This past Halloween, dance metal band FIRA debuted their “Endless Night” music video at the virtual New Orleans Endless Night Vampire Ball. Now, members Hannah and Michael “Vette” Rodd are preparing to drop their first album From Vegas With Blood on Black Friday, November 27th! What I know so far is that it promises an epic “vampirate” adventure.
The band has taken great care over the past year crafting the storyline for their first studio-length album, which draws from their personal experiences. The duo also teamed up with esteemed producer and musician Anthony Montemarano to help perfect the group’s unique style and sound. More than just your typical rock band, FIRA serves up a mix of heavy guitar riffs, electronic beats and dark fantasy tones. Goths, metal heads, vampires and even pirates will be lured by the music.
To get more insight into the upcoming album release, I interviewed the other half of FIRA, guitarist Michael “Vette” Rodd. He’s been involved in the music scene for several years and has collaborated with other bands, including Danger Love and Wikkid Starr. I’ve seen him perform on stage and his energy is the perfect counterpart to vocalist Hannah’s. He brings the edge, while she delivers the whimsical. Following, Rodd shares his perspective on the album and what inspires his playing.
Q: So Michael, the album From Vegas With Blood has been in the making for the better part of a year. How does it feel knowing the release is only weeks away?
A: I feel like we have really accomplished something with this album. Since I first started playing guitar, I’ve had an idea of how I wanted my music to sound, and it took me close to 10 years to achieve that. So for this album to not only be written, which was a major milestone for me, but also have it be so well made and presented is an amazing feeling.
Q: What was your process when coming up with the guitar accompaniments for the tracks?
A: Most of the songs started out with the guitars. My process varies depending on what inspires me, but typically we choose a generic drum track, or some sort of drum beat to help develop ideas for the rhythm sections. Once those main parts of the songs are created, I add the lead work and melodies to finish the song idea. At that point we remove the drum track and Hannah works with our producer, Tony Montemarano, to create a more danceable beat with an electronic drum sound. Most of these tracks actually started off as metal songs. It wasn’t until we changed the beat that we developed the right feel for this album. However, the tracks “Endless Night” and “Labyrinth” came about when I decided to try programming myself. Once finished, those were then sent off to Tony and he made them sound like finalized songs, as opposed to my demos.
Q: How do you feel the band’s sound has evolved for the music on this album compared to earlier songs?
A: Hannah and I have definitely come a long way, with most of the progress happening with this album. I feel that we have really nailed what we’ve been going for and we’re excited for the next album to continue our growth and expand on what we’ve accomplished with From Vegas With Blood. Our first several songs we wrote together were a lot more basic and while they served their purpose, we knew we were far from where we wanted to be. I feel really proud of the songs we’ve put on this album. There isn’t a song on there that I don’t love.
Q: Who are some musicians that have inspired your craft and in what ways have they influenced you?
A: When I first started playing guitar, my three biggest influences were Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. All three of them were unique in their own right, but they all had one thing in common that stood out to me and that was the passion for what they were playing. You could just feel how much they loved playing guitar. I felt that same thing from the moment I first picked up a guitar and I think that their stylistic influence is pretty evident on this album. It seems many people who have heard these songs pick things up that remind them of those artists without me even having to say their name.
Q: Do you have a favorite single on the album? One that you really enjoyed recording?
A: For the longest time, for me, that was “With Blood”. Mostly because that was the first song I had written that really nailed down what I was going for in a song. It was the first time I had created the exact feeling I wanted and that was a proud moment. But by the end of the process it had become “Labyrinth”. While the guitar work isn’t too complex in that song, I feel it’s very well written as a whole and not focused on just one aspect. I find myself playing that song on my guitar along with the recording several times a day. Honestly, I can’t stop listening to it.
Q: From Vegas With Blood has a “vampirate” fantasy storyline, which I think is really cool and unique. I know this may be too soon to be thinking about, but what adventure would you like to see your characters Fira and Vette experience on future albums?
A: The storyline has always been based on real life experiences so honestly I hope that we can get out and perform again soon enough so that in the next songs we write, we can base the stories off of our new experiences from travel. As soon as it’s deemed safe for us to do that, we will definitely be going out and resume playing our music for everyone, and I’d like to incorporate those new experiences into our next releases.
From Vegas With Blood will be available on November 27th, and every Friday up until the release date, a new single from the album will be unveiled. Find out more at the FIRA official website.
Keep up with guitarist Michael “Vette” Rodd on Instagram.
Plus, read my interview with frontwoman Hannah about the “Endless Night” music video premiere here.