Where There's Smoke, There's… FIRE E.X!
By Don Quan Translated by Ann Lee
As fast, loud and furious as they come, Kaohsiung's FIRE E.X bashes out punk-rock tunes with attitude to spare. Although only in their early 20's, these four lads are already seasoned music veterans. They've played the Formoz Festival four times, appeared at Spring Scream six times, and have been featured at every other major music festival this island offers.
FIRE E.X started out between high school friends Sam (大正, lead vocals/guitar) and JC (敬元, bass/vocals) in 2000. Initially they played covers. This changed after JC introduced Sam to Green Day and The Offspring. The seeds were sown, but didn't sprout until 2001, when Sam attended a punk-rock show in Taichung that included Taiwanese bands and Japan's Softball. "It was because of that show that I became infatuated with punk music," he says.
Or (宇辰. Guitar/vocals) joined the band in 2004, and Indoa (冠倫, drums) came aboard in 2006. Sam writes all the songs and the band arranges them together. FIRE E.X's first recorded output was a three-song EP "Revolution," released in 2004. The band recently celebrated the release of their new full-length album entitled "Let's Go!" which was recorded in Taipei and mastered in New York. Featuring 13 spirited songs, the album has it all—superb production, fast tempos, crunching guitars, vocal harmonies, and catchy melodies.
All the members still have to do their mandatory army service, but will not let this interfere with their plans. Says Sam, "We would like to tour Japan maybe next year, and perhaps record another album." It seems Japan is an obvious destination, as the music industry in Taiwan is rather unsupportive of underground bands. These boys are optimistic this will change a few years down the road. "The history of underground music here is still very short. It's up to all the musicians in Taiwan to help change the situation." No doubt FIRE E.X will be at the forefront helping facilitate that change.
On the web: www.fire-ex.com.tw
Song samples: www.ccuart.org/ToaKang/