As far as band names go, The On Fires could be taken as tongue-in-cheek, arrogant or nonsensical. In this case, however, the bands moniker happens to befit both its sound and the buzz its creating in the music industry. On Thursday, March 24, The Aussie group thats been described as The bastard lovechild of The B-52s and The Sex Pistols will make its debut Birmingham performance at The Nick. Headlining the 10 p.m. show, The On Fires will share the bill with The Jukebox Romantics, American Pinup, The Extraordinaires and So It Goes. Recently, we caught up with On Fires lead singer Max Harman by phone as she and the band were set to embark on their U.S. tour. Currently, the band is on the road in support on its 2010 release, Betrayer (Raw Defiance Records).
BW: Max, thanks for your time today. What has the year been like for your band to this point?
MH: We havent done any playing. Weve been here in Boston since early January. We dont get snow (in Australia), so its been a really interesting experience for us. Weve got a sponsor and theyve given us an apartment to stay in, which is fantastic. Thats allowed us to set up the tour and all of the logistics. Its a bit harder to do when were in Australia, of course. Well be on the road for 10 months of this year its going to be a very exciting time for us.
BW: Although your band is relatively new to American audiences, youve played all over the world. Is there a difference in audiences as you travel across the globe?
MH: There absolutely is. We play a lot in central and eastern Europe countries like Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine all typically ex-communist countries. Its really quite remarkable and there is a strong difference between there and western countries like Australia, America and the United Kingdom. The difference seems to be that people were still living under communism in those countries until fairly recent times and 15 year-olds still remember what it was like when you couldnt buy candy. So, they had all these restraints and those restraints have been lifted and its as though they are still celebrating this newfound freedom. Theyre less shy about expressing their enthusiasm for music.
BW: As much as its artistically rewarding, the cultural experiences you take from your travels seems equally rewarding.
MH: Thats one of the key drivers for me to tour internationally. I love the observation of different cultures and behaviors around the world. I love seeing how other people live and American supermarkets are the best (laughs).
BW: Speaking of international touring and the music business, how do you feel about the instant accessibility through the Internet coupled with the enormous volume of music available to listeners?
MH: Its quite a paradox, isnt it? Anybody now can buy a computer and have the software to make music thats a wonderful and freeing event of our time. Those of us that do it professionally have to get heard above all of these millions of people. Being heard amongst the big crowd is quite a challenge. The approach we take is to get on the road and meet every individual person we can and make a relationship with them.
Tickets to the 10 p.m. show are $5 and can be purchased at www.thenickrocks.com