Talking About Chaos – A Sitdown with FAME ON FIRE’s Brian Kuznitz

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Bryan Kuznitz

In the age of social media, younger acts have found the ability to garner attention through many different avenues that were not previously available.  A popular choice for many of these artists is to post covers to attract fans from the original artists.  Starting in 2013, Florida rockers Fame On Fire capitalized on this trend. Hello, XO TOUR Llif3, and Without Me are just a few of the covers that put them on the map.  Instead of playing songs within their genre, the band consisting of Vocalist Bryan Kuznitz, guitarist Blake Saul, bassist Paul Spirou, and drummer Alex Roman took massive hip hop and pop hits and turned them into rock masterpieces.  This decision was an enormous success, as they have now amassed over 200 million views on Youtube, millions more in monthly listeners on various streaming platforms, and been a part of major tours, playing with the likes of Motionless In White, Ice Nine Kills, Starset, Zero 9:36, and numerous other talented acts.  

Two years ago, Fame on Fire released their debut album, Levels. It was a commercial success and helped establish their own identity separate from the covers.  Two years later, on Friday, July 22nd, Welcome to the Chaos was released.  Produced by Arcaeus, with help from Brian Howes, Welcome to the Chaos was developed with a more meticulous approach and selective writing process.  Containing features from Ice Nine Kill’s Spencer Charnas and rapper Kody Lavigne, the record transcends Rock and includes Hip Hop, Metal, and Alternative influences giving a little something for everyone to enjoy.  In honor of the new album, Kuznitz sat down with Screamer Magazine to discuss the evolution of the Fame on Fire writing process, touring plans, and Welcome To The Chaos.  

From 200 demos being whittled down to 13 songs, Kuznitz spoke of the band being “perfectionists when it comes to picking the songs that would be on the album.”  He also spoke of the numerous changes that those 13 songs went through before the final product came to be.  Popular songs like Plastic Heart were vastly different; Kuznitz described, “This song was almost four minutes [long], and it had like a breakdown and different intro.”  The idea of how these songs could be better was at the forefront of everyone’s minds, according to Kuznitz, adding, “Every second just listening to this album, I swear this album was just a matter of like sitting down and listening like for months and just going, can this song be better?”  Besides Plastic Heart undergoing significant changes, Kuznitz conveyed that Back Then and Ketamine changed a lot.  The talk of how each song went through these changes progressed into how much thought went into ensuring that each song had its own personality, with the goal of “just wanting every song to sound different.”  He elaborated further, saying, “we wanted everything to just be its own body of work, if you will.  Also, we didn’t want to make any filler tracks on the album; I think filler tracks are a waste of time.”  He also noted that the unused demos would be thrown to the wayside, with none coming back in the future.  The exact process happened within the Levels cycle, with the band using none of the leftovers, although Kuznitz said not as many demos were written during that time.  This mentality of entirely new music paid off, with each of the 13 songs they chose melding together to tell a story of pain and chaos that Kuznitz laughingly says comes from “just fucking up a lot, just comes from living life. . . because you know as just being an artist, we are so self-destructive, it’s just a fucking trait that we have. We get emotional and just feel the need to destroy everything around us.”

The conversation transitioned from talking about the specifics of each track to Kuznitz explaining Fame On Fire’s overall evolution from Levels to Welcome To The Chaos.  One of the biggest jumps he took personally was making sure he could connect to every song by having [his] hand in everyone lyrically.  As previously mentioned, Kuznitz spoke about the lyrical concepts coming from his everyday adventures.  He elaborated on the self-destruction of artists and how that translates to his writing and drives the creative process within himself.  While coming to grips with his personal struggle with these traits, he accepts that they are a part of his life and jokes that “album three is coming soon.”  Beyond his own growth, Kuznitz expressed the impact that going back to their roots and listening to heavy metal had on the album, with the band taking a more Papa Roach and Avenged Sevenfold inspired rock approach than what he said was a “Juice World, Killer Roy, and hip-hop type one on Levels.”  Additionally, the influence of producer Brian Howe, who has worked with the likes of Skillet, Nickelback, Daughtery, and many more, was discussed.  Kuznitz shared that Howes brought a lot to the record in terms of musicality and worked with the band’s longtime friend Arcaeus to help produce an album that Kuznitz says the band is “extremely proud” to have made.

