Fire Follows is the musical project of Chris Watt, whose new music video, “Loaded Gun,” mirrors the outcome of his journey to hell and back.
In 2008, Watt fronted a band called Author, when he began having problems with his voice. After multiple examinations by specialists and doctors, the experts concluded he had a paralyzed vocal cord. For the next five years he was unable to speak or sing.
Rather than surrendering, Watt spent the time expanding and polishing his instrumental skills to include piano, drums, and guitar, while simultaneously learning the intricacies of audio engineering and production. Finally, after a series of vocal cord procedures, he recovered his voice.
Now Chris Watt is back, more confident, stronger, and ready confront life face-to-face. Still, his trek through purgatory wasn’t painless, which is why Tattoo sat down with him – to find out how his time in perdition affected him and his music.
How would you describe yourself?
I always refer to the music as Heavy Melodic Rock. It sort of rides the line between Metal/Modern Rock.
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
I’m gonna plead the 5th on this one.
What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
Right now … “Ashes” by Celine Dion. Probably do a metal cover of that one at some point.
Who is your favorite music artist?
I have four that I can’t pick from … In no particular order. Flaw, Trapt, Breaking Benjamin, and Shinedown.
How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?
My parents are both musical. Dad’s a drummer, Mom’s a singer/songwriter/pianist, so I was immersed in it pretty early on. I started recording/performing in high school, and everything’s just continued to evolve from there.
What musicians influenced you the most?
Chris Volz from Flaw from a lyrical/vocal standpoint, and Ben Burnley from Breaking Benjamin from an overall writing perspective. They have very distinct styles/formulas that I’ve always been inspired by.
How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?
In every way. I listen to select material from every genre, so I try to incorporate things I hear in Orchestral, Country, Hip Hop etc … basically anything I find super-compelling or unique I want to integrate into my material.
What kind of guitar do you play? And why?
ESP LTD EC-1000. The guys from Breaking Benjamin play them, and I figure they know what they’re doing, haha.
What’s the story behind the name Fire Follows?
It’s pretty crazy. So in addition to the music, I also own a small land clearing/logging company … google Tree Beavers. Over the last few years we’ve seen a number of massive Wildfires in Colorado, and a couple of the largest ones started very nearby a couple of our project sites. (It’s important to note that neither was on one of our sites, just to clear that up.) But … I was talking to my dad about how bizarre it was that these kept springing up near us, and I said, “It’s crazy, but it seems like wherever I go,” and without missing a beat he said, “Fire Follows.” I didn’t think much of it in the moment, but it came back to me a few weeks later and I knew that would ultimately be the artist name.
For a long time, you couldn’t sing or talk. How did you keep yourself from slipping into a deep depression?
I didn’t. I was as low as could possibly be for a long time. It was terrible. I just kept believing that one day it would come back as quickly as it disappeared. It didn’t quite work out that way, but regardless we got it working again.
Your debut EP is entitled If It’s War You Want. What is the title referring to?
One of the tracks off of the EP is titled “If It’s War You Want.” and the hook line of the chorus is “If It’s War You Want I’m In.” That’s what the album title is referring to. It’s basically a mindset or a call to action. Whatever the challenge, trial, adversity life has to offer … If It’s War You Want, I’m In. Just felt fitting for the debut release.
You’ve been through the crucible; still, you’re a survivor. Any regrets?
Yes and no. In one sense, I think the whole ordeal made me a much stronger overall musician and producer, and I would have never developed those skills had I not gone through this mess. I wouldn’t want to do it again, but in that sense it was worth it. I wish I would have connected with my vocal coach sooner. She’s brilliant, and is the reason I was able to get this thing working again.
You recently signed with Pavement Records. How did that come about?
I was introduced to Pavement through Scott Wilson (bassist in Saving Abel amongst many other things). Scott lives in Colorado, and owns Sunshine Studios (which everyone should check out if you have the chance). Anyway, I sent the EP over to Scott to get his thoughts and see if he had anyone in the industry he thought may be interested, and he immediately sent over to the guys at Pavement. They responded very quickly with interest, and within a few weeks we had the deal put together. We’re pretty early on in the process, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds.
What’s the story behind the title of your new music video, “Loaded Gun?”
It’s basically an auto-biography, haha. No, but seriously that song is for anyone who has walked through fire and feels like they’re finally coming out the other side. One of my favorite lines in that song is “These wounds they remind me, I’ve been to hell and back again, these scars don’t define me, but they will be with me til the end.” The things we endure will shape and mold us, but hopefully in the end it leaves us infinitely stronger than before. The last line of the chorus is “I’m a loaded gun, I’m a loaded gun, get out of my way.” Hopefully it’s pretty self-explanatory.
Will you be doing any touring?
That’s the ultimate goal. It’s a little tricky as a solo act, but I have a group of musicians I’ve been working with, and we will be ready as soon as the right opportunity presents itself.