Interview by Robert Cavuoto
Florida rockers Fame On Fire has released their debut CD, Levels, this past September via Hopeless Records.
With more than a million streams every month on Spotify, their reinterpretations of various Top 40 hits have brought them widespread attention and garnered them as favorites at Active Rock radio thanks to their infectious melodies over memorable musical beds.
The band strives to be genre-defying while pushing the boundaries of the relationship between rock, hip hop, and heavy music by unapologetically being themselves. Showcasing their musical abilities, Bryan Kuznitz [vocals], Blake Saul [guitarist], Paul Spirou [bass], and Alex Roman [drums] self-produced, tracked, and mixed this debut album
I had the pleasure of speaking with vocalist Bryan Kuznitz about their new CD and how he feels Fame On Fire will revolutionize Rock & Roll!
Robert Cavuoto: Typically, after a CD release, you would probably be out on the road. How are you doing standing still?
Bryan Kuznitz: It’s weird! We planned a Head Space tour, and then COVID happened, so we never went out. This album was pushed back from June or July to September; figuring we would wait to see what happens with the virus. Obviously, the virus became a massive thing and we never went out and have been sitting at home for almost a year. We are a band that doesn’t like to sit still, so we took every possible opportunity during the downtime to grow as better songwriters and continue to write new music.
Robert Cavuoto: Being such a strong debut CD, was there talk about pushing back even further to 2021?
Bryan Kuznitz: This album has been completed since December 2019, so we didn’t want it to sit on it for another year because we are always writing new music. If we pushed this album back, our new music would have been pushed out as well. We felt our singles are doing well, so let’s keep releasing videos for them and get the album out so we can start to work on the next one. Hopefully, by the time that comes out, this will be all over!
Robert Cavuoto: I think the fans appreciate the new music even though they can’t support the band on tour.
Bryan Kuznitz: Touring is not the biggest thing in the world; it’s really about the music. Touring is one of those things that help sell your music and sell yourself as an artist. It’s not the most necessary thing, particularly for a band like us who has our roots on the internet. A lot of our fans are on the internet.
Robert Cavuoto: Proof to that is having a million streams a month on Spotify; the band is embracing technology and making it work to your advantage.
Bryan Kuznitz: It’s a much different game these days. You have to want it and need to be so fucking hungry! That’s always been the idea, but you have to know the business and how things work.
Robert Cavuoto: Having so many streams a month, what is it about your music that so many people can relate to?
Bryan Kuznitz: There are a few different aspects of why people can relate to our music’s lyrical content, especially nowadays as so many people are fucking depressed. It’s what we are bringing to rock music because we are so open about how we feel. We didn’t realize that this new sound we were developing for ourselves and Rock & Roll was so fresh and would be so well received. It’s a new take on rock music and where it is headed. We are on the path to revolutionize rock and change it for the better by incorporating more Hip Hop influence into our rock songs and making the melodies simpler to digest. Not overthinking what a rock song should be. A rock song is whatever the fuck you want it to be. That’s what rock is.
Robert Cavuoto: Knowing that you started out playing covers, I have to assume it helped you create songs that resonate so well with people?
Bryan Kuznitz: Yes, one of the covers we did was “XO Tour Life,” and doing that song help change our minds on how we felt about our music. We covered the normal Top 40 Pop songs, but when we did “XO Tour Life,” we realized how closely connected new rappers’ melodies were to rock music. We came up with a rock song, but it was just so much better than that! From that moment forward, we felt that we wanted our music to sound like that. We went all out on it.
Robert Cavuoto: What I enjoyed about the CD was the honesty in lyrics and how emotionally charged all the songs were, particularly “I’m Fine.” Can you tell me a bit of the back story on its creation?
Bryan Kuznitz: Typically, the way we start to write is with Blake making a beat or one of us having a vocal melody. I believe “I’m Fine” started with a beat. Blake produces his own Hip Hop beats, and we start by taking turns singing melodies over them. The lyrical content is about when you ask a person how they are doing, and their response is “I’m Fine” even though they’re not. It’s an easy way to get someone off your back and close yourself off. I felt that way at times and didn’t want to open up about anything or talk to my friends. I would always say, “I’m fine.” The whole song is about that struggle of knowing that you are not okay, but you keep saying “I’m fine” because you don’t want to face what’s in your head.
Robert Cavuoto: Songs are written in different ways and for different purposes based on your frame of mind. Do you do find yourself creating something adequate one day, then suddenly creating something very special the next?
Bryan Kuznitz: Every song is different. Some flow so effortlessly, while on others, you have to sit there and think about it. We are working on a song right now that I feel is an absolute hit. Everything is going so smoothly except for the first verse. Lance, Paul, and I have all tried to free-style something, and we can’t be sold on anything that we have come up with. Sometimes things hit, and sometimes they don’t! Sometimes you have to overthink what you are doing, and other times you have to pull back from overthinking and go by feel. Some days you write a great song other days, you don’t.
Robert Cavuoto: Is there any song on this CD that came to you like a gift from above?
Bryan Kuznitz: Yes, “Her Eyes!” That song started with a beat, just like many of our songs. When we sat down to work on the melodies and lyrical ideas, they came out so effortless. I look back on the creation of the song and wonder how we did it? [Laughing] That song was a gift from the universe. Another effortless song was “Not Dead Yet.” That song started when I overheard a voice memo on Blake’s phone with the song’s chorus melody. I told him it was amazing, and we started working on it. We knocked that one out really quickly as well.
Robert Cavuoto: Are you big on live streaming concerts?
Bryan Kuznitz: We haven’t done a lot. We did a special one, and it was fucking weird. We streamed it on our YouTube channel, which has 500,000 subscribers. We thought it would be the perfect platform. We had everything set; no audience and just 6 or 7 masked people filming. They were just staring at us, and as the singer, I need to interact with an audience, and they were not there. I couldn’t see or respond to their comments during the feed. It came out great and ended up being a lot of fun, but that aspect of playing live without an audience was so weird to me.
Robert Cavuoto: It was like jamming by yourselves in a rehearsal space.
Bryan Kuznitz: Even weirder! [Laughing]