The Pandemic, Prosthetic, and The Kaminsky Effect: An Interview with Fires in the Distance

N: So, you guys have been a big part of the Connecticut scene for the better part of the 2000s, from smaller labels that may or may not have been helpful to anyone ever.

C: It’s our roots man, like we’ll name names: signing with 10 Foot Reach and getting booked for shows by them, we got to play with 60 Grit and we got to Kristian and his bandmates really well so it is what it is. It’s not Prosthetic Records but it’s where we came from.

KQ: Yeah it fit the age we were at, the experience level we were at, so we were what, 18, 19 years old. I think it was back in 2005 where we got going with Engraved, or Odium at that point right?

Y+C: Yep.

KG: You guys doing a mainstage show at the Webster for some band and you had Vlad on bass at the time, and that was the first time. I think you were right after Vlad, right Craig?

C: Yeah, I met these dudes when I was living out of my van for a couple weeks when I was 18 and I showed up to a gig and had my bass with me and Vlad wasn’t there. I met Yegor when I was playing with Human Bone Bicycle Sciences Industries and I said “Oh your bass player isn’t here, you should have told me I could have learned your shit” and he said “Why don’t you just play with us anyways?” I remember Kyle and Eric thought it was a terrible idea, but we drank a couple beers and had at it and I just never left.

KQ: Best decision ever, don’t ever listen to me again

C: You can scrub as hard as you want, I’m never going away.

N: Right, so you guys have been around for a long time with various levels of success but you’ve always gotten positive feedback throughout various projects — but now you guys are signed to legitimate, reputable metal record label and I just want to get your feelings on that, lets spill some guts. You guys have been around for over 15 years in the metal scene of a tiny state and now you’re up there with Hatebreed and Fates Warning.

Y: Well it’s a strange time to be up there since everything is shut down for god knows how long. All of this happened after quarantine started so all we can do is stick with the online presence so it’s still very limiting, but you know.

C: I think the origin of us playing together comes out of loyalty. When Yegor was in San Francisco and we couldn’t play it really sucked and I realized I kind of took Archaic for granted when he was here so right around 2012 or 2013 when he came back?

N: It was 2014, that’s when you hit me up to join Archaic.

C: When that happened dude anytime Yegor wants me to play bass on his music I’m fucking down, I don’t care what it is, if he’s writing it, I’m gonna play bass to it. I think us playing together has come to the point where we know each other as people and musicians and we’ve doing what we’re doing for awhile and the process has worked, and we manage churn out songs at a reasonable pace. I remember I was going to get dinner and Prosthetic added us on Instagram and I’m like, “they just fucking followed us, we should send a message” and they were like “eh I dunno, maybe they just doing that and…eh let’s do it” and sure enough within two minutes, Steve Joh, who’s one of the more renowned A&R guys in the industry, he’s found like Arch Enemy, Nevermore, God Forbid and stuff and he’s just like “I pre-ordered the album man, can’t wait to hear it” and I’m like “You’re Steve Joh, wanna hear it now? I’ll send you a Dropbox link if you’re interested.” So I sent the album over and he shot us an email the following Monday saying, “Guys I like your music, I’d really like to work with you.” A phone call and a few contracts later and the rest is history man.

KG: I mean when Craig told me I figured we’d try because you don’t know if you’re being scammed. I mean I remember 60 Grit had a few people contact us and say do this and send us money, but they weren’t a legitimate record label it was just a way to get someone who’s desperate to try to get somewhere. It didn’t hit me, and it still hasn’t hit me even though it’s been months since we signed the contract. When I was in my mid-20’s I gave up on doing music as a career, whether it was part-time or full-time-

C: Me too man

KG: Yeah, it’s really a part-time job like Yegor was saying it’s a weird time because of the Covid but I think eventually that will end and we’ll be able to do live shows but it’s working out in a strange way with the videos and being super aggressive on social media but I’m super thrilled and I just wanna hammer this thing as hard as we can and drop a huge load honestly. For quite a while, like I’m ambitious as fuck and I think the rest of these guys are too so I think that we can keep just getting better and better. Nothing will stop us unless it’s us and I don’t plan on that so yeah.

