CATCH FIRE (from l-r): Tim Bell (bass), Joe Askew (guitar), Miles Kent (vocals), Ash Wain (drums), Neal Arkley (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Catch Fire are a five-piece pop-punk outfit from Nottingham.
Formed eighteen months ago by four of the now defunct Layby with vocalist Miles Kent, the band have gone from strength to strength, with their debut EP “The Distance I Am From You” receiving a universally positive reaction when released earlier this year, gaining much praise for their sophisticated style of pop-punk.
It’s no wonder then that they are now well on their way to joining the likes of Neck Deep and WSTR at the forefront of the new wave of British pop-punk.
I caught up with them as they were preparing to play a set at the Macmillan Fest in their home town.
How did the band initially get together?
ASH WAIN (DRUMS): Catch Fire got together in March 2015.
We formed from other projects from before, and we’ve been going for a year and a half now.
MILES KENT (VOCALS): Me and Ash met through college.
He already had a project going on called Layby and they were looking for a new singer at the time.
We then had a few jams and shit, and then things got going quite well.
ASH: Our old singer had to leave because he had commitments elsewhere, and as I already knew Miles, I suggested him to be the new singer and he was more or less straight in.
How did the name Catch Fire come about?
ASH: We were trying to think of some names for a long time, and we couldn’t think up anything at all.
JOE ASKEW (GUITAR): I think we considered ‘Spin Cycle’ at one point.
ASH: ‘Spin Cycle’, yeah, we were coming out with stupid shit like that.
One day, I was listening to the lyrics of some songs, trying to get some potential ideas, and then the Fall Out Boy song “Tell That Mick He Just Made My List Of Things To Do Today” came on, and there’s a line in it which is “Let’s play this game called “when you catch fire”, I wouldn’t piss to put you out, stop burning bridges and drive off of them, so I can forget about you.”
I took the “catch fire” from it and that’s how the name originated.
For somebody who is discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?
ASH: For the most part, it’s kind of upbeat and generally positive, then we throw a curveball in every now and again.
MILES: We like to spice it up, play with different types of images and things like that.
We take a lot of inspiration from indie and emo music, not just straight up pop-punk.
We like to keep things as different as we can, and just create something we can all like, and hopefully others like too.
We’re not trying to just do what everyone else has done.
TIM BELL (BASS): We’re into so many different kinds of styles, it just comes out.
Which bands/artists are you influenced by?
MILES: I think it’s pretty easy to say that between us, our main inspiration is The Story So Far.
We’ve all followed them since the start and they do play a big role in our writing process.
We just try and take as much inspiration from them as much as possible, because we’re massively inspired by them.
ASH: I must have listened to their entire discography about 300 times in a full cycle, it’s all I listen to! (laughs)
JOE: We have hardcore influences as well, we’re all big fans of Counterparts, and we all try and keep things as fresh as we possibly can.
MILES: Neal’s into more old school stuff like Angels & Airwaves and Blink-182, and me and Ash are quite keen on bands on the thrash wave of emo and pop-punk, such as Life Lessons.
What’s your approach to songwriting?
ASH: Usually, it’s Miles who will come up with a riff, because he’s a guitarist as well, and he’s got a setup at his house where he can record and jam stuff along.
Nine times out of ten, he will send us an idea he’s had for a riff and then it will build from there.
We’ll add some melodies to it and then take it into a full band practice and just build on it that way.
Then again, sometimes Miles will come around to my house with his acoustic guitar and then we’ll just write a song acoustically.
What inspires your lyrics?
ASH: Whatever’s going on. I wrote the lyrics for most of our first EP, and that was just from what people were going through day by day, like getting over depression and stuff.
I’ve never really faced depression to be fair, but I felt like I could explore how people with it felt, and I can see how people can get there by being in really bad relationships and stuff, and it was just trying to emphasise with that kind of thing on the first EP.
MILES: Me and Ash work together writing lyrics, we’ll either write a section and then the other person will build on it and work together, or we’ll both be sat at the side of each other, coming up with different kinds of suggestions.
We like to question a lot of things, if you listen to our first EP, there’s a lot of questions in the choruses and stuff.
We try and make people think rather than telling them something straight, we like to make them think about what their interpretation of it would be.
ASH: There’s a lot of metaphors as well.
You kind of have to look into it to see what it’s about, and sometimes it doesn’t have to be one specific thing, it could mean a whole host of different things.
You’re from Nottingham. How does it feel to be back in your home town?
ASH: Definitely the best shows we play are in Nottingham, we always have a great time whenever we play here.
We’re not at the stage yet where we can go far and play to lots people, but we’re trying.
We played a sold out show at the Red Rooms recently, and that was incredible.
MILES: We couldn’t really ask for a better home town to be fair, because every time we play here, it seems to go off and people seem to enjoy it, so…
ASH: There’s a strong music scene in Nottingham, and it’s nice to play to people you can relate to on a geographical level.
MILES: Hopefully one day, we’ll go to somewhere like Dublin, it’ll be sold out, and we’ll be playing to around 5,000 people. That would be ace.
What have you got lined up in the near future?
MILES: The next thing will be to release our second EP, which we’re currently in the process of recording.
How is that going?
MILES: It’s going great, we’ve been in the studio for about two weeks now and we’ll be in there for another week or so.
We’re just kind of getting the vocals done at the moment, and we’re trying to make it the best we possibly can.
We’ve been working in Derby with a super cool guy, who’s been making some cool suggestions and it’s going really well.
We’re proud of what we’ve made so far and it can only get better from here.
ASH: It’s definitely a step forward from the first EP, we’re developing a more mature sound.
I’ve felt we have grown a lot over this year, in terms of our songwriting and what we generally come up with, so we thought a more mature sound would be better.
What’s the band’s long-term aim?
ASH: To just try and get our music out to many people as possible, that’s the main reason, innit?
If we can make a lot of money from it, that would be amazing, but for the most part, I just want to play to sold out venues, hear a crowd sing back our lyrics to us, and just generally have fun.
Anything else to add at all?
MILES: Keep an eye out for our new EP, and we have a two week tour in October and November with These Minds.
ASH: Don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages, which are called Catch Fire UK.
There will be more updates and details on there.