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Hell Fire's Jake Nunn: "We ended up in Tucson one time and played a little bar in a strip mall and noticed a dimly lit bar across from our hotel. We went in to find this weird bar who was run by this guy who called himself God…"

Interview with Jake Nunn from Hell Fire
by Brian Morton at 27 March 2019, 9:15 PM

Brian Morton had the pleasure of interviewing Jake Nunn, the vocalist of HELL FIRE, after recently reviewing their latest album “Mania”, which he found as absolutely phenomenal. On behalf of Metal Temple and myself I would like to thank Jake Nunn for this opportunity.

I mentioned a few bands that HELL FIRE reminded me of in the review such as SLAYER, IRON MAIDEN and ICED EARTH. What are some bands that have influenced you all?

You nailed it with those. A lot of NWOBHM bands, some thrash, black, and death metal mixed in too. Definitely The essentials, Maiden, Priest, Sabbath, but also bands like Angel Witch, Satan, Jaguar, Holocaust, even some Riot and Helloween. We grew up with classic thrash out here too in the Bay Area so that’s always going to be a part of us. Exodus, Testament, Sadus, all those guys. The Iced Earth one is funny too because when we were in high school, someone left a Burnt Offerings CD on a desk somewhere and I just started listening to it. I didn’t know a lot of singers besides thrash dudes so power metal was interesting, started singing along to that record and Blind Guardian on the walk to school. Also Thin Lizzy. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Thin Lizzy.

My favorite song was “Masochist”, what is the bands favorite song off the latest album?

Honestly I like them all for different reasons, but Masochist is certainly up there. We got a chance to push our boundaries a bit this time around, so songs like Mania, Isolator, Born to Burn, Transcending, those are exciting to me But I also have a lot of fun with styles we’ve always loved playing, stuff like Warpath, Lashing Out, On The Loose. If we don’t absolutely love a song we usually just scrap it, so I think you’d get a similar answer from all of us, we are indecisive.

Was I right in saying that you saved “Masochist” for last because it was so epic?

Funny you say that! We were torn on either that or Transcending Evil at the end, and we decided on Masochist. That was the first one written for the new album, a style that I really enjoyed and subject matter that I really connected with, so it seemed like a good option for the finale. That’s one of the songs with especially dark lyrical content, and I remember turning to the guys and asking if it was too much, they all said fuck no. So that was that.

Was there any song that was harder to write than another, or was it an even difficulty throughout?

Some of them came together really quickly and others were more of a process. There were songs that took a second to find their footing, but once they did we were all pretty excited with them. There was also a couple that we did not even see coming but were brought to a practice and just clicked. It was kind of funny in that way.

Did the whole band have a say in the writing process of the album, or is there one main person who makes the decisions?

Yes, everyone always has a huge say in what we do. The collaborative process is really part of what gives us an identity. It’s great. I’ve been in bands before where it’s all on me to write the material, and there was definitely still a good amount of songs on Mania that I just wrote in full and brought in, but there were always things that just came from fucking around in my living room or the practice space and jamming with everybody. Everybody has ideas they are excited about, even it’s just a single riff or a lyrical concept. It’s awesome. Isolator literally became a song because me and Mike are roommates and he heard me playing the riff through the wall and insisted we turn it into a song. I love that.

I know the band formed in 2010, but how long have each of you been playing your instruments / vocals?

I only joined Hell Fire in 2015, which was just as a singer. Added on guitar at the ended of 2016. I’ve been a guitar player since I was around 10, but started actually getting into it when I was in high school. Mike got a drumset in the basement around the same time. From what I heard from Tony and Herman, they start getting real into it as teenagers too. I only started singing because we were in a band in high school and when the singer left nobody wanted to do it. I just jumped into the role with a short straw scenario. I’m glad that there aren’t more videos of our shows around that time haha, I bet they were rough.

What was your favorite thing to take place during the recording process?

The recording process was hilarious. This was our second time recording with Tim Green our in Grass Valley, which is a fucking blast. You just bunk up at his house, get breakfast and maybe jump in the pool or the hot tub, and then record until you go braindead. There was a huge fire a little north of us in Redding, so some of us had hacking coughs and by midweek I was trying to hide from the goddamn smoke best I could. We finished the final tracking for the record, gang vocals for the song On The Loose, and not but a couple minutes later, the power went out. We all just immediately started laughing. We decided to go a town over to get dinner but it took forever to get there because a transformer had blown at the fair right up the street and everyone who was at the fair was flying out of there in a panic. One lane road traffic in pitch black until we finally got to a 24-hour taco place. We then came back and just drank on the back patio shooting the shit about bears, ghosts, and bands we loved all through the night. It was great.

Were there any songs that didn’t make the cut that you all might release at a later date?

Yeah, if something isn’t clicking we put it on hold. There were some that didn’t make Mania because they weren’t in the right spot yet, but we may get to them on the next one. Or not, we all have pretty gnarly A.D.D. so who knows.

What’s the bands favorite song to play live?

From the new record we’ve only introduced Mania, Warpath, and Isolator to the regular set, with On The Loose working its way in. Anyone of those are my favorite at the moment. I think the guys probably have a favorite out of the new ones to play live too… I can’t decide between those four… maybe Mania or Warpath for now.

Do you have any crazy tour stories?

A couple things come to mind. We ended up in Tucson one time and played a little bar in a strip mall and noticed a dimly lit bar across from our hotel. We went in to find this weird bar who was run by this guy who called himself God. He had a little bed in his office and an S&M chamber, plus memorabilia from movies he was a stunt driver in. Had pictures of him on set with Stallone, Schwarzenegger, even a few US presidents (said they were all friends of his haha). He was kind of like an extra pervy version of the Dos Equis guy. Stayed there and drank with him while he showed us all his raunchy photo albums of people he’d branded at the bar. We ended up at a weird karaoke bar in El Paso once, we drank tequila on this super mean guys tab (he insisted) and Mike and I shot three pointers at their basketball hoop while the rest of the guys sang showtunes and Zeppelin karaoke. Got lost in Vegas till 9 AM at one point, another time took a one shot delirious trip from Dallas to Long Beach through the desert. Took about 25 hours. We’re actually pretty mellow most the time.

If could pick one band to open up for who would it be?

Active? Tie between Maiden and Priest. Inactive, tie between Thin Lizzy and Death. My two favorite bands. I know Death and Hell Fire would be a weird matchup genre wise but it would probably make a cool flier.

Do you all already have an idea where your next album will go?

We do, we like to go somewhere a little different with every release so it will be fun. Already have a good start on the material and I’m really excited about it.

Finally, any tips for your fans out there that are trying to get a band started?

Practice and stay patient, stick with it. Making it over the initial trial period of a year or two is the toughest part, try not to get discouraged at how hard it is to be in a new band. Make sure you love it, because it can be a big investment sometimes with very little reward. But there is nothing like playing music, so just get out there! Stop being weird.

Thanks again for your time Jake and I hope this album is as successful as it should be! On behalf of Metal Temple and myself I would like to thank you for this opportunity

Thank you, and I appreciate you reaching out! Till next time. Take care of yourself, cheers! 



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