Monday, June 24, 2024

Fire From The God’s AJ Channer Talks Perfect Day In Austin, A New Album In 2024 And Sonic Temple

Fire from the Gods (FFTG) always bring the big energy to their live sets. The group is a band formed in Austin, Texas in 2007. FFTG consists of lead vocalist AJ Channer, lead guitarist Drew Walker, bassist Bonner Baker, rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Jameson Teat, and drummer Richard Wicander.

FFTG has released three full-length albums to date with their blend of hip-hop, metal, and hardcore rock: Narrative(2016), American Sun (2019), and Soul Revolution (2022). In Narrative, the band tackled controversial subjects like racism and abuses of power. FFTG toured with metal bands like Born of Osiris, Volumes, Within the Ruins, Powerflo, and supported bands like Sevendust, Of Mice & Men, Memphis May Fire, and In Flames.

After signing with Zoltan Bathory, guitarist from Five Finger Death Punch, on his record label Eleven Seven, FFTG made their second album American Sun which covered issues like political unrest, overuse of technology, and environmental neglect. The band then toured with Five Finger Death Punch, Bad Wolves, and Three Days Grace. 

Most recently, FFTG released Soul Revolution, filled with songs about inspiration and aggression within soul searching. They toured with this album alongside From Ashes to New and again as a supporting act for Five Fingers Death Punch on their headlining US tour with Megadeth and The HU.

Fire from the Gods is currently working on their new, fourth studio album. The band just completed a high energy Welcome to Rockville set and will be appearing at Sonic Temple Festival this weekend. We talked with lead vocalist, AJ Channer on ShipRocked about his perfect day in Austin, his favorite video games, and the band’s signature hot sauce. 

Fire From The God's AJ Channel Talks Perfect Day In Austin
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What’s your perfect day in Austin? 

I take my kids to school, get them there on time. That’s the first thing because this kindergarten sh*t is wild. Taking them to daycare and getting them out, they got to be there by ten. I get up at Rockstar o’clock anyway. I’m in the queue in the car always hoping to make it on time. 

Austin’s dope. I just go out and do a lot of walking around. Tons of good parks. Get myself something to eat at Rudy’s. It’s a barbecue spot. I’m surrounded by a lot of the culture that I grew up with in the city so I can get Jamaican food if I want. 

I hang out with the homies a lot at this place called The Domain, way too much. There’s a bunch of bars around town. So that’s what I do when I’m home. I mean, I write music, which is nice, you know?

I work a little bit because I started a record label, so now it’s like calls all day, back on the phone a lot. I’m in front of a computer a lot these days, so I don’t play much video games during the day. I don’t get to play my favorite games anymore.

Fire From The God's AJ Channel Talks Perfect Day In Austin
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What were your favorite video games?

I play a lot of FIFA, which they say, ‘oh, you’re not a gamer if you play FIFA,’ but I play a lot of FIFA. I play a lot of Call of Duty. I play with a lot of dudes and bands that are just like me, that are sitting at home. We play a lot of Call of Duty together or Grand Theft Auto. We’re real soldiers. We’re out there. I do have a lot of homies and fans that I’ve met that are actually military. We kill it with those guys because they know what’s up.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Do you have a favorite ShipRocked moment?

Dude, I’m a day in. This is our first one. We kept getting a laminate that said ‘noob’ on it. I was like, ‘dude, that’s aggressive.’ I know, I’m a noob. This has been awesome. I’m having more fun than I deserve. Everyone’s been super, super cool.

Fire From The God's AJ Channel Talks Perfect Day In Austin
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

You’re going to be at Sonic Temple. What are you looking forward to?

Just being back amongst my people, man. I love touring and I love club gigs, but festivals are something different than that. The vibe, the love. We’re a little bit more acclimated so we don’t get too crazy with it. We’re just like, ‘Let’s go, let’s have fun.’ It’s good to see familiar faces. I see a ton of the homies. Festival season is dope though.

Fire From The God's AJ Channel Talks Perfect Day In Austin
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

I live in Cincinnati, so Sonic Temple is the place for me, being in that stadium. 

I just signed a band from Cincinnati. It’s a band called Young Mosh. Check it out, check it out.

What do you guys have in store for 2024?

We’re writing a new record. This is our fourth record. We got a ton of new music, but we haven’t put anything out. It’s always been ‘go go go go’ with Fire from the Gods. So, we’re like, ‘Let’s take a breather.’ We want to put out something that really, truly defines the band. We’ll just take our time with it and give it the best.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What can people look forward to hearing?

I think you’re gonna hear a bit of the old Fire from the Gods, a bit of the more aggro side of Fire from the Gods. But you’re also going to just get a band who’s really learned about who they are. It’s soul defining.

Fire From The God's AJ Channel Talks Perfect Day In Austin
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Tell me about Fire from the Gods hot sauce.

The sauce didn’t do as well as I thought it would. Actually, it did, because you’re asking about it. There are hardcore fans of this sauce. There’s a chef that I know back from Virginia, I lived in Virginia for years with a lot of Caribbean people there. This chef is big into sauces and his own recipes. We came up with these recipes where we wanted to source peppers and ingredients from the area of where they come from. 

I love hot sauce, I love food, I love Jamaican food, I love Caribbean food, I love spicy food. The problem with hot sauce is you get burned and you don’t get taste, you don’t get flavor. So, we wanted to make a flavorful sauce from the ingredients. We’ve got Catcha Fire Jamaican Hot Sauce, and then we’ve got Texas in July Hot Sauce, it’s hotter than Texas in July but it’s delicious, man.

Fire From The God's AJ Channel Talks Perfect Day In Austin
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What’s the best thing to put the hot sauce on?

Wings. But you can put it on anything. It’s like sriracha. I put it on a burrito. I love Cholula, but it’s like a Jamaican Cholula. It’s sick.

You’ve toured all over the world. Any hidden gems you would tell people to visit? 

We surprisingly had a blast in Poland. They’re into metal there. But I was like, ‘Are they really gonna f*ck with Fire from the Gods?’ But they loved us, dude. This is the home of Behemoth, you know? This is my sh*t. They loved us, man. We had a blast. Everywhere in Germany is so dope to play.

Were there any fun touristy things you could do on the road?

We’re a band. We do a lot of sightseeing, but we do a lot of sight drinking. What’s the best rock metal pub in your city? That’s where you’ll find Fire from the Gods. 

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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