The Koala Fires CD Release and Final Show
with Brighton, MA, Jody Stapleton and the Generals
August 24, 2013
Mayday, 4231 Spring Grove Avenue, Cincinnati, OH
The Koala Fires will release their second full length record titled “Doom of the Norns” on Saturday August 24th, coinciding with the bands final show. The album has been almost two years in the making due to a number of factors, first and foremost being the fact that singer/songwriter/guitarist Matt Mooney decided to learn how to record, mix and master it completely solo. “It was a matter of control, efficiency and expense. Basically, as a mostly-local indie band, we’re operating on a shoe-string budget and a lot of people might not understand how much money and time goes into recording a full length album. In my career thus far as a musician, The initial Koala Fires album was the first time I had ever broken even on cost vs. revenue, I was trying to think of a way we could change that with this album, and also gain more creative control over the final product. We think it turned out pretty damn good.” states Mooney.
The band spent the past two years experimenting with recording techniques (Most of the recording was done with 3 microphones and an iPad), tweaking parts, recording and re-recording until everything was a good representation of what the band accomplishes in a live setting. Mooney then took the tracks and spent months figuring out how different mixing and mastering techniques affected the final product. “It started with a lot of guess work,” Mooney recalls “but I also started remembering all of the things I’ve picked up from recording in studios and with people who do this professionally. One of the real indicators of success, was sharing the album with Kenny Petrosky, a local sound engineer with whom I had recorded while in the band Super77. He praised the sound and asked how I had accomplished it. I knew then that all the hard work had paid off.”
The struggle and conflict of the recording process, ending triumphantly with the completion of the album is a correlation to the concept that is documented on the album musically. “Doom of the Norns” is a concept album which follows the relationship arc of two people or beings who connect as lovers.
The title track of the album “Grim is the Doom of the Norns” is about the choice and/or destiny that begins their journey with one another; the spark of love and companionship that is the focus of any new relationship, however there is an undercurrent of tension subtly hidden below the surface of the songs both lyrically and musically. As the album progresses, mythological, cryptozoological, supernatural and historical metaphor are employed to bring to light the sordid reality that was ignored or passed over due to the newness of the love they had initially discovered.
The songs were written by Mooney at a time when his 10 year marriage was deteriorating and coming to an end. A lot of the themes are understandably dark and based on this difficult time. “The song writing for the album was my only means of catharsis, the only way I could make sense of what was happening to me at the time.” says Mooney “I was having a hard time seeing the reality of my own situation from day to day, it’s really disorienting to be arguing with someone all the time, never sleeping, working crazy hours, not having any real solid base to start from, your mind gets pretty jumbled and lonely. These songs were a way for me to solidify my thoughts and feelings and gave me a place to start healing.”
When it came to the artwork for the album, Mooney wanted something very special and specific; something that could communicate the sense of magnitude, surreality and base anguish that the songs had been birthed from. He contacted William Test, a Chicago based fine artist with whom Mooney had attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati in the late 90’s. Test was commissioned to paint the cover art and the end result is a beautiful collection of larger than life mythological monsters that truly encapsulate the feeling of the album. They are brightly colored and yet menacing, docile and yet imposing. Test’s other work can be found at http://www.williamtest.com
The Koala Fires had planned on being around until December 31st and then calling it quits, but Mooney has set the final show date for Saturday August 24th, 2013. This will serve as the release party and the bands final show but also happens to be Mooney’s Birthday. “Sometimes, it’s a gut feeling that it’s time to move on.” Mooney says in regards to the re-scheduled demise of the band “My birthday seemed like a good time to say it’s the end.”
While the band will no longer be together, that doesn’t mean the music is ending. Mooney has been writing a lot of new material that has taken on a different spin than the Koala Fires sound. He has been experimenting with new styles and ideas and plans to continue developing this into a new act and recordings. He will be releasing more information about this venture in the months to come. Drummer Matt Retherford, and Guitarist Ben Evans also play in the Cincinnati band House of Feeble Minds, and are expected to focus more on that project, and Bassist Matt Zink (who is a new dad, congrats Matt!) plays with The Future Strikes who have seen some recent success.
The band is planning quite a party to celebrate. Chicago’s Brighton, MA will be joining them on stage supporting their recent release “Oh, Lost” which has gained a good deal of acclaim and momentum in the past few months. Local heroes Jody Stapleton and the Generals will open the night. The doors will open at 8PM and there will be a $7.00 Cover. While all the bands performing are male staffed, the Koala Fires wanted a healthy female representation of performers and issues to be covered as well. CinCity Burlesque will be performing in-between band sets, and 1/2 of the proceeds from the sale of Koala Fires’ merchandise for the evening will be donated to help relocate the women of Anna-Louise Inn.