Here is an e-mail interview between Dawn Michele, vocalist of Grammy-nominated rock band Fireflight, and Ian Zandi. However, most of these questions are actually adapted from our very own Brandon Jones. Be sure to check out their new independent album INNOVA when it drops on 5/5/15. The current single “Resuscitate” is Fireflight’s eighth #1 hit.
IZ: We will start off with the question that opens up nearly every interview…..Can you please explain your new album title and the thought process behind it?
DM: INNOVA, is a Latin word that means Renew. Our band has been in a state of rebirth for over a year now, ever since we decided to step out and make our next project independently. It’s been an incredible time of highs and lows as we navigate the unknown. We wanted to be made new, but also stay true to all that we have built over the lifespan of our career as well. The cool thing about the title INNOVA, is that it’s this word that looks like it’s stepped out of the future, when in actuality it’s written in an ancient and dead language. We felt there could be no better fit to capture the heart of what we were going through.
IZ: Your newest single “We Are Alive” seems to be more dance-oriented than majority of Fireflight’s discography. Is there a conscious motive behind that sound, or was it unintentional?
DM: We gave ourselves so much time and creative space to create the songs for this new album, that we found ourselves venturing to different corners of music than we had ever stepped foot in before. Basically we followed our hearts and let ourselves run freely in any direction that felt powerful and authentic to express the feelings we had in that moment. As a result we found ourselves with a few songs that have dance elements, not because we set out in that direction, but because the passion of the song simply drove it towards movement.
IZ: What do you feel has been the guiding force in the longevity of your band the past decade?
DM: First of all the Grace of God, second of all sheer determination and stubbornness, lol. We have a commitment to the band’s ministry that has pushed us forward even against all common sense. Thankfully, God is faithful and He has continued to provide for us no matter what and continued to work through the music in the lives of others, and that’s the most important thing of all.
IZ: If you could tell your younger selves anything back when you started, what would that be?
DM: Be prepared to face times when you find yourselves in and out of season. Cultivate all of your skills and be ready to face the down times with style, never be discouraged.
IZ: What do you think about SonyBMG? How come you never seemed to get the attention and promotion from your label compared to the likes of other similar groups on competing record labels?
DM: We loved our label family. They helped to get us where we are today and without them we’d most likely would have had to give up a long time ago. At the same time the label had to deal with so many rapid changes in the market while we were there. When it comes to the Christian marketplace, rock bands are not an easy sell. At the end of the day when you’re running a business you have to keep the lights on and paychecks rolling. We were a tiny wheel in a big machine and so we made it our business to make sure we were taking care of ourselves and doing everything we could to propel our own ministry. We are grateful for the platform the label gave us, and now that we have stepped out on our own, we are stoked to have a chance to make our own schedule and chart our own course creatively.
IZ: Will there ever be an “acoustic/stripped down” full length of songs?
DM: We’d love the chance to create something like that. It just takes time and money. But now that we are the ones who decide what ancillary projects get attention, we hope to be able to find those opportunities.
IZ: What is your favorite album in your collective group of releases over the past decade?
DM: This upcoming album is my new favorite. I’ve never had more fun writing and recording, and I’ve never been more excited about creating music in general than I am at this time.
IZ: Do you feel there were any “misses” in the collection of songs you all have produced over the years? Anything you regret?
DM: We had a song or two that felt pushed. Sometimes when you submit to your producer’s or label’s vision, you end up becoming part of something that doesn’t feel like you as a whole. But at the end of the day if God can work through it for even just one person, then that’s what’s more important.
IZ: Will you ever consider making a “solo” album with a slightly different style from Fireflight?
DM: As I was saying before I’m so excited about creating right now. I’d be open to doing more stuff even on my own, it all just depends on God opening the doors.
IZ: Can we expect Fireflight to play any festivals or tours this summer/fall? Will Fireflight continue as a band and collective group for another decade? Your thoughts?
DM: Yes, we will be out and about as much as possible starting with the release of the album. We’ve always depended on God to plot our course, so it’s totally up to Him as far as the years ahead are concerned. We just want to continue to have a relevant impact on the lives of our listeners for as long as God has us here.
IZ: What have been your favorite bands to tour with over the years? Any groups past or present that you still look up to?
DM: We’ve been so blessed to be able to tour with so many incredible acts throughout our career. Some of our favorites have been Newsboys, Disciple, Wavorly, Belarive, Group1Crew, and a million more I’m forgetting. We look up to everyone who puts themselves out there to chase the vision God has given them.
IZ: What are you favorite current albums released that you all count yourselves as fans of? Any older albums that you still find yourselves spinning? Favorite past bands?
DM: For me recently, I’ve been digging Daft Punk-Random Access Memories, Taylor Swift-1989, Gaslight Anthem-The ’59 Sound, and Imagine Dragons- Night Visions. Older albums – The Killers, Battleborn. Honestly these kinds of questions are the worst for me because I like soooo much stuff that creating a list is like picking out the cutest kitten at a shelter, you really love them all and want to take them all home.
IZ: If you could speak to the entire Christian Music Industry, what would you say? Any words of advice for young bands just starting out?
DM: I’d say reach towards authenticity and clear communication and you can’t go wrong. For young bands, I’d recommend harnessing the power of social media to the utmost when it comes to self-marketing, and also develop a side career that can support your dreams while they’re growing so that you never have to give up to put food on the table.