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Interview With Fame On Fire Vocalist Bryan Kuznitz

In a couple of more weeks, the Florida-based and genre-defying rock/metal/hip-hop outfit Fame On Fire will be releasing their sophomore album, Welcome To The Chaos. Three weeks to the day of the album's release date, our own Mikey Jablonski sat down with the band's frontman Bryan Kuznitz over a Zoom call to discuss the forthcoming album, the album's features, upcoming touring this summer and fall, musical advice, and more.

Full band press image of the Florida-based post-hardcore/hip-hop four-piece band Fame On Fire.
Photo courtesy of Arthur Lucena

Hey Bryan! I've been a huge fan of you guys since the drop of the LEVELS record. It's obvious you guys mix rock, rap, and metal together. If you could perform or write an album/song with anyone of your influences, who would it be and why? Bryan: Shit, I don't know. You know, I'm going to shoot Avenged Sevenfold. I feel like that would be really fun and challenging, to be honest. Obviously, I can't play guitar like they play guitar, but I feel like it would be fun to be in the studio with them and click on a song and be weird and really creative. I think it would be a really good time. I've done a podcast with Johnny before, and he's a super cool guy. So working in a studio with them would be a really good time. For Welcome To The Chaos, you collaborated once again with Arcaeus, but for a handful of songs, you recruited the massive talents of music producer Brian Howes (Nickelback, Skillet, Daughtry, Simple Plan). How was it working with such a giant in the music industry? What did he bring to the record that other producers haven't in the past? B: We actually go pretty far back with Brian Howes. Basically 2017, we flew out to LA. He was a connect with our manager. You know he has done big albums before. We got in the studio with him and his engineer. We started working on a couple of songs, and we just watched this dude create a song. He's like, "Tell me a story, Brian." So I started telling him a story about what was going on in my life. You know, me and this chick, whatever. He was like, "Okay, cool." He took that and immediately started writing a song on the spot. It was super quick. We were just blown away by how fast these songwriting professionals and producers work on music and how quickly they get something together. That song got put together in fifteen minutes. So ever since then, we kind of learned, we were watching him, we working with him for about a week. We were inspired by him and were going to take that and put it into ourselves. We started applying that to ourselves and started to be better songwriters because of working with him and what it takes and what we needed to do. On this album, there were some questions about some songs. "How can we make these songs better." So what we would do, we sent it over to Brian. We tried writing a couple of songs with him. We just didn't end up using them for the record. But we had these songs we working on, and we sent it over to him and asked what can we do to make these better. He sent back a completely new session. A bunch of different notes, everything that he thinks needed it. It's great working with Brian. If we feel really strongly on something, he'll let it go, but for the most part, we agree on his takes on everything. Like "Plastic Heart" was four minutes and thirty seconds long. It was just too long of a song [Laughs].

Really? B: Yeah. He's like, "You gotta shorten it down. I know you don't want to, I get it, but you need to get to the chorus way quicker," he said. We were like, "Okay, let's do it." Before, it started with like an intro riff, and that all went away. There was a breakdown in it. That went away. Dude, you gotta make a deep cut or like release that version at some point in the future? B: Maybe one day. We talked about it, we played it originally live, and it spreads out more time and have fun with it. But you know, he made the right call. 'Cause at the end of the day, it's a much more accessible song and easier to digest than what it was previously. What song is your favourite from Welcome To The Chaos?

B: My favourite is different from everyone else's favourite from the album. For me, we like to do a top three. "Welcome To The Chaos" is my number one, but that being aside as a single. I'd say, "Robbery." Yeah, "Robbery" is one of the coolest fucking songs we've ever written! It's got this Quentin Tarantino lead to it in the beginning. It feels like Quentin Tarantino but western. It's very cool, the chorus is very catchy, and it's just darker and in a harmonic minor key too. But it's really catchy. Then there's a standup bass in the bridge. It’s so weird, and it's so funky, and it's heavy. It checks off every box for me. What do you think the fan's favourite track will be? B: We had the plastic hearters. I think people will really enjoy "Rotting Away." For "Rotting Away," we plan on shooting a music video for it. We plan on doing something weird for it. 'Cause, it's just one of those songs. But I think a lot of people will latch on to "Rotting Away" and "Welcome To The Chaos." I don't know. Aside from the singles, I feel like there's a song for every walk of life on the album.

