An Interview With Rock Band, Greek Fire, Who Are Certainly On Fire Now with A Song In The Latest Disney/Marvel Film, “Big Hero 6”!
Posted On 23 Oct 2014
Tag: 105.7 The Point, Australian Open, Big Hero 6, Bolt, Chris Williams, Cyndi Lauper, Damon Wayans Jr., Disney, Don Hall, Found, Genesis Rodriguez, GMC's Yukon Sizzle Video, Greek Fire, Hitcher, Iron Man, Jamie Chung, John Feldmann, Johnny Venus, Kara Foley, LA Dodgers, Lost, Lost And Found, Mark Joseph Roth, Marvel, Marvel Entertainment, Maya Rudolph, Mike Plotnikoff, Moon, NCAA CBS Prime Time March Madness Bumper, Philip Sneed, Point-Fest, Q101 Jamboree, Rock On The Range, Rockstar Uproar, Running Away, Ryan Phillips, St. Louis, Story of the Year, Summerfest, Taste of Chaos, The Avengers, Top of the World, Upgrade With Gatorade, Van's Warped Tour, Walt Disney Company, Winnie The Pooh
Hailing from St. Louis, the band, Greek Fire are on “Top Of The World” as their same titled single hits theaters as the featured song in the trailer for the Marvel inspired animated film “Big Hero 6.” Set for release on November 7th, the film is directed by Don Hall (Winnie The Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt.) It is the first Disney movie to feature Marvel characters since the Walt Disney Company bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009. “Big Hero 6” features the voices of stars such as Genesis Rodriguez, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr and Maya Rudolph.
Along with garnering a spot in the “Big Hero 6” trailer, “Top Of The World” has enjoyed placement in commercials such as “Upgrade With Gatorade,” GMC’s “Yukon Sizzle Video” as well as the Australian Open and the NCAA CBS Prime Time March Madness Bumper campaign.
“Top Of The World” is on Part One (entitled Lost) of Greek Fire’s sophomore album Lost and Found, a split LP with tracks co-produced by John Feldmann and mixed by Mike Plotnikoff.
The quartet, Greek Fire consists of Philip Sneed better known as “Moon” (vocals,) Johnny Venus (drums,) Mark Joseph Roth (bass) and Ryan Phillips (guitar.) Learn more about the band and their music in the following interview:
Johnny Venus: Drums
Mark Joseph Roth: Bass
Moon: Vocals & Keys
Ryan: Guitars & Computers
How did the band come together? Can you remember that moment when you thought to start this group?
Greek Fire was essentially much put into motion on a flight home from Europe after the Taste of Chaos international tour. Moon and I were on tour with Story of the Year, and just feeling kind of burnt out on the whole “screamo” thing after so many years of being immersed in it. We had talked about it for months; this overwhelming desire to do something completely outside the realm of that scene and to really push ourselves into new creative territory. No rules, no constraints- just big, soaring music that is the vehicle for great lyrics and stories. On that flight home we passed notes back and forth on the airplane like school girls, talking about the sound and vision for Greek Fire.
And just like that, it was time. We got home after that tour and connected with Moon’s former band mates, Mark Joseph Roth and Johnny Venus, and got in a room, and within 10 minutes we were a band.
How did you come up with your band name?
Moon actually released a song or two under that name, and we all thought it was really cool. Had a vibe.
As simple and obvious as it sounds, I think now more than ever the emphasis is on crafting great songs with timeless lyrics and stories. If you can meld those two components together and create a truly great song, it can change people’s mood, day, or even their life. We are a band of players, but the trick is to make everything musical and hooky, instead of just throwing in a fast guitar solo or overly tricky beat just to prove we can play. Every note must have a purpose, or it bores us. We will still absolutely have a 7 minute song or jam session, but it has to serve a musical purpose and tap into people’s souls & take them for some kind of emotional ride, or again, it bores us. We are secure enough as artists that we can play the simplest of riffs, beats, or songs, and be completely satisfied if the song is great.
What do you think sets this band apart from other bands out there today making music?
