By Anthony J. Machcinski
What a difference a year makes. A little over a year after I Am Fighting took the stage at Bamboozle Festival at the New Meadowlands Sports Complex, the band will return to the Bamboozle Festival debuting a new EP, “Not Afraid.”
“This time, we went for the complete opposite (of last year’s upbeat CD),” said I Am Fighting lead vocalist Joe Gehrmann. Those words can never ring truer.
In their first album, “All The Ways We Can,” Gehrmann and bandmates Dan Tretola, Dom Gaglio, and Joe Hughes created an album that was very upbeat and powerful, from the first track “Ghost” all the way through the last song “Noah.” With “Not Afraid,” the band turned in a different direction for the songs on this album.
“They’re very dark,” said Gehrmann. “The songs are so different in this CD.”
I Am Fighting achieved this “darker” sound by using lower notes. In the song, “John Francis,” the band starts out with the piano playing of Gehrmann and continues the darker theme with a slow bass drum beat in the background. While the band strayed from the upbeat feeling of its first album, I Am Fighting still manages to keep its power through Gehrmann’s voice, which jumps off the track and grabs your ear.
In a 2011 interview with The Observer, Gehrmann described his music as: “emotional, powerful, beautiful and dark pop.”
Following this trend, the song “Falling in Circles” has a different feel than the other songs on the record. While still retaining its power and emotion, “Falling in Circles” is the one song on the record that is a ray of sunshine through a much darker album.
With these new songs in tow, I Am Fighting will play the Bamboozle Festival in Asbury Park after winning a contest at the Stone Pony in April.
“It’s more exciting this year because we get to play at it and we don’t have to deal with all the stress of competing against other bands,” Gehrmann explained. Last year, I Am Fighting was placed in a multi-round competition for a spot in last year’s Bamboozle lineup, losing in the final round of the contest.This year, the contest was downsized to one day, giving the band more time to focus on its act for the actual show instead of the contest.
Asked to measure the impact of the Bamboozle Festival on the band, Gehrmann said:
“It allows you to get a taste of the dream that you’re going for. … When you play these giant festivals, it allows you to just play. When you play smaller shows, we do very well, but you’re scraping the surface to try and fill a venue. When you play the festivals, you get to play on an incredible stage with the best sound system that the state can offer and it allows us to play for the largest crowd we can possibly play for.”
Still, Gehrmann allowed that, “smaller venues (make it) easier to connect to the crowd.”
With the new EP under its belt, I Am Fighting will play at Bamboozle on May 20 in Asbury Park before coming to Maxwell’s in Hoboken on June 23.
To learn more about the band, check out its website at iamfighting.com and to buy its new EP, “Not Afraid” or its previous album, “All The Ways We Can,” search I Am Fighting on iTunes.