell us a bit about the history and its members?
We’ve had line-up issues every now and then since the beginning, hence the release of the album a couple of years after the creation of Fireback. Yet we’ve been together for three years now, and finally step up to this album project. Seb (lead vocals) and me (Joe, guitar/vocals) are the only founder members left. We enlisted Alex on drums in 2014, Thibaut on bass a couple of months later, and then Aurel on guitar right after.
What’s the story behind your bandname?
Seb and me were looking out for a punchy monicker that wasn’t sounding too « gore ». One day, at university, we came across a book by German philosopher Feuerbach. In terms of pronunciation, that lead us to Fireback. We already had this idea but from this day we thought it was definitely a cool bandname. We loved the concept of backfire, the idea that when you’re doing a mistake, you have to pay for it one day or another, that kind of « what goes around comes around » thing. This makes sense regarding our lyrics too: we do think that enslaving people with power and money is something humanity will have to pay for, one day or another.
When someone who haven’t heard your music before asks you how it sounds, how would you describe Fireback’s music?
That’s a tough one, it’s always hard to describe your own music. Same thing when we’re asked about the genre we play. Is it hardcore metal, deathcore, metalcore? Hard to say. Some people think we’re a hardcore band, some say we’re metalcore. It depends on point of views and what the people feel when they listen to our music. We do think we’re a metal band. Each member brings his personal touch and influences. It’s no surprise you can find many different things in our sound. The main thing for us is to play something powerful that people like to move to when we’re playing live. We love live communion, that’s what drives us.
Recently you released your latest album, called Theory Of Happiness, how are the responses so far?
So far so good! We’ve been doing a release party on May 19th in a club that we know pretty well. A lot of people showed up, they loved the show and the album as well. Some people have always something to say about your music of course, that’s what this world’s diversity is all about. We’re always very open minded to criticism as long as it’s constructive. But as I said before, so far so good.
Theory Of Happiness is your first full-length, how does it feel to finally have it released?
Having your record finally being sold in record stores is one big relief. It’s a hard work to achieve. You have to be constantly precise and meticulous, remain alert. Once it’s over at last, you’re really happy. After a little pause in writing, we’re now ready to start working on the next one!
When you compare Theory Of Happiness with your debut EP, Wake Up (2012), what differences do you hear?
That’s funny because I listened again to our EP recently, and I still think it’s cool. People are often jaded by their previous works, they always want to sound better next time… But I honestly think the EP’s ok. We’d worked a lot on it, particularly in terms of sound. Of course there are some differences. It doesn’t sound the same because we didn’t record at the same place. Drums and bass don’t sound the same because musicians are not the same anymore. Yet the spirit of Fireback can be found in both lyrics and music on the two recordings.
In your presskit, you state the following about the album title and its lyrics: “The title of the album speaks by itself and sums up what the lyrics are all about. We’re living in a world that’s dominated by a growing oligarchy which tries – through advertising and media – to force feed us a theory of happiness and teach us how to be « happy ». A human existence threatened by the lethal domination of money and power.” Do you think there is a solution for this problem, and if so, what do you think it is?
We’re not here to find solutions. We don’t want to be that « holier-than-thou » kind of guys, we’re just watchers. We express our thoughts, our reflections about the world that surrounds us. There are solutions of course, but which one is the good one? What we see and what disappoints us is the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Knowing that a human being is able to enslave another man with his power is something we don’t find fair. Regarding the album title, it’s about powerful people that want to tell us how to be happy, what to like… through advertising and media. Buy that car and you’ll be happy, buy that household product and you’ll be happy, listen to that singer, buy his merchandising and you’ll be happy… Even while being fully conscious of that, you still feel like someone’s trying to lobotomize your brain. We’re sold a theory of happiness, a concept created by capitalists to sell more and more, and gather money endlessly. Why? To become richer than the rich and making others poorer than the poor. This total imbalance is lamentable.
Your lyrics are part English, part French, why did you decide to do it this way?
Our singer Seb decided to mix both languages. He thinks that French can help people in our country to understand the lyrics, and that English (on choruses for example) expands our message to non-French speakers. Many bands use English because it sticks to the rhythm. English is more melodious. But we chose to harden things a little bit with French parts, which are a more direct medium for us to deliver our message in our homeland.
What do you think about singing in English versus singing in a foreign language?
Some people like it, some others find that almost scandalous because one is not supposed to mix different languages within the same song. Even if we’re not for globalization, we’re defenders of multiculturalism, and linguistic diversity is part of it. Using our mother tongue is a nod to our original culture. It may become a benefit too at the end of the day: some bands got famous by using their native tongue, the most well-known being probably Rammstein. Strip German from their lyrics and you will lose the genuine spirit. Some French bands like Smash Hit Combo or L’Esprit Du Clan do sing in French and are able to export their music abroad.
Can we expect some Fireback shows in the near future? Maybe in The Netherlands?
We have some shows booked in France but nothing planned in The Netherlands for the moment. But why not in a near future, we’d love it!
Any other future plans for Fireback you can already tell us about?
We’re currently writing our next album, slowly but steadily. We plan to shoot a new video, and we’d like to tour Europe if we find a good opportunity.
Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to our readers?
First I’d like to thank you for the time you spent with us on this interview. We appreciate it, thank you so much. Thanks to the readers that have read this interview. Our album is available at shows but also online through Big Cartel or by getting in touch with us directly through Facebook. Check our first video for Desolation on YouTube. Feel free to check our Facebook page for any information regarding the band. Thank you all and see you soon!
I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 27 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles. However, metal is what I mostly listen to. I also like going to concerts, meeting with friends and watching movies (especially arthouse).