I saw that Spencer Charnas from Ice Nine Kills is on the record for the title track. How did you guys go about wanting to get him on the record, and what was it like hearing his vocals for the first time on the song? B: Yeah, we were on tour with Ice Nine Kills. We did two tours with them, technically three. We toured with them in 2021. We already had "Welcome To The Chaos" written before we went on tour with them. We were like, "You know who would be sick for this song?... Spencer! We're like, "We don't know how to get to Spencer pretty well." So we just held off on this, and we just got on tour with them and then asked him to feature on the song. Super nice dude, super awesome. He said, "Let me get back to you. Let me check it out." While I'm asking him this, they are just about to release their album. He eventually got back to us and said, "The song is super dope! I'd love to be a feature on it." We sent him over everything he needed to get his parts down, he tracked it out and got it back, and it sounded sick. Like, thank you for doing that! It's super cool, and its a song that's right up his alley. Like, the weird craziness of "Welcome To The Chaos." Was there anyone else on the upcoming record that you wished had a feature on the song but couldn't because of scheduling issues or anything? B: We asked Zero [Zero 9:36] to be on "Ketamine," but he didn't want to do it. We didn't realize why he didn't want to do it at the time. Like, Zero is a super cool dude. Like, we were on tour with him and everything, but it's not his type of song. The lyrical content is not part of his cup of tea. I understand that. As an artist, I wouldn't want to do a song that does retain me. I wouldn't want to sing a song about Jesus Christ [Laughs]. That doesn't fit his sound and his style. Were like, "Okay, that's fine." There was a couple of other things for a lot of the songs that I wanted it to be just us. Zero was definitely number one for "Ketamine." Other than that, I just wanted it to be just us, and we had Kody Lavigne on "Emo Shit," which Kody is dope. He's not really well known. He's a singer, hip-hop artist, and R&B style. He slaps. He brought a whole new life to "Emo Shit," and I was like, "This is really good." The two features on the album, I am beyond stoked on. You're satisfied with that. That's awesome! Of course, it's summertime. That means it's festival and tour season. Any shows in particular that are coming to your city, Bryan, that you're gonna be checking out? B: You know I was. Which I was looking forward to was Avoid and Northlane. But yeah, that got cancelled. Which sucks, it's Northlane. I didn't know they were Australian, to be honest. They couldn't get their visas. Shit sucks. Shit happens, but I really want to see Avoid. Avoid is dope as hell. They are one of the coolest new bands. But as for other artists goes, I'm not really sure what's coming to town. You don't keep up with anything in your town or anything for music? B: Not really. I mean, I do, and I don't. If something is coming around, I'll hear about it.

Speaking of touring, you're touring with One Ok Rock and You Me At Six in the fall. What was your reaction to getting the call to be able to go on this tour in the fall? B: I was so fucking stoked. I love One Ok Rock. When did I first hear them? Back in like 2016, something like that. I was like, "Yo, this band is unbelievably good." I had no idea they were Japanese, to be honest. I started to get into them. I never really looked into their live shows or anything. I don't know, it didn't really occur to me. Then we got the call about going on tour with One Ok Rock. Let's fucking go! This is sick as hell, I'm going to go look up some of their live shows and see the performances. They do like stadiums, 40,000-person stadiums over in Japan. Their live performances are insane. These bands we've toured with, we go every single night and watch the show. 'Cause I need to, 'cause it's that good, and One ok rock is one of those bands. Every single night I'm going to go and watch that show. 'Cause they are really, really dope. I'm also hoping to be best friends with Taka so that Taka is like, "Hey, you guys wanna go out to Japan and play some shows with us?" I'll be like, "Lets fucking go, dude!" The experience in Japan is insane, if you guys go one day. B: If we go, yeah. We gotta be best friends with Taka. Which I plan on doing [Laughs]. Are there any places as a band in particular that you want to perform for during the new album cycle that you haven't yet performed? B: We definitely want to perform in the UK. Just anywhere in the UK, just put us there. As well, I really want to perform in Brazil. A lot of other bands have told me that as well. B: For the longest time, Brazil is number one with the Youtube comments and most likes on it and on our pages for the longest time. You know what, Brazil, you rock out! If we were to go to Brazil and do a show, it would be the wildest shit in the world. Brazilian fans are insane, crazy, and nuts. Be prepared when you guys go down there if you do. B: I can't wait! That's all I want in life. I want the craziest fans. Start a riot. I don't give a shit [Laughs].

Nice. If you can have your listeners and fans remember one thing about yourself, Bryan, what would you want them to remember you by? B: Well, Shit. It's gonna sound arrogant, but be one of the best new rock vocalists. The best up-and-coming rock vocalists, I just want to be known by. If anything were to happen to me, I would want people to remember me by that. But in the future, I want them to remember me as the greatest rock artist of all time. That's the main goal. Will that happen? Who the fuck knows. Maybe we'll transition to mainstream one day, who knows. I'm not saying we're gonna sell out, I'm saying mainstream will come back down [Laughs]. Finally, what's the best piece of advice that you've ever gotten, Bryan, while doing music? B: Hmm, You know. I don't really know. You know I watch a lot of Finn McKenty. I feel like he says a lot of things like you should be listening and paying attention to 'cause I think he is right on the money with it and a lot of things. I don't know if it's advice that anybody gave me, but I got in passing. But just keep creating content. It's not a matter of don't stop 'cause duh, I'm not going to stop. But you just have to keep making yourself relevant. You have to work your ass off. You're going to have to do this shit that no one else wants to do. I don't really know where I got that from. Probably from Finn. Probably from somebody, probably from another artist. But do this shit no one wants to do, and you'll make it.

Thanks so much, Bryan for doing this!

B: Thank you for having me.


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