Music Q&A:
The Fire Beneath The Sea

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Fire Beneath The Sea boast nine members, including three MCs and a horn section. Offering an eclectic infusion of hip-hop, funk, ska, jazz, drum and bass and afrobeat, they even come with their very own spiritual health warning – common side-effects can include (but are not limited to): singing, dancing, having fun, enjoying yourself and experiencing a general sense of wellbeing, they claim. They play Lytham Festival’s World Jazz Stage on 5 August. Josh Rigby-Farrell and Mike Hill ask for three punnets of peeled Ruby Roman grapes and 11 Faberge eggs.

Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
MH: We draw influences from many different genres, but I suppose our sound is based around hip-hop, funk, ska, and drum and bass. There are hints of other genres shining through but these are probably the main ones.
JRF: Our influences are massively diverse but there is definitely a core that shines through. We like to bounce around different types of genres in one song. It was never really discussed either. It was just more of a natural development.
MH: Our intention is to send out good, positive, forward-thinking messages in our music, to make people think, feel good and go wild and dance like there’s no tomorrow! Our influences are huge and broad ranging, as there are so many of us involved in writing the music, but a very strong vein of funk remains throughout our set, I would say, and of course hip-hop through the lyrical style we chose to use for the band– rap.
JRF: I think he nailed it there.
MH: Thanks, mate.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
MH: We started together musically as a load of mates just rapping and making beats together. A few of the members had been friends since they were young, and a few more in the past five or six years or so.
MH: The live band started around four years ago, and at its peak we had 19 members of the band – including seven MCs, two saxophones and two trombones. It was an all-inclusive collective of musicians/friends who came together to make fat, different music together, including all seven MCs from TFBTS’s initial DJ and MC format. Over time we have evolved and reduced eventually to a core of members who now make up TFBTS.
JRF: Originally we developed songs that we were already doing before the formation of the live band – songs like Poor Little Fishy and Hips Go Wild – but even in these you can already see we were messing about with different tempos in one song.

Were there any alternative band names before you arrived at this one?
JRF: The band name was actually the name of a song for a good while. James (rapper) and I were in another band when James came up with the idea and it was just swirling round for a while. The idea for the band came at the top of a hill by Hendre Hill in Wales.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
MH: Well, we’ve just been on a six month break whilst two of our members travelled around South East Asia performing all over the place as their two piece Lyons and La Zel (definitely check them out if you don’t already know). We started back gigging in May this year, so have been focusing on gigs and festivals for the time being. We will also be releasing our second EP very soon – we’re nearly finished in terms of mixing and mastering, so keep an eye out, though we’ll be shouting about it from the rooftops once it’s out.
JRF: It’s been a long while for our second EP (and we would like to extend an apology to our fans for how long it’s taken).
MH: Once summer is up, we are going to be recording our third EP ASAP, and writing LOTS of new material, which we’re all very excited about. So, watch this space for a lot of new music from us.

How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
MH: It’s not something we really give too much thought to – we just make and play music we’re into, and give it everything live on stage every time. Most of our songs are a different genre to each other, and most tracks themselves sprawl through different sounds, so perhaps that also maintains interest. Our energy at live shows is always commented on by people who see us play, so I think if anything that sets us apart quite a lot. We tend to go pretty nuts at our gigs, and there’s a lot of us doing so. We feed off the crowd’s energy massively, so playing live is important to us in that regard. We’re looking forward to Lytham Festival for sure!
JRF: Yeah I agree with him.

What’s on your rider?
MH: Very, very little. Well, nothing actually – we don’t have a rider to speak of. We’re just happy if we end up with a few beers and a hug or two.
JRF: Does this question infer that one is provided?
MH: So… yes! Seeing as you asked: two bottles of Grey Goose vodka, two crates of lager, three bottles of Dom Perignon champagne, three punnets of peeled Ruby Roman grapes and 11 Faberge eggs.

Tell us about your worst live show.
JRF: The ones where nobody is there aren’t the best but it’s happened so many times from past bands and groups that you get used to it. We just treat ’em like a posh praccy. We did have a gig where the lights came on after three songs due to a curfew and we had to stop. That wasn’t the greatest.
MH: I’m actually struggling to think of a really bad gig. Like Josh says, the ones where you’re playing to the bar staff alone are a bit rubbish, but there’s so many of us in the band that we just have fun with it regardless, and, touch wood, that’s not happened for a good while now. It’s only bad when there are equipment and sound problems really, and we’ve been lucky to not encounter that too often during our time together.
JRF: So yeah, this is me worming out of the question.

Antonia Charlesworth

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The Fire Beneath The Sea

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