Interview Ankur Batra (Fire On Dawson)

“We have an immense faith in our loyal fan base that we like to be involved with us directly”

(August 2012, text by Zafer Yüksel, edited by Peter Willemsen)

Fire On Dawson from Karlsruhe, Germany recorded Seven Billion And A Nameless Somebody, their new and second studio album. This was a good reason for Background Magazine to talk with front man and lead singer Ankur Batra about the album, their record label and the upcoming shows.

Could you please tell our readers something about the story of the establishment of Fire On Dawson?

Ankur Batra: “The band was established by our bassist Martin Sonntag as an experimental project in the summer of 2005. It wasn't anything like the current Fire On Dawson, we even had a different name back then. Early 2006, I joined the band as a vocalist and in the same year we came up with the present name. Markus Stricker replaced our founding guitarist Nico, who left for Berlin in the summer of 2007. We started recording our debut album Prognative in 2009, which was released in January 2010. This year we recorded our second full length album
Ankur Batra
Seven Billion And A Nameless Somebody.”

You've got your own label Degressive Records. Why did you decide to start your own record company?

“While recording the new album the complete control of our product was essential for us. We write our own music, we book our own shows and we felt that it was the right time for us to establish our own record label into this process. On the one hand we obviously don't have the financial resources of other labels, but on the other hand we enjoy the control over our basic decisions like musical direction, advertising, and so on. Moreover, we have an immense faith in our loyal fan base that we like to be involved with us directly. Of course there are also great labels doing very good jobs with their musicians. If the right opportunity appears to work with one of these labels, we would definitely consider it.”

What's the story behind the Seven Billion And A Nameless Somebody? How was the cooperation between the band members concerning the lyrics and the music?

“I think the first time the idea of Seven Billion And A Nameless Somebody came up was on our first tour to India. Our very first show outside Germany was attended by five thousand enthusiastic fans. During this tour which lasted more than two months we met thousands of people. It was quite overwhelming. It made us think about the relationships we have with other people. We were at such a short distance from all these people and yet, we knew nothing about them. We are talking about us as individuals, having an identity of our own whilst being part of a seven-billion community. We are pretty unimportant to people we don't know even though they might be standing only a few inches away from us. Well, this idea led to a concept that covers the album.”

Who had the supervision of recording, mixing, mastering and producing the album?

“The roots of Seven Billion And A Nameless Somebody date from about two years ago. While we did our first tour in India, we decided to develop these ideas into a kind of concept. When we don't tour or travel, we're busy working on new ideas either at our apartment in New Delhi or in our rehearsal room. We Are All Vain, Syria and Willow were more or less born on that tour and later on the remainder of the album had been written. We as a band lay a lot of stress on teamwork and we encourage the involvement of all band members in the process of songwriting. After all the songs had been written, we practiced the structures and the arrangements. Then we went into the recording stage which spanned over two months. Both the recording and the mixing had been done at our own studio in
Fire On Dawson
Karlsruhe. The mixed songs were then sent to Hollywood sound engineer Stephen Marsh (Incubus, Korn, The Hangover I&II) to be mastered. We had worked with Marsh before on Prognative so we knew that he would understand what we wanted, which was very important for us. And once again, he did a terrific job.”

Can you please tell me about the video clip for The Code? Where did you shot this video?

“As I already told you in relation to the record label, we wanted Seven Billion... to be absolutely our own product concerning all aspects. We had the idea to realize a video clip from The Code while we were on tour in India where half of the scenes were shot. The remaining scenes were shot at a harbour in the south of Germany.”

You did your release show in Warsaw, Poland. Do you have any plans of visiting other cities and countries to perform?

“Recently we did a show in Prague, the capitol of the Czech Republic. We will be playing at some more music festivals in Germany this summer and after that we'll evaluate all possible options and decide on future touring accordingly. Some of the places we would love to tour are Turkey, Russia, France, The Netherlands and Italy. A tour to South-America would be nice too.”

Thank you for answering my questions!
“It's my pleasure, thank you!”

More info about Fire On Dawson on the Internet:
       Fire On Dawson Website
       Review 'Seven Billion And A Nameless Somebody'

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