Interview: Fire Island Pines

Fire Island Pines - Photo courtesy of Fire Island Pines

Fire Island Pines – Photo courtesy of Fire Island Pines

The notion of naming a band after a place is certainly nothing new, but in the case of Fire Island Pines, a six-piece indie pop band, the chosen location couldn’t be more obscure.

“We saw it on a map and we thought it sounded really evocative,” the band explained. “We all liked the name and it stuck…we’ve never been there, but since we took on the name we’ve all become kind of fascinated by it and we’ve got this strange notion that maybe one day we’ll end up playing there – once we’ve refined our disco stylings that is.”

The group — which consists of members Seamus Constance, Ben Galbraith, Andrew Gough, Simon Gough, Tom Gurney, and Anton Rothschild — hails from Cornwall, an area of the UK famous for, among other things, musicians Roger Taylor and Aphex Twin.

“Cornwall is globally renown for its glittering coastlines. Inland is [a] bleak world of poverty and desolation, and that’s the bit we come from,” the band shared. “There’s a fairly vibrant music scene but somehow we’ve never managed to really be part of it. I guess our music is quite niche and there aren’t many other bands like us there!”

Case-in-point: Fire Island Pines has not one, not two, but three guitarists, along with a bassist, a drummer, and a trumpet player. The end result is a wall of sound, albeit a somewhat jangly, poppy one. And while the group has been compared to Felt and the Smiths, the members admitted they never had much of a definitive idea of what they wanted to do from the get-go, other than to play indie music.

To date, the band has worked with Art is Hard and Manic Pop! and released two seven-inch records. And late last year, Fire Island Pines took its first trip to Berlin to play at the Popfest, right on the heels of agreeing to do a full-length album with Firestation Records.

“Firestation got in touch with us, saying something along the lines of, ‘we love the singles, would you like to make an album?’ We naturally said ‘hell yeah!’ and that’s how the invite to Popfest came about,” they shared. “We’re thrilled to be handed this opportunity. Since then we’ve basically set about writing and recording for the album so we’ve had a bit of a low profile lately! We’re so grateful to Firestation for believing in us enough to put out a record – it’s a nice feeling!”

The band’s plans for the album are to explore new directions while still remaining tethered to its core sound, though how it will sound won’t be entirely evident until the album is actually done.

“Most of us in the band have got full-time jobs and kids, so it’s about grabbing the odd 10 minutes here and there to work on it. We’ve now got all the tracks mapped out as demos, so it’s going to a case of knuckling down and recording it all in its final form at the bass player’s flat,” the band said. “So far, tracks we’re considering including are veering in all directions from bland generic trash to total lo-fi weirdness…hopefully it’ll turn out somewhere in between.”

Meanwhile, the aspirations don’t go much further than putting out something the members are proud of and being able to share that with people who enjoy the music. But for Fire Island Pines, that’s all that’s needed.

“With families and stuff, it’s really hard for us to find the time to do all the things you need to do these days to get anywhere as a band,” the group shared. “But I think we’d all agree it’s a bright spot in our lives that gives a lot of satisfaction.”

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