On Fire (band)
|Origin||Boston, Massachusetts, United States|
|Genres||Post-rock, Instrumental rock|
|Years active||2003 – present|
|Labels||Magic Bullet Records|
|Past members||Jen Townsend
On Fire is a rock band from Boston, Massachusetts. In the spring of 2003 Boston local/national indie rock favorites The Burning Paris hit a creative lull while writing the follow-up to their second release And By December You Will Know Where Your Heart Truly Lies (Magic Bullet Records) which quickly lead to the band’s untimely demise. Nate Shumaker (ex-Everdown)(Tooth&Nail) (Vox/Guitar), Josh Megyessy (guitar), and Jenny Townsend (cello) decided to forge ahead in a new band with Tom Korkidis on bass/keys (ex-Placer, ex-Alienist Outfit) and Mike Ushinski on drums (ex-Placer, ex-Barbaro) under the moniker On Fire (an homage of sorts to the acclaimed 1989 Galaxie 500 release of the same name). The five musicians began collectively composing songs, all of which made up the debut EP ‘’This Time it is Forever’’ (Magic Bullet Records). As the recording process began at Boston’s historic Q Division Studios with producer/engineer Matt Squire (who later went on to produce multi-platinum selling Panic! at the Disco) at the helm, Jenny Townsend decided to leave the band to pursue her career in teaching. Within a month a strong replacement was found in cellist Dana Feder. Long-time friend and Dopamine Records (incidentally founded by Shumaker and Megyessy) co-founder/label head Alexander Maniatis was also added at the same time to the group to provide additional synth work and samples to the live band.
During these initial months On Fire was building their following on the solid foundation created by both former bands The Burning Paris and Placer. Garnering quite a bit of critical and commercial attention in the Northeast, due in part to the increasing reputation the group was receiving for their dynamic new material and unforgiving live shows, On Fire secured a few successful regional tours (taking the band to the Midwest) and an invitation to play CMJ. At the same time, the sextet began receiving and accepting offers to play for notable national acts like The Secret Machines, The Album Leaf, Mates of State, Mutemath, The Dresden Dolls, Wheat, American Analog Set, Ambulance Ltd., Matt Pond PA and Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, etc. - which further helped solidify their stature as one of Boston’s best original indie rock outfits – all while keeping a relatively low local underground profile. On Fire continued to play to growing audiences and began composing what would soon make up components of their second official release. The band also licensed ‘’This Time it is Forever’’ to Japanese label Waver Waver at the end of 2004.
Unfortunately, 2005 saw the departure of original member and lead guitarist Josh Megyessy (who focused on a career as a gallery owner), and cellist Dana Feder who went on to join national acts Matt Pond PA and Anomie Belle. Suitable replacements were found in Derek Mabra (guitar) and Kristen Antolik (Cello), but within six months both musicians moved elsewhere in the US for other personal commitments. The final blow came when original drummer and longtime musical collaborator of Korkidis’, Mike Ushinski moved to New York City. At that same time Alex Maniatis decided to focus more time on his own group Radka.
In the spring of 2006, after contemplating dissolving what was left of the band completely, the main composers and founding members of the group - Shumaker and Korkidis - decided to push forward slowly and carefully, focusing on re-arranging/composing new music, adding strong multi instrumentalists/collaborators from different musical backgrounds, and abandoning the typical ensemble format that they had been using (two guitars, vocals, bass, keys, cellos, and drums) since the group’s inception. On Fire added Clara Kebabian (ex-Jumblies, Emily Grogan) on violin and vocals; Sean Will (ex-Tint, ex-Brass Monkeys) on trumpet/flugelhorn, piano, samples; Nick Knouf on viola and samples, and Alex Mihm on drums. The new sextet maximizes each individual musician and pushes all elements of their original orchestral post rock sound to new levels coming off more immediate, dynamic and cinematic than ever.
In 2008 On Fire decided with the new line-up, altered instrumentation, and new direction to change the name of the group to Eksi Ekso. 2008 marks the emergence of Eksi Ekso, both live and on record, with the long awaited full length I Am Your Bastard Wings due out June 10 on VA’s Magic Bullet Records, with subsequent tours following.
- This Time It Is Forever (2004)