Having been impressed with their debut single a good few weeks back, we had the chance to get to know the band and enterprise behind the striking introduction to Fires of Freya. So with thanks to vocalist Cheryl Reynolds we had the pleasure to stare into the flames of UK band and explore…
Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.
Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?
Hello! We are Fires of Freya and we are Cheryl Reynolds on main vocals and keyboard, Shaun Evans on guitar, James Withington on bass guitar and Dan Baldwin on drums. Initially, the aim was to create an all-female grunge type band but it was soon realised that it’s very difficult to find a female bassist, or at least it was at the time so we scrapped that idea and brought in a guy. The members have changed over the time the band’s existed and so the two longest and original members are Cheryl and Dan, Shaun joined in May 2018 and then James came in a year later. We didn’t know each other before forming the band, the beauty of music is that it pulls people together and now we’re like a little family!
Have you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?
We’ve all been or are in different bands, most musicians have a sort of addiction to performing and creating so you do find this often. I was mostly in cover bands and so this was useful in building up my confidence and figuring out what type of sound best suites my vocals, but it came with the comfort of knowing people would like the actual music already!
What inspired the band name?
I love mythology and anything to do with Norse mythology in particular, “Freya” is the Norse goddess of Love and War, among other things, and the “Fires” had a nice epic ring to it.
Can you expand on that specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?
Initially yes, we were going for a gunge sort of sound, but when that didn’t work out it morphed with new members coming in, in the beginning we had a more punk rock sort of sound, Alkaline Trio sort of vibes but again our sound has changed from then. We are very eclectic with the music we write; we write what we think sounds good wither it fits a specific genre or subgenre matters very little to us, especially as we all have an array of influences. We aim to be a Rock band, but that title really does have many colours.
Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?
I’d say the same things drive the band, the fact we all get on and enjoy each other’s company, the want to write new material, the want to tour outside the North East and create an album have always been there and still are.
Since those early days pin down how your sound has evolved?
Massively and it continues to evolve, we’ve gone from attempts at being a grunge band to adding punk rock type sounds to then adding soft rock/ballads and when Shaun joined we then took a more modern blues rock route. Now we all add whatever we think sounds good, we have heavier grungy songs, soft rock songs, blues rock vibes and we even have a couple verging on pop rock. Our gigs are never boring, put it that way! But it all seems to work and have a similar flow so we tend to get away with being so varied.
Always more of an organic movement of sound or predominantly the band deliberately setting out to try new things?
It’s the band wanting to try new things, infuse our own influences and keep it fresh. Our sound has definitely matured organically over the time we’ve been together though.
Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?
Shaun coming into the band added a blues style of play to our songs, blues rock isn’t something I personally listened to much before, but I’ve discovered an appreciation for it.
Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the creation of songs?
Sort of, we’ve got 2 methods we use. 1. The lesser used option, but we do sometimes just have a jam and see what we can come up with. I’ve got a bank of lyrics written with no allocated music as of yet and so I’d then go through these to check which ones fit the song we are jamming out! 2. One of the band writes the bones of a song, the initial idea.; then he writer will record this just on our phones, so if it’s me with an idea, I’ll record my idea on either guitar, bass or keyboard and sing it and send it into the guys. Shaun and James do similar but always leave me to add lyrics and vocals.
Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?
Emotions and situations in life. We have songs that are loosely based on heartache from failed relationships, the feelings generated from the way someone has treated me, love and past loves; some songs that are full of attitude and speak of not letting people put you down.
Give us some background to your latest release.
21st of February we release our new single “Complicated”, it’s rocky and bouncy and a little bit bluesy (although it may not be any of those as I’m not very good at naming genres!) with powerful vocals and a blinding solo! It’s partly based on touching base with the topic of mental health and the struggles of fighting the “demons” of your mind and how this can interfere in relationships and how showing a little support and encouragement can go a long way.
At the moment it’s just the one song, explained above, but it will form part of our debut album which we hope to release at the end of 2020. Our debut single “Take a Bow” was more about not allowing people put you down, it’s full of attitude and self-empowerment!
Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
We go into the studio with the song pretty much in its final stages but are always open to idea and once we record the 1st draft we always listen through over and over to see if there is anything to add or take away. Backing vocals and layers are something that happens in the studio and they are done in the studio, not normally pre-planned.
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably a favourite aspect of the band?
We love performing live it’s true. We’ve been told we suite a big stage in the past and that our stage energy is similar to that of bands like Bring Me the Horizon. If there is room to move around, we’ll make use of the entire stage, ever inch! If there is the ability to come off the stage and get amongst the crowd, I tend to like doing that. We are also able to calm it down and perform our emotional tracks and I hope bring the emotions across. I tried to bring big beach balls to a show once but I bought them online and they turned out to be massive! Way bigger than I expected. Ended up not using them as it was for a gig in a small venue and not only would this ball take up much of the room, if anyone got hot with it, it would probably have sent them flying! Live shows also give our Shaun the chance to break out his shit shirts! He has so many and each more awful than the last!
It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?
It is tough, I think because we are so eclectic, we do need to work hard to build a fan base because people won’t like us for simply belonging to a specific genre. We need to convince people to like us and listen to us because they like our actual songs, their messages and our performances of them. We’ve gigged a lot in the North East of England and in the beginning it was quite a challenge finding gigs to play but now we are more established and know so many other bands in the area it isn’t as hard now. It really is so important to befriend other bands, they will be your 1st fans and support and you theirs, you can make it if you support each other!
How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?
Social media is important, it’s the main way we can connect with our fans and let them know what we are up to. The pictures, music and videos we post on there build the band’s image. The more fans you have on there the more popular you seem and so more opportunities come your way for things like festivals which lets you reach even more people. It’s a tool and should be utilised to the best of your ability and used to stay connected with your fans. It’s not the be all and end all though; a lot of our fans discovered us by going to see another band we were billed with, the live scene is still the best way to gain true fans I believe.
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
Look out for our next single “Complicated” released 21st of February; we’ll also have a music video to accompany this soon after! And check out or website http://www.firesoffreya.com or Facebook page for the next gig and get yourself along!
Pete RingMaster 18/02/2020
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