Rose Edwards reports on the launch of 'These Wounds' by FIREFALLDOWN
Sonic missionaries and Filipino-British London-based band FIREFALLDOWN aren't your typical rockers. They're well known for their first single and turntable hit "Commissioned" that was played often on Cross Rhythms radio station in 2009 and received airplay on Kerrang! TV, Scuzz and XFM. The three piece rock band has been described as having a dynamic sound that is similar to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Blink 182. Now they are getting ready to launch their debut album 'These Wounds' under the new formed sub-label Love Music Movement of Small Town Records. The album that has taken five years of writing, since the band first got together, will be launched at the Heal These Wounds event on 9th June.
The band, Jon Blaylock (lead vocals, guitar), Joel Sablayan (bass) and Andrew Hodgson (drums), believes that music can be used as a tool to reach the next generation and communicate faith to them. Recently they have been playing their music in schools and have been receiving good responses from the young people. Said Jon Blaylock, "Actually, we get the best response from younger folk - I'd say 15, 16 to 19, 20, 21. They love it. We've been playing high schools recently and we've actually decided to start focussing our efforts more on the youth because the response has been something else. When we play these schools, I think much of the reason that these teenagers listen to what we have to say is because we play music. It's almost like it gives them cultural permission, like it's okay to believe in God, it's not some old archaic old-fashioned, out of date thing because these musicians believe in it and they live by it. So, absolutely, it's a very effective tool for opening that door to presenting the Gospel to ears that will actually be open to it."
When asked if he was excited for the album launch Jon responded, "Exceptionally excited. It has been a long time coming so this is definitely the furthest down the road we've ever been. The thing about this album is because we've been a band for five years; it's the culmination of five years' worth of writing. So in some ways we're very happy with it and very excited about it. But for me personally there is a part that feels there are some songs in there that we've outgrown. But at the same time God's timing is perfect and we wouldn't be releasing it if we weren't very happy with it. But I'm also excited about writing new material. 'These Wounds' pretty much encapsulates everything the band is about. It's about the wounds that Christ bore on the cross, bore for the world and that we might live life to the fullest. The song goes into the stories of people who've been through the worst experiences but through Christ's love, through knowing the wounds he bore on the cross for them, have found joy in the midst of it."
The organiser of the 9th June event, Tosin Ajayi, spoke about how the album launch has also become a benefit concert. Said Tosin, "If you go to the website you'll see that as well as being an album launch it's also a benefit concert for a friend of ours, Brittany Kamruddin, who suffers from Lyme disease. For years we've known that she has this and we've been trying to figure out what can we do to help. We know that they need a heck of a lot of money to treat her but you look at it and say how much do they need? They need tens of thousands of pounds. And you think we don't have tens of thousands of pounds to give. Once we were having a church planning meeting. The pastor said, 'I just thought of something: we've got Firefalldown, we've got a great band, we're going to be on a campus; why don't we have a concert with Firefalldown and use it as a benefit concert to try and raise something towards the 30 thousand pounds that they need for the treatment?' So he came up with the idea originally and it kind of snowballed. The album launch was going to happen around then and they very, very graciously agreed to let us - well, I think we've hijacked the album launch. We feel it's a confluence of visions sort of thing. That's how it came about."
Tosin continued, "Lyme's disease is carried by ticks; over the last few years it's become more prominent so there are UK health warnings saying that if you go to somewhere like the New Forest wrap up properly because if you get bitten by a tick you could get Lyme's disease. Essentially it's a bacteria that goes deep into the cells. It has a whole range of manifestations, a whole range of symptoms. With some people it looks like Alzheimer's, with some people it's chronic fatigue, with some it's memory loss or lack of control over their motor functions with pain. For her it's like chronic fatigue and stabbing pains in the chest. The sad part about it is if it gets diagnosed within the first couple of weeks it can be treated with antibiotics and you'll be okay. When she started going to the doctors early on and saying this is what's going on she was an athlete, a junior athlete. Up to university level she was one of the top ten in the US. Then she just had no energy and couldn't get up out of bed. She started going to the doctor's and saying what's wrong and he misdiagnosed it. It was 10 years after the day she was bitten by ticks that they found out it was Lyme's disease but that was too far down the line. At this stage, antibiotics just don't cut it. It needs to be a whole bunch of experimental stuff. Chronic Lyme is a contentious issue and people aren't sure how to treat it so they have to go to a specialised clinic that's had a bit of a track record to try and get rid of it."
The album launch event, of which Cross Rhythms is the media sponsor, has been picked up by a Filippino TV channel and there is the possibility of the launch being aired live. However, when asked Jon said, "No, it's not. Actually we're not sure - it may, depending on the footage. But the connection is two of us in the band are Filippinos so that's how we made that contact. And the Filippino TV channel has been very supportive. They've been covering our shows and they've aired our music, features here and there on the band. So when I told them about the album launch they were like, 'Yeah! Absolutely! We'll cover it'. There are some things they have to work out and discuss."
Sharing the stage with Firefalldown is the punk rap band Malokai. Commented Jon, "It's going to be a great show. We're also having Malokai - they're a great band. We're going to be playing our 20 minutes and giving it our all. This is the culmination of five years' pent up energy. It will be good. If you're not able to come to London it will be streamed as well so if you go to Healthesewounds.co.uk you can watch it online."
The past five years have been foundational for the band. Jon said, "Firefalldown is definitely a big dream that we've had and I do feel that doors are opening now more than ever and we do hope that the music goes around the world and reaches as many people as possible. But the vision we have is bigger. It's really to raise up other musicians. We're also missionaries who use their music to impact the youth, the next generation to preach the Gospel in the darkest places. So that's the big dream: to raise up other musicians to do the same thing."
Firefalldown's album launch will be held at the Imperial College Union at the club Metric in South Kensington on 9th June. Tickets will cost £10 in advance and £13 on the door, available online and at Firefalldown shows.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.