Music Spotlight: Waterfront Fire

Rising local rockers Waterfront Fire peel back the curtain and give readers an inside look into their mind-bending sophomore album, Stillwater Lake


Few bands have made as strong a first impression as St. John’s based rockers Waterfont Fire did with their 2015 debut, First Light. 

Described in their own words as future-classic-rock or theatrical rock, the band scooped up a MusicNL award for Alternative Recording of the Year in 2015 and Rising Star of the Year in 2016, earning a further five nominations, and an ECMA nomination in 2017.

Three years later, founding members Ben Thistle, guitar, and vocalist Jordan Coaker sit in The Herald offices. After a moment to reminisce about the whirlwind campaign between their first trip here in 2015 to now, the pair give readers a candid sneak peek into one of 2018s more anticipated releases.

Evolving As Songwriters 

“It’s kind of cool because I think we’ve totally evolved as songwriters from First Light,” shares powerhouse vocalist Jordan Coaker. “We started writing the second album as soon as we were done First Light. We spent so much time honing the craft and working with other musicians in other genres and learning how to write songs and tell stories. It’s just an evolution.”

The band shares that while First Light had shades of a concept record, with a particular linear theme throughout, Stillwater Lake expands upon those grand ideas, creating an almost cinematic and entirely epic listening experience.

First Light was an accidental concept album, this is an on-purpose concept album,” shares Coaker. “It’s the story of a guy who is in an old-school insane asylum, wondering why he’s there, and over the course of hallucinations and experiments with drugs, he comes out on the other side to discover that his girlfriend – the love of his life – had passed away, and it had drove him completely insane.” 

‘Represent a Struggle’

“Through the course of the album, our main character goes through these fantastical events that he can only describe verbally as they’re occurring to him,” Thistle explains. “It’s only at the end of the songs that he realizes that he was really in the institution this whole time.”

Songs like Ghost Town build on our protagonists mania. Set in the backdrop of a wild west shootout, the character soon realizes he cannot reach for his gun since his arms are pinned with restraints. His gunslinger scenario is nothing more than a delusion. It’s the stuff of a HBO limited series or big screen feature, but the band cautions that such an undertaking is done with the utmost respect.

“It’s something we all feel really strongly about, with this current state of the world,” Thistle says. “Mental health is something that needs to be looked at under a microscope, looked at through every facet of the world, and not be joked at. It needs to be really taken seriously, and this is kind of our take on that. We all have people in our lives who have been affected. Taking this standpoint, we didn’t want to take it lightly. We really did our due-diligence and really wanted to take our time with this and not have it misconstrued. We really wanted to represent a struggle.”

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