I Fight Dragons, not to be confused with Imagine Dragons as all my friends seem to do, are a pop punk/chiptune band from Chicago.
Having done Warped Tour in the states and most recently providing the theme tune for a certain 80s themed sitcom, they may still be a relatively unknown entity in the UK so I got to do a quick email interview with lead singer Brian Mazzaferri to get the lowdown on the band.
For those who may not know you, why did you name the band “I Fight Dragons” and how would you sum yourselves up?
I’d say these are related answers. Both the band name and the band itself have something to do with taking on the gigantic and powerful forces arrayed against the individual. Most of our songs have something to do with the struggle to find one’s place in the world, and the battles (both internal and external) that go along with that struggle.
Everyone has their influences so who/what inspired you to say “we should combine pop punk and chiptune!”?
Hmm, well on the pop punk / powerpop side lies influences like Weezer and Fountains of Wayne, while on the chiptune side honestly it’s just a general geekiness and appreciation for the emotional connection those sounds engender. I think they’re straightforward and honest sonically.
When writing material, do you have a particular formula you follow, like guitar parts first then fit the Game Boy sounds around those or is it much more organic and just rolling with whatever comes first?
For me as a songwriter, it almost always starts with an acoustic guitar, but from there it can take shape in a ton of different ways. Usually it’s the band taking my acoustic demo and shaping it into something fully fleshed out, but often I’ll have some idea ahead of time as to where the chiptune fits in, so sometimes I’ll bring that information to the band and even write some chiptune pieces ahead of time to show the guys what I’m thinking.
Brian, you recently appeared on a track for MC Lars (incidentally the track that I also provided a synth part for courtesy of kickstarter!) Are there any musicians you’d like to collaborate with in a similar way?
We’re always up for collabs, but these days we’re trying hard to get the next IFD project launched, since it’s been a couple years since anyone has heard from us 🙂
People in the UK might have found you thanks to the Goldbergs theme tune. Is it true that Adam F Goldberg is a fan of yours and he asked you to do the theme?
Yes! It was absolutely surreal, he was one of the first backers of the Project Atma kickstarter, and he sent us a message introducing himself and talking about The Goldbergs, and from there we spent months kicking around 20 or so theme song ideas. I still have to pinch myself sometimes that everything has happened on that front…
Speaking of the UK, do you have any plans to tour over this side of the Atlantic in the near future, perhaps on something like Slam Dunk Festivals or Warped Tour events? (P.S. The only acceptable answer is YES!)
We certainly would love to. UK touring has been a dream of ours for so many years now, it’s just never worked out economically. If we got the chance, we would jump at it.
KABOOM! is an amazing album which was followed by another great, albeit slightly different album, in that you took it to Kickstarter and created a rock opera/concept album. So the big question – what’s the next big project to follow up The Near Future? Surely there’s got to be an IFD videogame coming at some point?!
No video game in the works at the moment, although The Near Future actually emerged in part out of a pitch for an IFD video game that I wrote back in 2012.
As far as what’s next – we’re actually working on a new project / album / adventure that should hopefully be launched by the time this comes out. We’ve been quietly working on it throughout 2016 and things have been heating up this year, so I hope people will join us in this new musical quest!*
*Since this interview the new project has since been announced and you can find out more in my next piece!
Find out more about I Fight Dragons at ifightdragons.com