In the spotlight

In the spotlight – Coastal Fire Dept.

todayNovember 24, 2023 295 6

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In the spotlight – Coastal Fire Dept. formed in 2013 in Guernsey, serves as a throwback to the heady days of 90s alt rock and grunge guitar bands with a modern twist and other influences thrown in from time to time. Coastal Fire Dept. is all about big driving melodic guitars with catchy choruses that stick in your head. The band consists of Ozzy (drums), Saad (bass) and Ollie (vocals & rhythm guitar).

“All three of us have been in bands before and you get to know fellow musicians on the island.”

We had a chat with Ollie about the backstory of their single ‘Regret’ among other things.

“We often get mistaken for either being a real fire brigade or a troop of strippers who dress up as firemen!”

Who picked the band name? Is there a story to the band name?

“Yes. I chose the name. I was walking to my car one evening and looked out to the French coast. It looked like it was on fire and I wondered if they had a fire brigade to deal with it! I checked it out at home and there is no such thing as a Coastal Fire Dept. so thought it was perfect!”

“We often get mistaken for either being a real fire brigade or a troop of strippers who dress up as firemen! We aren’t either but do love having fun about it. Maybe we’ll do a stripping tour! Ha ha!”

Which bands and music do you count to your influences and how would you describe your music?

“Our music has a sorta grungy altrock vibe and we throw in the occasional influence from time to time. Saad and Ozzy are both into heavier rock or metal. I’m mainly into grunge, alt rock and shoegaze. As a band we really are influenced by Nirvana, Pixies and some later mainly US alt rock bands.”

Outside of music, what are your biggest passions?

“Outside of music I love walking, taking random photographs of things that grab my attention and having a cooked breakfast at my fave local cafe! Ozzy is very much focused on music and drums. Saad loves conspiracy theories!”

I understand you are the main songwriter of the band, can you walk us through your songwriting process?

“Ok, so songwriting. I nearly always start with the music. I’ll usually jam chord progressions on my acoustic and scribble them down. Sometimes the song writes itself quite quickly. Other times I have to come back to them over and over when I am feeling in the mood. Lyrically I usually write about observations, feelings or stories already told.”

Do you have any particular habits or rituals when you create music?

“We don’t really have any rituals as such and play around with the creative process. Our recent music has been jammed in the rehearsal room and then I go into the studio to lay down the basics. We then build up those tracks bit by bit with Ozzy and Saad coming in, me adding more and we also have a very creative producer who helps too!”

“The song ‘Regret’ tells the true story of me going to a night club in St. Helen’s.”

What’s the backstory and influence behind ‘Regret’?

“The song ‘Regret’ tells the true story of me going to a night club in St. Helen’s (UK). A girl started chatting to me and I never realized she was chatting me up. I bought her a drink and said see you later – I never saw her again. She let friends of mine know that I had blown my chance!”

What song do you feel has been the best song the band has released so far and why?

“I think our shorter sharper sometimes heavier songs come across the best. ‘What Do I’ is quite polished and got us a lot of playlist and radio play but for me I love ‘Gentleman’. It’s short and to the point with a serious message.”

What excites you the most about making music?

“The most exciting part of the music is being in the studio working on tracks, pushing the boundaries a little, experimenting and having fun.”

Do you have plans to release more new music soon? What should we expect from your next release?

“Our newest release is ‘Close To You’ and it’s a song that came out with a sorta Foo Fighters vibe. Next year we release ‘Crank’ which is a fave of ours (sounds massive) and an EP too.”

When it comes to making music versus playing live, which part of the music process do you like the most?

“I love playing live but think I prefer the whole creative process from writing, jamming to recording…after that process finishes I do feel rather deflated!”

How does your live show differ from your recorded material?

“Live we sound a little harder and go with the flow (on the night). If there is energy in the room we will feed off of that!”

You started the band in 2013, looking back is there anything you would you do differently if you were to start over again from day one?

“We started in 2013 and did everything the right way back then. I wouldn’t change a thing but we have had some personnel changes so if I could change anything it would be that…a settled lineup from the start would have been good.”

What’s the ultimate goal you want your music to achieve?

“We don’t have any big targets other than to try and improve our songwriting and recording each year. We are focused very much on getting more gigs in the UK at the moment and so we hope our music gives us some more UK opportunities.”

Can you recommend some up and coming acts from Guernsey that you want to give a shout out to?

“If you love heavy screamo metal check out Hollow Youth. They have some cracking tunes and are great guys.”

Now that the year is almost over, how would you say that 2023 has treated the band? What are you already excited about for 2024?

“For 2023 we think it’s seen us take more steps forward, we’ve had some success with our album ‘Outsiders’ and the latest single ‘Regret’ has done well too! Next year we have ‘Crank’ coming out and we’re excited about this track. We also go back into the studio to record three or four singles which we will release near the end of the year. One of those tracks is heavy and a little different for us!”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

“I have heard of Lovejoy and know they are getting quite a few plaudits at the moment. I loved checking them out!”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“Check out Attendant’s cover of ‘Your Woman’ which was released recently. Great band and a super cover.”

Written by: leancool20

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