Mighty Big Fire
hasn’t been playing shows all that long, but the group is already bringing down the house. Literally.
“We were playing a show at this pizza place and, well, the ceiling fell,” lead singer J.T. Darling said.
Added guitarist Chris Feng, “It had been raining all day, and I was just standing in the corner waiting for us to go on. Then, all the ceiling tile caved in and landed all right beside me. Water everywhere.”
If you are wondering why the Edmond-based trio was playing at a pizzeria, it’s because some venues are reluctant to give the band a chance. Despite a tight sound and a clear knack for youthful indie-rock tunes, the members’ ages sometimes work against them. They formed when the three were high school freshman.
“There’s definitely an age factor,” Darling said. “That being said, we just found what we liked doing and stuck with it a little earlier than most.”
Added drummer Garrett Johnson, “We all started off in music activities in school: band, orchestra and choir. That really pushed us. It naturally branched off of that.”
Several friends thought the idea sounded good at the time, but as enthusiasm gave way to the realization of how much work playing in even a humble high school band demanded, one by one, they fell by the wayside.
There’s definitely an age factor.
“It used to be a seven-man band,” Darling said. “It’s just whittled down to the three of us.”
With dead weight shed, the committed core developed Mighty Big Fire’s sound, an unassuming and unpretentious brand of indie rock that acts as a dead ringer for the style of Tokyo Police Club and Born Ruffians. Sparse, but warm tracks like “Tulsa” and “Freezing to Death” play out as if they’ve been lifted from the soundtrack of the latest Michael Cera vehicle.
“I think we can really develop now, and do as much as we want and can do,” Feng said. “We also sound a lot better. There’s a lot more freedom as a three-piece.”
The future sees the band not only re-recording its early demos for release, but also its members graduating from high school.
They don’t plan on calling it quits upon commencement, either; each plans on sticking around in Oklahoma — from where their musical heroes, The Flaming Lips and The Non, both hail — and making the transition from high school garage group to college indie band.
“It’ll be more free,” Feng said.
“We’ll have the work from college, but we’ll have more time to find to practice and play shows. It won’t be near as stressful.”