I think our willingness to explore and be adventurous with our music and live performances really helps set us apart. We aren’t afraid to do much- we will cover a Cyndi Lauper song, open a show with the quietest song we have, or perform with our singer not even on stage- he might be singing from the merch table for a song.
Being from St. Louis, you guys must be excited about your recent victory against the LA Dodgers! Do you keep up with all the games while touring?
Duh! This is St Louis. Baseball is in our blood.
Let’s talk about your latest single released, “Top Of The World”. Where did the inspiration for it come from?
I would say that the inspiration behind that song is to connect with people who sometimes feel like giving up. That is a song about staying the course, no matter how tough the road ahead is, and no matter how tough the road behind you has been. It’s about chasing a dream.
How did it get to be the featured song in the trailer for the Disney film, Big Hero 6?
We have always felt our music was cinematic and dramatic in a way that lends itself nicely to film scores, television and commercials. A part of the Greek Fire mission is to put a lot of effort into these sorts of outlets so we have partnered with Kara Foley who works for a company called Hitcher. She has done an amazing job helping Greek Fire find these sorts of opportunities and continues to find new projects for us to be involved with.
I do. It’s funny, because I didn’t grow up reading comics or anything like that. I was usually making ninja weapons or building ramps for my bike. But now, some of those movies and stories really entertain me. The Avengers movie blew my mind. Same with the Iron Man franchise. I am completely absorbed watching those, and that’s all I am really looking for in a movie like that.
Tell me about the rest of your sophomore album, Lost And Found? Why split it into two parts?
It’s a concept album, based on the lyrical undercurrent & meaning of the songs. Moon is the lyricist, but I can tell you that Part One: Lost, is kind of dark, largely about dealing with life from the perspective of a person stuck in hole, searching for daylight, and doing everything they can to find peace and security- to feel on top of the world. Found is largely about finding that place.
There is a song called “Running Away” on Found. We’ve recorded a couple of different versions of this song and still haven’t found that magic arrangement, but I think they are among the best lyrics Moon has ever written. Once we lock down an arrangement and vibe that will let those lyrics shine, that song will be stunning.
More times than not, influences tend to bleed through. What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
I am inspired by anything with substance and depth. I am a rock guy at heart, but I really don’t care what genre of music it is as long as I feel humanity and can connect with something. I am big on humanity. A great song is a great song, but when I feel like there is some kind of personal experience or connection behind the lyrics, that’s when I am a believer. Same with instruments. I will always be more drawn to the sound of someone bending a guitar string in way that only they would bend it, or a drummer that can just nail a groove without too much help from Pro Tools.
You have performed at Vans Warped Tour, Rockstar Uproar, Point-fest, Q101 Jamboree, Rock On The Range and Summerfest. What’s been your favorite festival experience and why?
A couple of times a year the big alternative station here in St Louis, (105.7 The Point), does a big festival called Point-fest. Those are always awesome. That station has done so much for both of my bands, and this city has supported my creative endeavors over the last ten years with unwavering loyalty. We have a special thing going here.
What would you say the band has already accomplished and what do you have your eyes set on next?
I think the most significant thing we have accomplished is too simply stay the course and keep fighting the good the fight, despite having no record label or backing of any kind, in an industry that really takes it’s toll on you. To be completely honest, it’s been a really tough road. We’ve all had moments where we’ve questioned continuing, but there is just something about this band that we can’t walk away from. We are true believers! We have faith that we are on to something special.
What do I have my eyes set on next? Personally I would love to make a record with a world class producer that can get inside our heads and push us into even further uncharted territory, and collaborate with directors that can make highly artistic and compelling music videos. Actually, not videos- short films. I don’t want to ever have just a “video”. I want every song to have a correlating short film. I want to unleash our creativity across all forms of media.
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with the band (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
There is a certain member of our band that has had a lot of sex on the road. In Porta-Potties, vans, parent’s cars, so and so forth. Those are always fun things to talk about in the morning.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
We just want to connect. I personally feel like the whole point of the human experience is to connect and create; a song, another life, a piece of art, anything. If I can create something that emotionally affects another person, then I am satisfied to my core. That is our goal, to write the best songs we possibly can that can connect with the most people we possible can.