C: Yegor, Kyle, you guys wanna weigh in?

KQ: Yeah, I guess similar to what Kristian said, I was like, “Yeah I don’t know about this.” We got the paperwork and took a look at it and I’m still like, “ehhh, is this real?” But no we had a good convo with Steve for a good hour and it was like, “Holy shit, this is actually happening.” Not until live shows come back will it fully set in but we’re fucking stoked, to answer your question, we’re all stoked. This is just amazing.

N: Well you do a great job of hiding it. You guys are probably the newest, pushed band from CT in a long time. There have been a few I can think of but for the most part it seemed like a flash in the pan to me.

C: I’ll say this man, one of the things Steve stressed to us when we spoke is that this is when the work begins. A lot of bands think that when they get signed that everything happens for them but when that happens, they have to work harder. It’s not like this isn’t fun, we’re not paying bills from it and it just something fun for us to do but at the same time you have to carry it differently. It’s not something you can just pick up whenever you want because not only do you have an obligation to the label and the fans, but to yourself too. To make a vision of what you want it to be and push towards it and that’s all we’ve been doing playing music for the past 14 years respectively. It took a little while but it’s a noticeable milestone so we’re not just aging dads getting gray hair and playing metal, people like it and let’s keep doing it.

N: It’s a good thing you guys got that advice because like you said tons of bands will just stop and phone it in after they get signed. It’s great that you guys are mature enough to hold onto that advice and keep on grinding.

KG: I think something that’s really incredible about this band is that every single person is ambitious and driven towards the same goal. We’re understanding and respectful enough to listen to everyone to work towards what is best for Fires in the Distance as opposed to “This is gonna be good for me or not” and that’s why I think we’re gonna do well, whatever that may be. We really have that common goal, and even bands we’ve heard about and loved while growing up, there’s one or two guys that just don’t care and get involved in drugs really bad or something happens and they just lose themselves and destroy the band. I think we’re all past the partying phase of our lives and we just love it, so we take it seriously and know that it’s something we all have to work and agree on. Like Craig was saying, it starts here and we’re all putting the equal effort to make a whole thing.

N: Awesome, I have faith in you dads.

C: Thanks, Son.

N: You’re not alcoholics yet, the mid-life crisis hasn’t hit you.

KQ: Oh, we’re well way past that buddy.

N: Already?

KQ: All depends on what number you wanna divide by two buddy.

N: Oh boy, that’s one way of looking at it. So Covid has been hitting everyone pretty hard lately but  you guys have done pretty damn well keeping active online between teases of material and some dank fire memes, but I wanted to know about your experience in dealing with quarantine and churning out content in a different manner than you’re used to like the lack of shows — though I know you have the show with S.C.E.N.E Productions coming up — but yeah how’s that been going?

KQ: It’s really been Craig and Yegor, they’ve been crushing it by posting stuff and constantly promoting things. Kristian and I are here to put together whatever content they need when they need it, but Craig and Yegor are really killing it.

Y: It’s weird because at some point you’re going to run out of content too because we don’t know how long it’s gonna last for, so we try to drip feed it as much as possible. I mean it’s an unprecedented environment and situation but we’re just gonna have to take it a month at a time because I have no idea what’s gonna happen next year, I don’t think anybody does.

From the band’s FB page: “Black metal photo shoots be like:”

C: I think this is the most unique opportunity to put out an album like this. It’s dark, it’s depressing, and this has never been a time where people could relate to it more. You can’t see each other and I think most people, especially around here through 3 degrees of separation, know somebody who’s been sick or passed away from it so I think this has opened up the door for connection and I think what people miss the most is the human touch. That’s all I’ve ever wanted from music personally is just for people to like what we’re doing, to help another human being and you know, you can’t see them in person or talk to them at a show but it seems like its helping people and that’s a moniker of success. we’re making the best of a shit situation and at some point this is going to go away and we’re going to make up for it by blasting the shit out of it as best we can so until then you know, we just wanna close out as many ears as possible.