l to r back row: Alex Roman, Paul Spirou & Blake Saul

Following talk of the album, Kuznitz spoke of the band’s upcoming touring plans.  Fame On Fire is set to support Japanese metal band One OK Rock on their forthcoming US tour starting September 19th.  The excitement about the trek from Austin to Los Angeles was oozing from his voice while he explained the feelings he’s dealt with while touring with these major acts.  He even went as far as to call himself out about his battle to keep a professional attitude while “enjoying the moment.”  However, at the end of the day, he decided just to say, “fuck that shit, I’m going full fangirl,” and live the way he wanted.  But who can fault him? As mentioned at the start, Kuznitz has shared the stage with many talented acts and some of the great singers in modern metal, including Chris Motionless, whose music Zuzntiz said he grew up enjoying.  While relishing in his past tour stories, he was asked about the bands he would love to tour with in the future.  Like many young artists, his response to a question like this was to say, “anyone.”  When elaborating further on the “anyone,” he said, “there are so many bands. Like so many smaller bands I want to tour with, the list just keeps getting longer and longer. I want to tour with a band named Avoid, they’re a bit of a smaller band, but they’re so fucking good, they seem like they have so much energy.”  Going further, he namedropped Pop Evil and Avenged Sevenfold as other bands he would like to play alongside.  Kuznitz also shared a story in relation to wanting to tour with A7X. Reminiscing about his appearance on Drinks With Johnny, he revealed what happened following the conclusion of filming, saying, “I texted Johnny [Christ] begging. I was like, if you guys tour, wherever you tour, please let us open for you.”  Kuznitz did say that Christ responded by texting back, “I’ll see what I can do.” So there is a chance Fame On Fire could open for Avenged Sevenfold one day if Kuznitz has his way.  The final tour that he said he would want to be a part of is with a band that has many divided many in the rock and metal community, Nickelback.  While responding to some of the hate that Nickelback has attracted, Kuznitz had a straightforward answer, “Chad fucks, I don’t care what people say.”

The talk of touring with many of these prominent bands that Kuznitz grew up listening to led to a reflection on his life in music and gave him the chance to share some advice with younger artists who hope to make it in the business one day.  First, he recommends that bands embrace the cover culture as Fame On Fire had.  Even though he said it was like “lightning striking” for the band, he believes that these younger artists should use the tools at their disposal, such as social media platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok to promote themselves.  He believes in the short form content wave, saying, “the more content you produce, the more content you make, you’ll gain traction.”  His final piece of advice was to promote collaboration between band members when it comes to this content creation, ensuring that it doesn’t fall on one person’s shoulders because it is near impossible to do it solo and be successful.

Although Kuznitz was worried that Fame On Fire would only be known for their covers, he is confident that “now having released as many originals as covers,” they have made a name for themselves as their own artist.  The world would be quick to agree with him.  Fans have flocked to the numerous shows that Fame On Fire have been a part of this year, with many selling out in part to the band.  Additionally, Welcome To The Chaos has been released to much fanfare and positive reviews. 

As previously mentioned, Kuznitz and crew embark across the US starting September 19th.  The band put on a fantastic show, which is undoubtedly worth the price of admission, so be sure to catch them on one of the tour dates.  Also, be sure to listen to Welcome To The Chaos, available on all major streaming platforms and available to be purchased on the band’s website. 

Kuznitz ended the interview by asking that everyone follow the band’s socials and keep up with the copious amount of content they put out daily.  So be sure to check out all of the pages that are linked below!

https://www.fameonfireband.com

https://www.instagram.com/fameonfire/

https://www.facebook.com/fameonfire

https://twitter.com/fameonfire

A further review of Welcome to the Chaos can also be found here.

 

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