Fire in the Northern Firs: See you in hell!

Categories: EP Release
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Fire in the Northern Firs, with special photoshopped guests

Fire in the Northern Firs are a thoroughly entertaining bunch (as you will see from the photos they submitted for this article). Birthed of a jam session, they have maintained this initial "off the cuff" attitude in creating an eclectic mix of shoegaze and ethereal yet forceful psychedelic-tinged rock. Their obvious and easy chemistry with one another lends itself well to the music. "It just sort of writes itself," says drummer Scott Weller.

This Sunday at the Turf Club, FITNF will herald their third release, the three-track See You in Hell EP. They will be joined by other bands on Ecstattic Studio's roster and have a single on the Ecstattic Studio compilation cassette, which will be released the same night. Gimme Noise met with the band for drinks at the Hexagon to discuss their new songs and get to know to know each other a bit better in a shouting match over the rowdy trivia game going on.

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Courtesy of the artist
Carin Barno, vocalist for FITNF

Since their 2012 full length, Of Bones and Things, FITNF has been been quite busy. Bassist Shane Kramer celebrated the birth of a second child and the group added a synth player, Marie Haberkorn.

"We just felt like we needed a little extra noise behind our sound," explains vocalist Carin Barno, who is Haberkorn's bandmate in long-running local band First Communion Afterparty. They spent some time playing shows, integrating Haberkorn into their already-written songs, and creating new material. "We have another full length written at this point," says guitarist/keyboardist Adam Kirsch. "We chose just four songs to record, one of which is going to the compilation that Ecsattic Studio is putting out, called "Song for T.K."

"Song for T.K." begins with an ominous drone, building into a dreamscape pierced by Barno's haunting voice. The song is disarmingly beautiful yet somehow disturbing, capturing the essence of FITNF's signature sound. It is a nod to Trish Keenan, vocalist of the indie electronic band Broadcast, who passed away in 2011 of complications from pneumonia.

"I remember waking up one morning to a text like, Trish Keenan's dead," says Weller. The band cites Broadcast as a huge influece on their dark psych pop sound. Barno and Haberkorn had the opportunity to get to know Keenan personally at Broadcast's performance at Carlton College. "She was standing all alone, by her merch table, and Marie and I went over and totally fan'd out on her," says Barno. "We ended up talking to her, and smoking like a pack of cigarettes with her in the snow outside. It was really cool to actually meet someone that I was influenced by. I totally nerded out. It was a pretty amazing experience."

The other three songs they chose to record make up the new See You in Hell EP. The name itself is intriguingly abrasive for such melodic material. "Shane has this really charming way of like...his parting words are always, 'See you in hell!' in this really nice manner," says Kirsch. "It just...I don't know, it turned into how we say goodbye to each other."

Even the album artwork is worth noting. The cover is a pixelated depiction of a leering devil, hovering over an 8-bit fire. For their previous releases, the band employed methods such as sewing cassettes into stamped burlap sacks. According to Kirsch, everything turned into an arts and crafts project -- until they came to the decision that none of that mattered anymore.

He has a fittingly cynical way of describing the image that he created for this album cover: "It's nice and it adds an aesthetic, but...I don't care. With the artwork, I feel like some of our things sound like 8-bit Nintendo music, and a lot of our melodies harken back to original NES, so that's where the 8-bit stuff came from. It's just this kind of dead technology that we're still using, 'cause all my gear is like, old garbage."


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