I FIGHT BEARS (from l-r): Drew Hamley (bass/vocals), Chris Treharne (guitar), Dan Trigga (vocals), Scott Preece (drums), Marc James (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
The south Wales town of Bridgend has become a hotbed of metal over the last decade, with hugely successful bands Funeral For A Friend and Bullet For My Valentine both hailing from there.
One outfit hopeful of some day emulating those two are I Fight Bears. Taking influence from the likes of Killswitch Engage, Parkway Drive, and Avenged Sevenfold, the five-piece specialise in a fast-paced, intense sound comprising of thrashy, colossal guitar riffs, melodic choruses, and towering vocals.
Bringing out their self-titled debut album in the new year, with one of the tracks, ‘Lost The Fight’, already released and getting positive reviews, the band chatted with me about what else can be expected from it, as well as how they put their forthcoming release together.
How did the band initially get together?
It started with Dan pestering Drew to get involved with writing some tracks. Drew eventually agreed. Marc was keen to get involved with something, having previously worked with Drew in other projects and joined in on the writing sessions.
What came out was very promising and developed from one rough track to four possible tracks. Chris and Scott heard these initial demos and jumped on board and it has kept moving forward ever since.
From where did the name I Fight Bears originate?
We struggled for ages to come up with a band name that we all were comfortable with. Eventually, a close friend of ours suggested we call ourselves I Fight Bears, after a group of us watched The Revenant. The name stuck.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
Every member of this band brings a different strength and different influence to what we write and produce as a whole. We embrace the digital age and use the internet a lot to exchange ideas, as well as continue an online group chat to smooth out ideas through discussion.
Initially, it starts with Chris and Marc coming up with a load of riffs, and then pulling them into a rough structure. Scott works out his ideas for the drums. Drew and Dan work out vocally what they feel should happen in the song, and then the demo reaches a stage where we’re happy to develop it into a song we can then play in a live situation and later record properly for a future record.
What inspires the band lyrically?
A lot of the lyrics on our debut record are written from personal struggles, overcoming adversity, and addressing things like politics and injustices within the world.
Dan’s aim is to channel his own personal journey of struggle to help any potential listener out there who might be struggling with their own issues.
You recently released a single, ‘Lost The Fight’. How has the reaction been to that, as well as your other singles, so far?
We’ve had nothing but positive responses to our music so far, which really helps us to feel that we’re doing something right musically. And as a result, our audiences at shows has slowly grown in size each time.
And the track will feature on the band’s self-titled debut album, coming out in February. How has the recording process been?
Production went well on the most part, but it did take a lot longer to reach the final product than any of us anticipated. That’s the thing when you’re producing your own material, as opposed to paying for a recording studio.
In a studio, you’re bound by money and time so you have to record and finish a record within an allotted time frame, but as we have the capacity to produce our own material to a high standard, that pressure to record and finish the record by a certain time wasn’t there.
In one way, that’s a good thing, because you have more thinking time to change certain aspects, but in another way, it can all get dragged out longer than necessary.
I think the key thing we have all taken away from this is that we have a record we’re immensely proud of, and have proven to ourselves that we can produce something of quality by ourselves.
Also, what can your fan base expect from the album?
A guy came up to us at a show just recently, and said, “You’re like every band I’ve ever loved rolled into one“, and that’s a really nice compliment, which we think gives a solid idea of what we’ve tried to achieve on the record.
We haven’t pushed to try and fit with modern trends on the metal scene, we’ve simply taken all of our influences in music, and pushed to make a record that we wanted to hear.
The band have played live with the likes of When We Were Wolves and Skies In Motion. How is the gigging experience for you all?
The shows have been great so far! Our aim is to hit the stage, wherever it may be, and just put on the best show we can possibly do. We always look back on the way we’re doing things and look to find ways to make it better overall. It’s a process and a necessary one, at that.
Apart from the album, what have you got lined up going into 2018?
Well, the record hitting digitally everywhere is the big driving force for 2018, but we’re backing that up by trying to get out and play as many decent shows as we can, as well as festival slots where we can get them.
On top of that, we’ve quietly been writing bits here and there for quite some time to start putting album two together. We never stop adding ideas to the writing pile, so we’re armed to the teeth with stuff that we can develop into songs later. We will at some point in 2018 begin working on pre-production for album two.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
The long-term aim is to keep doing what we love. No pressure for success, but just to keep working together as a band and keep writing and playing the things that we’ve loved about this thing called I Fight Bears from the beginning. If successes come from it, then great. If they don’t, then we’re having a blast doing it anyway.
THE SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM FROM I FIGHT BEARS WILL BE RELEASED ON FEBRUARY 16.
FURTHER INFO ON THIS, AND THE BAND, CAN BE FOUND HERE.