Having played in numerous bands in Portsmouth over the past few years, Housefires formed in 2011 and are now set to release their debut EP, ‘Before The Ceiling Caves’ at the end of the month.
With a style that is self-described as “Letlive and Underoath making sweet sweet love,” the post-hardcore quintet combine thick, heavy riffs with pulsating drum work and frantic vocals, creating an intense yet chaotic sound that leaves a lasting impression.
We caught up with the bands to find out more about their history, ‘Before The Ceiling Caves,’ the Portsmouth music scene, their influences and more.
Already Heard: Could you introduce yourself and your role in Housefires?
Callis: I am Callis and I do vocals.
Nate: I am Nate, I do drums.
Ollie: I’m Ollie Soundy, I play guitar. I’m also a professional dreamboat.
Jim: I’m Jim. I play bass.
Joe: Hey I’m Joe, I play guitar and sing.
AH: How did the band start out? I understand some of you had played in bands before?
Callis: I was in a band called Final Round… FIGHT! who did some stuff but never really got anywhere. Ollie was in a band called Kraken who were more successful but never really took off. Joe and Jimmy were in a band called Anytime Tuesday who were more of a local band but I really quite liked them. In fact it was off the back of liking Joe’s voice in AT that I took the offer to come along to a practice, check it out and in the end join the band!
Ollie: We stole him basically.
AH: How would you describe your sound and who would you compare it to?
Callis: If you can hear a band coming through in our sound, chances are we like them and we ripped them off!
Nate: Letlive and Underoath making sweet sweet love.
Ollie: We all have different styles within ourselves that when added together = Housefires.
AH: Are there any bands that have influenced your sound?
Callis: Thursday will always be a huge influence on me, although over the last year or two as a vocalist Josh Scoggin of The Chariot and Jason Butler of Letlive have had a huge impact on how I write and my overall stage presence.
Ollie: Coming from a metal background my style of playing is heavy because that’s what I’m good at. But in recent years I have taking a lot influence from Alexisonfire, Underoath, Emarosa with a bit of August Burns Red thrown in.
AH: You’ve been playing shows since last summer. What has been your most memorable show?
Callis: We played two weeks ago to an empty room consisting of the other band, their 3 mates and 3 other people. Most bands would probably play a half-arsed set in said situation. We decided to hang off the ceiling and rip the drum kit off the stage instead. Although not our greatest moment as a band, it was a defining moment for us that no matter how many people are watching us, we’ll still do our best to make it worth their time.
Nate: Most memorable show would be Joiners with Death of an Artist, Smoking Hearts, Anchors and Eyes Like Knives a few weeks ago. We might have shaved Callis.
Ollie: There have been so many shows that have been awesome! I loved playing in Andover with Our Time Down Here, Smoking Hearts and Death Of An Artist. It was really good getting to play with a load of really good mates and seeing the awesome bands that they are in! Plus moving the drum kit to the middle of the room was also awesome!
AH: What is a typical Housefires show like?
Callis: The few reviews we’ve had along with general feedback so far would say passionate and full of energy. I’d personally like to think we’re memorable and stick in people’s minds, usually from the events that unfold. Whether it’s the intensity of throwing our instruments/bodies half way across the room into the wall or the comical value of offering the crowd biscuits during our set, something usually goes down!
Ollie: Pretty frantic, tight, and energetic. I have had people come up to me and ask how we keep on going like that!
Nate: Ever seen the video of Buddy Holly by Weezer? Pretty much that, with jazz hands.
AH: You’re releasing an EP soon called ‘Before The Ceiling Caves.’ How did the EP come together and what should listeners know about the EP?
Ollie: The EP has made a massive journey from even before I joined the guys. They had the bare bones of songs. When I came in I added my parts to thicken it up a bit and then when Callis came in, he added his vocal parts which just brings the songs together. In my mind this EP is one of the most passionate pieces of underground “Post-Hardcore” I have heard in a long time. But I would say that, I helped write it.
Nate: It was recorded at the Ranch Production house by Neil. I would never want to go anywhere else! The man is a wizard.
AH: Which song from the EP defines Housefires’ style?
Callis: ‘If You Can’t Join Them, Beat Them’ is my favourite song on the EP for those reasons. It has hooks, riffs, melody, anger, chaos and everything else that seems to squeeze its way into this band.
Ollie: In my mind I would say ‘If You Can’t Join Them, Beat Them’ live, But ‘Wilmcote’ on the CD. Just both songs are filled with so much passion and Callis’ vocals bring them out so much.
AH: Could you tell us about the Portsmouth music scene?
Callis: It’s weird as there’s only a ton-or-so people who keep it alive by going to shows and not many new people turn up, despite everyone being open and accepting to those who want to get involved. The students only like Dubstep and are more concerned with drink offers than what the event is. Unlike most towns, it’s not cliquey which is always a bonus and people do go out of their way to try and make bands feel welcome with human pyramids/crowd surfing/etc. Many out of town bands have told me they’ve had some of the best nights of their tours playing in Portsmouth. The main issue with it being such a small scene is it is harder to put on any band that ask for more than £100 a show, as you’ll lose money unless they’re the sort of band that can fill out the 400 capacity Wedgewood Rooms.
Ollie: There are some crazy good bands. It’s pretty hit or miss with the crowd sometimes, but when it’s a hit there is a good few people down.
AH: Are there any notable bands from the area we should be checking out?
Ollie: Check out Lucky One Dies First – sick band, and Offender. Also a newish band called Ruin Everything.
Callis: Dragon Eye Morrison as they’re the only UK band I know of doing anything Mastodon would be proud of, and the frontman is also my landlord/housemate/mate. Check out Bear Cavalry too, they are twiddly. Indie’s best kept secret.
AH: Where and when can fans see you play in the coming months?
Callis: At the moment we’re taking any shows we can whilst trying to work enough to buy a van as well as all the pre-EP release build up work. If you want to see us in your town, go and nag your local promoter(s) to put us on. No, seriously, go and do it now!
Ollie: We are trying to get out as much as we can over the next few months, with BBTC being launched on the April 30th. We are planning to tour the hell out of it to show everyone what we have. We have just been confirmed for Make A Scene fest, with While She Sleeps, Feed The Rhino, TRC and Our Time Down here in June in Middlesbrough, So that fest will be awesome!
AH: What other plans besides the EP does the band have?
Callis: We’re toying with the idea of a vinyl split later on in the year if we can find the right band. Other than that the usual generic “what bands do” stuff like playing shows. We only played our first show just over half a year ago and we’ve been lucky to get into the right ears and have so much happen for us so fast, so it’s just taking it one step at a time and seeing what happens next!
Ollie: We are always writing new stuff, so maybe an album next year who knows, we just like to ride the wave for a bit, be a band together for a bit as we have only been all together for about 6 months. But keep looking at our website and the Facebook we will always be doing something new
AH: Any final words?
Ollie: Just like to say thanks to everyone that has helped us out along the way, such as Neil at the Ranch, all the local promoters that have given us a chance to play and impress them, our friends and family that have stuck by us, even though none of us have much anymore to be sociable like we used to be. Also massive thanks to our amazing manager Marianne Harris. Dreamboating.
’‘Before The Ceiling Caves’’ by Housefires is released on April 30th.
Words by Sean Reid.