“We are made of music and fire!”
This is part of the manifesto of fantasy metal band FIRA who hails from Hollywood, California. The group’s latest show at goth club Bar Sinister gave the crowd a dose of heavy beats mixed with vampiric whimsy. It was my first time seeing the band live and it was thrilling!
All eyes were on lead singer Hannah when she got on stage donning a tightly laced black and red corset and billowing hooped skirt, with flames drawn across her chest. Accompanied by drummer and guitarist, she bouncily danced to the music revving up the room’s energy.
When she took to the mic, the depth of her sound resonated throughout the space, and her booming vocals were an ideal match for the compelling lyrics. Songs touched upon topics such as fear, desire, pleasure, domination and blood. Speaking of blood, did I mention Hannah sang with fangs in?
There’s no doubt that the FIRA squad knows how to pump up an audience. At one point, the vocalist had a wardrobe change on stage and treated us to a pseudo-burlesque strip tease. She playfully removed the bottom half of her attire to reveal a siren red, high-low ruffled skirt. This made quite an impressive sight, especially when she wielded a sword for some of the music numbers.
To get the story behind FIRA, I had the pleasure of interviewing frontwoman Hannah who gave further insight into the band.
Q: Tell me a bit about the band’s formation. How did FIRA come into being and how did you settle on the name?
A: Michael and I are the founding members. We knew each other for a while before we formed the band. We had dated actually but hadn’t seen each other in about 6 months, so when I was first starting to put the band together, I saw a guitar video he posted on Facebook. I reached out to him to see if he would want to play lead guitar and he said yes.
I have gone by Hannah Fira since I was 16 years old. I went on a vision quest and as a part of that I was encouraged to give myself a “spiritual name.” I am a Sagittarius and have always felt very connected to the element of fire so I replaced the “e” on the end with an “a” and that was it. When Mike and I were forming the band, FIRA came up as a possible name and we decided to go with that. I sometimes joke saying that it could also stand for “Fire Is Really Awesome.”
Q: I love vampires and notice you embrace a vampiric aesthetic. Where does this element come from and why did you decide to make it a part of your image?
A: Well, I also love vampires and I used to work for Father Sebastiaan. I thought it would be awesome if I could learn to sing with my fangs in. It took quite a while but now it feels pretty easy. I have always been attracted to fantasy and all things epic and fun, so this felt like a fun way to bring that into our work.
Q: So, I must ask, do you have a favorite vampire?
A: Mmmmmm…Lestat cause he’s sexy AF!!! Ha-ha, and Selene from “Underworld” because…goals!
Q: Recently, the band released a music video for the new single “beLIEve.” What was that process like for you from writing the lyrics to bringing the song to life on screen?
A: That song definitely started with the hook “you can’t spell believe without a lie.” In all honesty, I don’t remember where I got that from, but it stuck with me for years and so when Mike and I started writing, I figured that would be a cool hook.
At the time, I was struggling with a lot of self-doubt and was having a very difficult time believing in myself, especially as an artist. But I just kept telling myself “fake it till you make it,” so that is pretty much what the song is about. It’s about finding a way to keep going and to keep doing what feels right even when—or perhaps especially when—those “demons” in your mind, or perhaps even the whole world, are telling you you’re not good enough. The demon in the video is a metaphor for that self-doubt that I struggled with.
Q: You’ve performed at venues such as Beauty Bar and Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas, The Rainbow in Los Angeles and Endless Night New Orleans, to name just a few. Which has been your favorite gig so far?
A: Actually I would say our most recent gig at Bar Sinister and the process leading up to that show have been my favorite so far. It felt awesome to have the tracks and the programmed lights! It definitely was our most fun show yet. I feel like we really stepped up our game and leveled up.
Q: You announced during your last show at Bar Sinister that the band will be opening for Orgy for 2020’s Endless Night Los Angeles Vampire Ball. How exciting! What else does FIRA have in store for the future that fans can look forward to?
A: Yes, we feel extremely excited about that show. When I started the band, opening for Orgy and playing the ENVB were two of my goals, so I am really stoked to check those off! We also have an album in production at the moment. It’s too early to have any sort of release date, but it’s sounding amazing so far and I am really excited for that as well.
Without question, FIRA has plenty of fuel to light up the metal musical landscape and they’re a group to keep an eye on. To get the latest news on the band and information on upcoming appearances, visit their official website.
For news about upcoming shows at the venue, head to the Bar Sinister official website.