I Fight Dragons

by John Noyd
May 2009

I Fight Dragons

I Fight Dragons

Bratfest 2009, Saturday May 23rd - stage two, early afternoon; the six-headed monster that is I Fight Dragons grab their joysticks and commence to rock with old school video game samples, digitally modified vocals and fanboy fantasies of conquering worlds and getting all the girls. Smarmy and cynical, IFD’s boyish charms and killer riffs pick a part hearts and kick out the jams. “I just tried to keep the guiding principle that it had to be fun, joyous, and smart,” says lead vocalist Brian Mazzaferri. A glib, gleeful stew of polished geek-pop anthems, old school video gamer gambits and rockin’ smartass scholarship, IFD take their Super Mario soundbites, new wave power-ballad cravings and studio noodling to a whole other level.

A combination of trying something new and finding something old, Mazzarefi explains how this strange beast came to be. “I had recently split up with a band that wanted to go screamo and was trying to do the singer/songwriter thing,” Mazzaferri remembers. “I was listening to a lot of indie rock and, as cheesy as it sounds, trying to find the sound out there that really moved me. I started listening to lo-fi electro bands like DNTL and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone and electro-pop like Playradioplay!”

Mazzaferri recalls the specific event that sparked I Fight Dragons’ unique sound. “One day, I was doing a demo of “Heads Up, Hearts Down,” sitting in-studio with fellow IFD member Bill Prokopow when I had a random idea that I wanted the intro to be the chorus of the song as if it was coming from a Nintendo. I was so happy with the result that I showed everyone I knew and tried to see if anybody else had done something like it. That’s when I stumbled upon the chiptune scene and I was in heaven - people making music using the sound cards from old video-games? The music just made me so happy in every way, and I knew I wanted to be making it.”

Finding a bridge between his new musical discoveries and his old influences, Mazzaferri, who puts, “Fountains of Wayne at the top of the list for the past decade and others like Weezer not too far behind,” said, “it was basically just a matter of trying to meld the smart rock and songwriting that I loved with the chiptune stuff I was avidly learning about and diving into.” 

A visual as well as aural delight, IFD is assembled from musical friends united by a love for playing NES controllers and singing harmony alongside talking computers. “Bassist Hari Rao and guitarist Mike Mentzer were both in my band for my solo acoustic stuff,” Mazzaferri writes from his MySpace message center. “Laura Grene had sung in a show I wrote and I’ve wanted to work with multi-tasking wizard Bill Prokopow for years. Our drummer Dave Midell found us through friends.”

A rare combination of friends, talent, new ideas and time-tested formulas makes I Fight Dragons the only game in town.

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I Fight Dragons
CD: Cool Is Just A Number Record Label: Self Released
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