An Interview with Lounge on Fire
It’s an unseasonably warm January evening and downtown Boise is calm and quiet. On the lower level of the historic Alaska Building, twinkling lights and floor lamps illuminate a room brimming with instruments and equipment. Here, the seven artists of Lounge on Fire convene twice a week to kindle the energetic, sultry sound that the alternative rock band is rapidly becoming known for.
“We’ve been calling it sexadelic freak funk, but I don’t know if it’s really that anymore,” said Nathan Norton, frontman of Lounge on Fire. “Every time we get drunk we think of another genre of what we are, but it’s rock and roll when you get down to it,” added drummer Wade Ronsse. “We get paired with funk bands a lot, but we aim to be a rock and roll band. You just happen to be able to dance your ass off too.”
The powerful, funky tunes you’ve likely heard from Lounge on Fire are a collective representation of the band’s history – a history that dates back to 2013 with several different musicians and sounds.
The band began as a psychobilly band launched by Nathan and bassist Josh Gilmore after the duo met at an open mic night at The Red Room. More of a side project at the time, the pair would invite friends and acquaintances to an intermittent practice to join in. “One day our friend Landon showed up with a trumpet and started jamming over this thing we were doing,” Nathan recounted. “We were like, ‘Oh shit! This could totally be a funk band or something.’” This “oh shit” moment was when they saw a spark flicker that would soon ignite the band’s fiery, groove-infused, alt-rock music.
After several stints with brief band members, the crew settled into their current seven-man lineup with Nathan Norton on vocals, Josh Gilmore on bass, Wade Ronsse on drums, Alan Schwaderer on keys, Seth Hoffman on trumpet, Matt Patterson on sax, and Kevan Ash on trombone. Their debut album, Lips of Calypso is, as explained by Wade, “a representation of a lot of different musicians’ work. All those people [before the current seven] were making things that I was admiring as a fan before I actually joined the band. The stuff that’s coming was made more or less by the seven of us.”
That’s right – more stuff coming – and according to Nathan, the new material is different than what you’ve heard from Lounge on Fire in the past. “They’re weird. One of them is really weird,” he laughed. “We’re branching out and going a little more towards the rock and roll roots, but a little more on the psychedelic side for one of the songs. It’s a little out of our comfort zone… like we all piss our pants a little bit when we have to play it.”
This Saturday, Lounge on Fire will hold their second annual Winter Social at Neurolux accompanied by two stellar Boise bands, LED and Juice!. “We find that things tend to wind down in the winter. There’s not quite as much going on and people get antsy,” Nathan explained. “We thought, ‘Why not throw a big ass party, get everyone in the same room and just have a hunky dory time?’”
In addition to possibly witnessing the band piss their pants in unison, you just may hear a new song or two, you’ll probably dance your ass off, and you’ll definitely contribute to the band’s goal of giving back to the community.
Every fourth months, the band chooses a local organization to which they donate 25 percent of all merch revenue (made at shows and online) over that period of time. Through February, Lounge on Fire will be donating to the Women’s and Children’s Alliance. Previously, the band contributed funds to Boise Bicycle Project. Josh explained, “The basic idea is that we want to give back to the community. There are so many great organizations doing incredible things. We want to reach out and collaborate in a lot of different ways. This is just one of the ways we can make a direct impact in the community.”
You can follow Lounge on Fire on Facebook and Instagram, and check out Lounge on Fire’s music on Spotify, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, or better yet, come dance with them at their Winter Social this Saturday, Jan. 27, at Neurolux.