The fireflies don’t care if you like their music. In fact, they don’t really care how you feel about them at all; they just want you to feel something. This Champaign-based quintet strives to make music that challenges its listeners and inspires emotion, even if that emotion is disdain.
All five members of fireflies grew up in Danville and played in a series of different bands. Eventually, they formed what they jokingly refer to as “The Danville Supergroup.” Composed of Kyle Scott, Luke Bergkoetter, Adam Wright, Mark Wyman and Chris Hopkins, fireflies left Danville and settled in Champaign.
Since relocating, they have developed a reputation among local bands as “a bunch of hard-asses,” in part due to a brawl that broke out at a local bar after members of the band asked a girl to “show us your boots.” The band will be the first to tell you that they would much rather dance-fight like the gangs in West Side Story, which does not come as much of a surprise since the band lists “homo-erotic Michael Jackson dance parties” as one of their interests. Some of their other interests include bowling and trying to beat Super Dodge-Ball on the original Nintendo system.
Fireflies are a quirky and often self-deprecating group who consider seeing Nick from Green Light Go naked, getting drunk in Chicago on Cinco de Mayo and then accidentally breaking someone’s stove to be some of the highlights of their time together.
With an enigmatic sound often compared to the furious, now-defunct At the Drive-In, fireflies are hard to categorize and do not fall into any clearly defined musical genre. “Eccentric indie-rock” is as close as any of the band members will come to categorizing their sound.
As a band that thrives on live shows and loves to interact with the crowd, recording often comes second to performing. When they do record, they try to encapsulate as many aspects of their live performances as possible. Many tracks are done in only one take, and small imperfections are kept in the final mix. This style of recording both lends itself well to the raw, passionate sound the band craves and prevents songs from sounding processed and over-produced.
Their songs feature incredibly personal lyrics and a unique writing style. Fireflies do not rely on any one member for song-writing and instead allow songs to grow out of one central idea or inspiration. This evolution often leads to songs which sound much different than they did when originally conceived.
Fireflies’ unique sound often leaves first-time listeners wondering, “What the hell was that?” which is exactly the response the band hopes to elicit. The songs are reminiscent of fireflies’ live show, in that both seek to interact with the listener more than simply provide meaningless entertainment.
The band recently ventured to Villa Park in order to record their latest EP, Goodnight, We’re Only Here to Help. Working with Brian Zeiske at Gallery of Carpet, they recorded four new songs over the course of three days, followed by another two days of mixing. To combat the stress of recording, the band spent time playing “Whirley Ball,” a sport that is a violent mix of bumper-cars and lacrosse, with points being scored by shooting a wiffle ball through a mutated basketball backboard. This sport is a perfect example of the band’s tendency to avoid the commonplace or mundane and to embrace the unique, personal aspects of life.
Recording the music for their new EP turned out to be one of the easier parts of the process, as the band struggled with the technical issues involved with creating and formatting the EP’s original artwork. After finishing the artwork and remaining post-production work, the finished product was a cohesive and intensely personal album that exceeded the band’s original expectations. The songs contained a common feeling that Bergkoetter describes as “not really knowing how to address something, and still feeling arrogant enough to try.”
With the release of their EP, fireflies are looking toward the future – a future they hope includes getting signed. For now, they plan on playing as many shows as possible and are perfectly willing to give up their careers and steady jobs in exchange for life on the road and the chance to get their music out to as many new people as they can.
The album release show for Goodnight, We’re Only Here to Help will be at The Canopy Club on Saturday, June 3. Joining fireflies will be Shipwreck, The Old Faith, Bailey and Monte Carlos. There will be two separate stage areas in order to cut down on setup time between bands and to keep fans entertained all night. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5.
Fireflies’ new six-song 25-minute EP Goodnight, We’re Only Here to Help will be on sale for $5. Both the show and the EP are great opportunities to show support for local bands, and neither will put a dent in your wallet. So come check out the show and pick up a copy of the EP. Who knows, there might even be an impromptu Michael Jackson dance party after the show.