Interview: Paris Under Fire

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Paris Under Fire Is (Band Members & The Instruments They Play): Tessah Melamed – Vocals, Jorge Landauro – Bass,  Randy Adams – Drums.  Our guitarist Matt Flanagan recently left the band due to his increasing grad school schedule. We have been lucky enough to have our friends Mike Joffe and Tom Kunzman (from The Golden Age and 18th and Addison respectively) fill in while we search for a new guitarist(s).

We’re Based Out Of: Toms River NJ

We Formed In: Winter of 2013

The Story Behind Our Name: We took the phrase from a WWII documentary. It represents the destruction of something beautiful. It summarizes this band perfectly. We are all a bit weird, our music might not fit one genre or another, there’s a “you can’t quite place your finger on it” quality about this band. We are destructively beautiful.

You’ve Seen Us Before: (Other Bands the people the band play in/have played in) Randy was in Nemora and Drifter, which were heavier rock bands from Toms River. Tessah and Jorge were in a band called The Careless Kids, also from Toms River. Jorge is originally from Peru where he played in a few different bands as well.

Our Sound Has Been Likened To: This is always a hard question to answer. We’ve gotten all sorts of comparisons. We think someone even once said we reminded them of Heart. We definitely get compared to Paramore a lot, older Fall out boy; mainly pop punk/pop rock bands.

Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi
Photo Credit: Jeff Crespi

Earlier this year you were a part of the Jersey Rock Showcase & Band Search and you made it to the final where you performed on The Stone Pony stage. Can you talk about the experience of being a part of this contest? Also, on the night of the finals can you talk about the emotions you guys had going onstage? Was there a lot of nerves? Was there pressure to perform? Or was this another day at the office?

Being on the Jersey Rock Showcase was an amazing experience. It was the first time we heard our name and our songs on the radio. Nikki Black was so supportive of our band and we want to take this opportunity to thank her again for being so awesome to us. The night of the finals was a bit nerve wrecking. We drew to play last of the three bands so we had the pressure of closing out the show. We also only had one full rehearsals with Mike Joffe, who played guitar for us, but he nailed it. After the first song the crowd energy was so great that all nerves were gone and we just did our thing.

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Coming out that experience what did you take away from it – whether it be about the music scene or yourselves as a band?

Out of all the bands who submitted to the showcase, there were a bunch that were selected from Toms River. We have an awesome scene growing down there with bands like Prehistoric Forest (also finalists), Deff Ray, 18th and Addison, etc. It was great to see that two of the three bands in the finals were from Toms River. Hopefully more people will take notice and come out to more shows because there are so many more great talented bands like the ones mentioned before. As a band it really re-energized us completely. We were kind of on the fence after losing our guitarist but seeing everyone’s support and the messages from people about our music really helped us move on.

What do you love about being in Paris Under Fire?

Being in Paris Under Fire has given us a vessel to get all of our insecurities, fears, and anxieties out through our music. Having people come up to us after shows to tell us that our music and lyrics really mean something to them helps us find a level of connection through our similar imperfections. We’re starting to reach that point where we are comfortable in our own skin musically and it shows in this upcoming EP.

What’s your favorite moment being a part of this band?

It’s so hard to pin point one favorite moment. 2015 thus far has been full of them. Recently we got the opportunity to record for our upcoming EP at Water Music in Hoboken and it was amazing to be tracking in a room where so many great artists have tracked before us. From getting to the finals of the Jersey Rock Showcase to seeing our sticker on the bumper of someone’s car we don’t know; all of these moments are precious to us.

Photo Credit: Cool Dad Music
Photo Credit: Cool Dad Music

What’s the wildest concert experience you’ve had at a Paris Under Fire show?

We got the opportunity last summer to open for Fuel at the Headliner in Neptune. The place was packed with hundreds of people and it was awesome to see such a diverse crowd get so excited for our music. There was even a middle aged woman dancing on stage with Tessah. Our crowds are typically teenagers and such so it was definitely crazy to see that. There needs to be more of that at our shows.

There are countless bands performing in the Asbury Park scene right now — what separates you guys from everyone out there?

When you come to a Paris Under Fire show regardless of wether we play first, last, or somewhere in between on the bill, our goal is to be that band you talk about when it’s all over. Sometimes people underestimate female fronted bands, but from the first few bars of our opening song you know we’re loud, fast, aggressive, and in your face. Love us or hate us…you will remember Paris Under Fire.

If someone had never heard the band before what song would you recommend they check out in order to fully understand what Paris Under Fire is all about?

There’s a big difference from our first Ep, Sideshow and this new EP, Press Play To Self Destruct, which will be released in June. We’ve gotten much more personal both musically and lyrically. We would say the single “Hey Jenna”, which will be released towards the end of April, embodies what this band is all about. If we had to pick a song that is currently out for you to listen, check out “Best of Me” or “Shake Me Down, from our Sideshow EP.

Paris Under Fire performs at Happy Mondays with Airacuda and The Overgrowns.


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Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be six years old in 2015 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He can be read every Monday for the Happy Mondays Interview Series as well as his weekly reviews on Law & Order: SVU, Mad Men and Hannibal. His goal, once again, is to write 500 stories this year (a goal he accomplished in 2014). He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom
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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites