Review Fix chats with Fire, Said The Albatross’ Douglas Bishop and Caleb Gatling, who discuss the band’s origin, creative process and goals for the rest o the year.
Review Fix: How did the project start?
Douglas Bishop: The story of “Fire, Said The Albatross” starts before it’s actual conception. Our previous guitarist Devon and I had played in our first band together. We were young and were just writing whatever we thought was cool and heavy. After some time, our band fell through and we then played in separate bands for a while. I was playing in a Grand Rapids band for about a year, but that was falling apart too. It was around this time that Devon and I started hanging out again, and I wanted to ask him about starting up a new project, but he had prior obligations to the band that he had been playing in. I hit up a vocalist that he and I had met a couple years earlier in our first band and I asked him if he had any musical groups that were in need of a drummer. He told me that him, his brother, and one of their friends was trying to start up a new band. I ended up driving out to his place, and the three of us drove out his brother’s place in Nunica.
This was where I met James. He wanted to jam some riffs with me to see how I played. I guess you could say that it was “love at first breakdown”…. or something like that, because we’ve been writing songs ever since. Him and I quickly started to have this vision of what we would want the band to be. Something new. Experimental. Familiar enough that it’s approachable, but different enough to feel unique. We had this old joke between us that we wanted to be like the “hardcore Pink Floyd, or the emo Tool”, if that’s any indication of the type of sound we wanted early on. We ended up just continuing to write music without his brother or their friend. After about six months or so of coming up with ideas, we thought it was time to find some members. Our first real line-up was the two of us, plus a bassist and a singer. We had played gigs as a four-piece for a while before we picked up a second guitarist. Which was Devon. For a long time after this, we had a lot of member instability. For years, it was pretty much James, Devon, and I as the core members. Musicians would leave, some would come back.
They would leave and others would try out. Friends would try out. We’d have previous members come back, for them to leave again. It wasn’t until after Lucas joined about a year ago that our line-up has felt well grounded to me. Caleb had joined the summer of 2017. He was a fan of the band before joining, and we had met him because he had done a vocal cover of one of our songs. Still the only person to do that! Him and I had become buddies and we’d have him come up on stage to perform with us from time to time. The two front-person setup in a band has always been intriguing to me. However as a band, we weren’t sold on the idea. That was until the summer of 2017. That following summer, I had come across Jonah online and emailed him to ask if he’d be interested in trying out for bass in the band. I sent him some tracks and asked him if he needed any help with working out the time signatures or the keys of any parts. He responded saying “no”, and four days later he posted a video of himself playing through a song of our’s in it’s entirety. We asked him if he’d wanna come out and track bass for a new song we were working on, and he’s been with us ever since. Shortly after this point, Caleb was our only frontman, as our other had to leave the band. We had been on the heavy search for a vocalist. Had some people try out. We talked about how maybe Devon should stop playing guitar and just sing, that maybe we should just find a new guitarist. None of that was working out for us as a band, so we just kept writing ideas for over a year as the five of us.
It was a year ago, almost to the day, that we had met Lucas. I remember sitting on my bed thinking, “there has got to be some place I can just find singers or something”. Coincidentally, I just searched on Facebook, “Grand Rapids Vocalists”, and a group came up. Called exactly that. I was scrolling through it where I saw Lucas covering Joji and Anthony Green. I could tell that he had something special. So I sent him a friend request and messaged him. We video chatted later that day about music and the band. The next night, he came out and started recording vocals for us. I told him that the spot was his if he wanted it. Now, after almost a year of this line-up, Devon had decided to leave the band. We held tryouts and a few people were interested in the spot. Which ended up going to David. Lucas would bring him to hangout with us from time to time, so we knew him, but I didn’t really know he played guitar the way that he does until he came out to audition. His background with music and guitar playing adds a very interesting twist to the music we are writing. So I voiced my opinion of him joining up and the rest of the band agreed.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Caleb: Our songs start be being written by drummer and founder Douglas Bishop. He writes the skeleton and the rest of us supply the flesh, blood, and muscles. Our songs are about a fantasy world we have cultivated over the years and the trials and tribulations of our protagonists, but hidden within every song is a bit of real world commentary and emotion for people to relate to.
Review Fix: What’s your standout song? How was it written?
Caleb: Big Dark Mood is definitely our stand out song due to the fact that it features Craig Owens, We hit up Owens to do a track and after he agreed we went to work writing a song that we believed would fit the theme of the story of the song which was horror based as well as we wanted to write parts to fit Owens style.
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2021?
Caleb: Our Goals are to reach new fans and put out new tracks for everyone to enjoy!
Review Fix: How do you want your music to affect people?
Caleb: We want people to have fun exploring our world through our songs as well as we want everyone to be able to connect with the themes of the music and take away something that relates to their own personal experience.
Caleb: We are currently working on some new singles, new merch and a new EP as well as some other little secret announcements so be on the lookout!