Fighting the Phoenix's Zach Talks Debut Efforts, Follow-Up Music, and the Future

Metal enthusiasts, Fighting the Phoenix have released material before, but has showcased what they are really capable of upon their debut full-length "Ballad of the Broken". They are already in the process of writing new stuff towards a follow-up release, with plans to play shows and much more. Guitarist/vocalist Zach Snyder discusses their debut album, new material, and plans for shows.

1.Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Zach: Fighting the Phoenix first formed in 2010 in Canon City, Colorado, at a high school talent show. We did a cover of the song “Bottomfeeder” by Blessthefall,and after doing unusually well playing a metal song for a talent show, we all just decided to make this a full time thing, as we were all very passionate about music all ready, and we just went from there. Me and my brother Kyle (our drummer), Mike Zello, (our then vocalist) and our bassist Kyle Parker had already known each other for years, having playing soccer and working at the Royal Gorge together, so we already got along really well together, and all wanted the same thing as far as music goes. Our very first real show was at the YMCA in Pueblo, to a bunch of middle schoolers haha, and after playing there a few times, we decided to up our game, and began playing shows in Colorado Springs, and later Denver, having shared the stage with bands such as Blessthefall, I See Stars, 12 Stones, Affiance, Phinehas, The Paramedic, and IWRESTLEDABEARONCE, to name a few. We released a 5 song EP in 2012, and our first full length in 2014.

2. Who is this so called Fighting the Phoenix?

Zach: We are just a group of dudes out of a tiny town in southern Colorado who all want the same thing; to take over the world with our unique sound and spread our message to anyone who will listen. The name, “Fighting the Phoenix”, means never ending struggle, as A Phoenix can’t die, it will just be reborn from its ashes. This means, that life never gets any easier, but your attitude and how you handle things can affect its outcome, and we try to convey this message, to “be all you can be, even in the hardest of times, don’t ever give up on your dreams, cause if some dudes who were once a bunch of underdogs in a shitty hole in the wall town can make it, so can you”.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Zach: We are based out of Canon City, Colorado, with a population of about 10,00 people, about one hour from Colorado Springs and Pueblo, 2 hours from Denver, and believe me when I say, the music scene is absolutely DEAD here haha. Well its not as dead since we came along, but there isn't a single venue here, just the local trashy bars on the corner, and if your not a country cover band or a wanna be rapper, no one gives a shit. Which for us is just fuel for the fires of success. All of our shows are out of town, and we have retained a STRONG local following in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Denver. The music scenes there are phenomenal,and a local band I could defiantly recommend would be a death metal band, “The Last Savior of God”. We have played with them several times, and are without a doubt one of the most talented group of musicians I've ever met. Its only a matter of time before their guitarist wins a golden god award haha.

4. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Zach: For me personally, Avenged Sevenfold got me into guitar, but my brother Kyle (our drummer) was into way more heavier metal then I was, and our guitarist Austin was into more 80s, early 90s metal, and our basset Kyle came from a punk band haha. We all bring a lot of our personal influences to the table no doubt, but as for the bands sound,we have a lot of elements, a mixture of trash, metal core, pop/punk, and groove metal all shoved into one. Bands such as As I Lay Dying, Blessthefall, The Used, Avenged Sevenfold, A Day To Remember,August Burns Red, Coheed and Cambria, newer Bring Me the Horizon, and Devil Driver have all had a huge part in this bands sound, and we try to combine as many elements as possible in our songs, to give people something fresh and new, that hasn't been done before.

5. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Zach: Like I said earlier, we are a band of underdogs. For me, I was bullied a lot in high school, I had a lot of girl problems, I even once tried to commit suicide by jumping off of a bridge. But I learned from all these experiences, and I try to convey the message of a better tomorrow to our fans. I know these are daily problems in a lot of peoples lives, and it fucking sucks, you feeling like you are never good enough, constantly being put down, feeling lower than dirt. As a band, we were hit with an INSANE amount of hardships just for being from the town we are in, but we didn't care. We are going to do what I feel we were put on this earth do do, no matter what anyone says, and if someone doesn't agree, then screw em. Life never does get any easier, but the choices you make can defiantly change the outcome. That is the message I try to convey, all our songs our real and based off of real life experiences, and I want to let people know, that no matter how unbelievably hard life gets, there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

6. Why did you see  "Ballad of the Broken" to be a good fit as a title for this album?

Zach: It comes from the song “Ballad of the Broken”, number 11, and we thought it was the song that fit the overall theme of the album, its like our theme song haha. Its a song for people that have been broken and stepped on, and we thought it was the song that projects what we are about the best, so we decided to name the album after it.

7. Who produced the album? What did they bring to the table to make this album the way it is?

Zach: The album was produced and mixed by myself. Mostly due to the fact that we were too poor to afford going to a studio, so I invested several thousand dollars into studio equipment, and I've always been a firm believer in the whole DIY thing, so I took the time to learn sound engineering and perfect our craft. It was also nice working on our time, not a producers time.

8. What was the recording process like this time around? Was there anything different that happened or was it the same old studio thing?

Zach: Since this was our first real “professional” album, we all really didn't know what to expect. When we first started, I had just got into the whole recording thing, and we were still a fairly new band, so none of knew what to expect.

9. What can we expect when listening to it and what is the message behind it?

Zach: One can defiantly expect a little something in there for everyone. We have songs with crazy riffs and solos like “The Condemned” to a classic metal core jam like “Fly on the Wall”, and the song “Lonesome Road” is a rock/love ballad. There's something in there for everyone, and the message behind it relates to what I said about the title track, “Ballad of the Broken”.

10. How would you say that album's artwork relate's to the music on the album?

Zach: Well it defiantly looks like a metal CD haha. We didn't want something to “noisy”, just simple and to the point.

11. What's your favorite song on the album right now?

Zach: I would have to say “Lonesome Road”, cause its the most personal song to me, and its also the one most people can relate to the best, since it has to do with love and heartbreak, and unfortunately a lot of people can relate to being heartbroken, so its my favorite because I feel like I put a portion of my soul into that song haha. Its also on the more rocky side, with very little screaming, so it appeals to a lot more people.

12. What does "Ballad of the Broken" mean to you all?

Zach: Its a stepping stone in our career of music, its our way to express ourselves in the best way that we can, and we couldn't be more proud of it. We spent so much time into something, and in time it will pay off, and we couldn't be more grateful for the people that have heard it.

13. How about shows and touring, how has the live activity been thus far?

Zach: We haven’t yet had the chance to tour yet, with one of our members in college, but we are waiting till we feel like we are absolutely ready to tour before we do, make sure everything is on point and that we have enough merch. As far as live shows go, we are pretty well known for being a very energetic band, and putting on a very good live show. We've had the opportunity of playing with some very big bands, and these shows are great exposure to a vast number of people. We always have great crowds that are getting into the music, and its a great feeling seeing other people express themselves to your craft.

14. What other plans do you have for this year?

Zach: We have started writing the 2nd album, and have quite a few big shows lined up. We are staying a little more low key for right now though, as we are in the process of finding a lead vocalist. We also hope to finally tour later this year and get out on the road, and finally start living our dream by playing music.

15. Any last words for the friends and fans out there?

Zach: We are so very grateful for our fans out there. If it wasn't for you none of this would be possible, and we love every single one of you. Big things are coming from us soon, and it will be worth the wait. Thank you so much!!!!

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