Fires’ J. Douglas Bartholomew on their upcoming split

cover-sdf-fires-split-frontTroubled Monkey Records is soon to release a split between Baltimore’s Fires and Self Defense Family (formerly End of a Year), which is a perfect pairing of progressive post-hardcore bands. It’s due out next weekend, and features some truly wonderful packaging to contain the explosive music within. Fires’ J. Douglas Bartholomew was cool enough to take a few minutes to communicate with us via e-mail about the release.

This is officially out the weekend of the Fest, correct? Why release it then, if neither band’s playing?

It is “coming out” Fest weekend mainly because the covers are being delivered to Patrick [Compston] (the guy putting out the record) at registration. And since I will be down there and Sean Mahan (the artist) will have a table there, we figured let’s take advantage of the geographical fate.

I can hear the sonic similarities, but how did the two bands come to be paired?

Well, we were lucky enough to be invited to play some pre-Fest shows with my old friends in Twelve Hour Turn last year. Patrick lives down there, went to one of the shows, and asked if we’d like to do a split. He already had been in touch with End of a Year, so he was just looking for an band to be on the flipside!

Compston’s story, from the Troubled Monkey discography page:

“I initially met Doug from a message board. I had some mp3 files of a Sixteen Bullets live show, and he wanted them. I later saw his band Fires play in St. Augustine at the 12 Hour Turn reunion show. They were good. Reminded me of 400 Years, the screamier 12 Hour Turn stuff, that late 90’s sound that I love.

Self Defense Family, or End Of A Year, or Barf Spectrum, or Comforter, have been one of my favorites for quite some time now. On a road trip designed around following them through 3 states, Patrick said something at a show along the lines of ‘Email your favorite band about putting out a record, you may be surprised at the answer.’ So I did, and I was.”

What’s the history behind each band?

I can’t speak to the history of End of a Year/Self Defense Family, but here’s ours: Myke (the guitar player) and I met at one of the vegan potlucks my wife and I used to have at our house. He likes Lagwagon and I like Shotmaker, but we decided to jam anyway. We didn’t know anyone who could drum, so we found Erin on craigslist. We wanted to play faster, she was into Tool and some indie rock, but somehow we found a sound we were all happy with.

The packaging is stellar. What led you to put so much work into this?

Our friend Sean Mahan totally saved our asses on this one! I took the lead in doing the layout (because I can be a bit controlling) and I just couldn’t come up with something. He’s a busy guy, but finally I gave him a last ditched “do you have ANYTHING we can use?”. He was just finishing up this beautiful piece and we were all stoked to use it!

How can folks get a copy?

At this point, I know No Idea will distro it, but I don’t know who else. It will more than likely be a one time press of 500. We’ll have some for sale, and Patrick will handle the rest.

According to the Trouble Monkey site, the pressing is 100 clear and 400 clear blue. Listen to Fires’ track, “Things We Lost In the Sea,” below.

Things We Lost in the Sea (final mix) by fires music