By Arne Sjostedt
One of Adelaide’s most exciting emerging bands Openfire. bring you their explosive new single Wonderland.
Wonderland is a fascinating track – within it, a question is posed to the listener: if you knew you could have it all, but that it would truly cost everything, would you still pay that price?
We catch up with Luka Sandeo from the band to find out more about them.
Who are you?
Luka Sandeo - vocals, keys, guitar
Harry Van DerLende - guitar, cello
Anthony Donato - bass, drums, keys, guitar, vocals
Rosh Ibrahim - keys, guitar, saxophone, vocals
How long have you known each other?
We all met at uni, so for around 2 -3 years now. Rosh and Anthony had known each other through school but really we all connected while starting our business degrees which is hilarious.
How did you come up with your name?
We spent a really long time trying to come up with something of significance, which took a while because for people who know us personally we all find it pretty hard to stay too serious about something for too long. We wanted something that encompassed our sparky, wild nature and at the same time felt like home. Family is really important for us so the fact that Openfire can be a bit of a war cry as well as a warm light to gather around is a cool representation of the two sides of the band.
How long have you been together for?
We started writing together late 2018 and haven’t stopped being each other's biggest fan since.
Can you profile your fan base?
At the moment people are still surprising us with who is responding to the song and our sound. So many people enjoy it for different reasons, and on the street, people who approach me will often be people I’d expect the least. So I’m sure that as the music change a people group might make themselves more apparent but for now we seem to just appeal to people looking for a good time and a good vibe.
Use three words to describe your sound.
Illustrative, Massive, atmospheric.
Talk about your non musical icons?
Look, it’s actually a really difficult question for me because even from a young age, I knew that I wanted to sing and so found myself admiring musicians, but I LOVE Stephen Fry, It might seem a little bit left of field but a friend many years ago a friend introduced me to Q.I and some of his writing and I loved it. Other than him, I would say all of my non-musical icons are people who are close to me in my own life. I have a mentor who I spend time with weekly, I love discussing life with him. My own mother has fought to keep both myself and my dream alive. For inspiration in a non musical sense I never looked too far beyond the capable, strong and wise people who are already in my life.
What about the musical ones?
You’ll get a hugely different answer from each of us from Prince to Led Zepplin, from Lauryn Hill to Frank Ocean, that’s kind of what makes this band really special. But if you were to ask me I’d say both Lady Gaga for the way she presents herself and how intentional she is in creating an experience for people to remember, she was the first show I ever went to and I remember thinking, “Oh I had no idea music could look like that”. Then Paramore for my songwriting, Hayley Williams seems to make a habit to write about what’s happening for the band or her journey through herself and doesn’t write often about love which is something that I valued a whole lot growing up. I think there's something really special about her writing, it carries a whole lot of authority and that’s something that I’ve really aspired to. Whenever I feel writers block I’ll watch or listen to one of them sometimes to break through that wall.
Do you write songs together or individually?
Our writing process is actually really easy! Because each of us is a producer to a degree, we can be very flexible when it comes to working with each other’s vision for the song. Often we will all be in the studio collaborating equally on the instrumental for the song and then we’ll set the vibe for the song, then the boys will trust me to write the lyrics.
What is the story behind your latest single?
The song actually came together after all of us leaving uni for the band, and also following a random obsession with a really spooky game based on Alice in Wonderland. I loved how morally ambiguous the character of the Cheshire Cat is in helping Alice navigate Wonderland and decided to draw upon that to open up a conversation with the band about what it might take and what we will risk in pursuing this dream.
Where do you see the band in five years?
The sky's the limit. This single is kind of a declaration from the band about our conviction in taking this as far as it will go, and the amount we’re willing to sacrifice to get there. We came this far two years from just meeting each other, I’m sure we’re going to take some really great steps and see great things. We definitely want festivals to be part of our life and playing overseas. Five years is a great amount of time if you’re focused and I don’t doubt we’ll see some of those dreams come to pass.
Tell us about your favourite live show moment
I think it had been only our second show, and we were playing at Rocket Rooftop opening for another band, so we weren’t expecting too much. We had decided to play our first single, 2AM, later in the set but when we did play it I could hear the crowd singing along despite having my in-ears in. The fact that people knew the words well enough to sing them and then for that many people to be singing along was a really surreal moment for me.
Where can people find out about you and keep in touch with what you are up to?