Nations Afire consists of former and current members of powerhouses such as Rise Against, Ignite and Death By Stereo. They recently released their debut full-length "The Ghosts We Will Become", which is out now on Redfield Records. Check out what vocalist Nik had to tell us.
PRT: Who are you and what is one album on your iPod you wouldn’t want people to know about?
Nik: I am Nikolas Hill, and one of my guilty pleasures musically is probably James Taylor, not that I should feel guilty over it. He is an amazing songwriter and a perfect antidote to my burned out ears after a long tour playing hard rock and punk hardcore (my first true love musically).
PRT: Can you give me the history of Nations Afire in one minute or less starting… now!
Nik: We formed in 2009, as the four we are now, auditioned vocalists, found a great dude named Steve Ludwig, did a 5 song e.p. with him, did a small amount of touring. In 2010 we reformed without him on vocals and spent the better part of 2 years writing and showcasing for labels, decided that we know better what to do musically than any record label and wrote and recorded our debut record in late 2011 at the blasting room studio on our own dollar.... Now we are in Europe on an amazing tour! Boom!
PRT: How did members of Ignite, Rise Against and Death By Stereo get together to start a band?
Nik: We came together out of mutual respect for eachother as musicians, we knew eachother from our various bands touring for years. The band came out of a want to start something we all loved musically and see what happens.
PRT: How exciting is it to be able to start over with a new band and building things from the ground up?
Nik: It's very exiting of course but truly a lot of hard work. It's humbling in the best way possible.
PRT: Together you have years and years of experience of being in well-known bands. Obviously you guys have contacts and such that other beginning bands don’t have but at the same time people will have a lot of expectations. Do you think this all works for or against you?
Nik: It did give us an enormous leg up on our first attempt at becoming a real touring band, but in truth we have all put in many years of hard work to get to where we are now, so it all kind of evens out to me. People were very interested to hear what this band of individual talents would sound like, our other bands definately set the expectations quite high but that sort of pressure breeds good music for me.
PRT: For the people out there who haven’t heard you guys yet… if Nations Afire was the lovechild of two other bands, which acts would’ve had sex and which position were you conceived in?
Nik: Hmmmmmm, I'll answer your disgusting question with an another question; who would want to see the Foo Fighters have sex with the Cro-mags? And why on earth would we imagine their positions? I hope that was helpful...
PRT: In an interview from 2009 I read that you were planning to release the first full-length in 2010. Two years later it’s finally coming out. What’s with the delay?
Nik: Aside from losing our original singer and reforming, we took more time than we needed to write the best record we could. We had been writing music together for a solid year and a half to finally get the right group of songs that represented our vision; a powerful melodic hardcore and punk influenced Rock record. The best of us all was poured into each song, as you know you get only one chance to write your debut record and we wanted ours to be the very best.
PRT: The album is called “The Ghosts We Will Become”. I thought it was a solid mix of Rise Against and Ignite but with a lot of more straight-forward rock influences. Was it a conscious decision to slightly move away from straight-up punkrock or was it just the way the songs turned out?
Nik: To me we are hardcore at heart but our music comes out rock due to our musical chops, we play rock n roll with a hardcore intensity . We are fans of all types of music and it shows.
PRT: You just got off a European tour… will there be a lot of touring the rest of the year as well?
Nik: Yes, I believe we are already talking about 2 more separate Europe tours within the next year, so expect us in your city soon!
PRT: What is one thing you’d like to achieve with Nations Afire that you haven’t been able to do with your previous band?
Nik: For me personally it's my first official frontman/ lead vocal attempt, it's been really amazing so far with the support of fans and the guys in the band, every show we play is a huge accomplishment for me and I think we all are very happy with every little success along the way. Being a musician is such a blessing, it's all gravy from where I'm standing.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support our "The Ghosts We Will Become" tour, it means the world to us!