Bonfires’ Josh Diaz says, “If you want to create something surreal, then you have to live a surreal life.”

They say a band that works in the same job together stays together. Sound familiar? That’s because you probably read our article about –kids- (if you haven’t, shame on you), where half the band works at C&I studios. Funny thing is, all three members of The Bonfires work together at C&I studios, including Joshua Diaz and Josiah Sampson, who are also in the band –kids-. Small world, huh? To get the skinny on one of his bands, I sat down with Joshua Diaz who filled us in on living on a boat for six months, the story behind the Bonfires’s name, and watching his house sink (literally).

Natalya: What genre would you say your music is in/How would you describe your music style?

Joshua Diaz: Our music is compiled of all the songs that “didnt make the cut” for our personal bands. As song writers, most of our music starts as a simple acoustic progression and melody. So naturally, The Bonfires is easily considered a folk/acoustic group.

Do you have an EP? If so, what’s it called/when is it expected to be released? 

This project is unique in a few ways. First off, it started with 1 gig, simply because a client from our company needed an acoustic band to play a Christmas party. It paid well, so we decided to throw something together for it. We didn’t have a name or anything. Then one of the partygoers drunkenly walks up to us and says, “We named you…. You’re The Bonfires.” Since then we kept picking up more and more gigs, and soon realized that there’s a demand for this style of music in our town. Simply, nobody does it.

The only reason it ever started was cause we all work together for C&I Studios. We make music for film as our day jobs. That said, much of what we play, is just lengthier renditions of scores we’ve made for commercials, indie films, or our web show The Distance. Most of this music is created in and for our jobs. So much of it can be found in videos on the C&I website Also, we put out an EP through C&I studios titled “Valentines Day” which you can find on Itunes. Just search “Valentines Day C&I studios. It’s all just music by The Bonfires anyway. Since the release, we’ve decided to make the bonfires just another branch of what C&I wants to do to contribute to the culture of our local city Fort Lauderdale. We are one and the same; simply musicians and songwriters as our day jobs that want to share it in a live show once in a while too.

What influences do you have musically?

As a film composer, I love any music that gets the point across. Music is supposed to be art. Art is supposed to be a “voice” for an artist. A song is meant to say what your words can’t. So I am honestly inspired anytime I hear a song, and hear the songwriter’s heart in it.

What influences you to write music?

Feelings and experiences that can’t come out any other way. But on another note, much of our music was inspired by an image on a screen that we need to capture the feeling of for film. So every song started as an authentic feeling.

What are your short term goals as a musician?

The Bonfires is currently in the market to pick up a few residencies at local clubs, bars, restaurants etc. We simply want to contribute to the culture of our city, while putting a little rent money into our pockets. Not to mention, each show seems to promote our company C&I studios as well in some way or another.

 What are your long term goals?

Personally, I want to write songs for other artists. I have this giant library of songs I’ve written over the years that are looking for a permanent home with a performing artist that wants to make us some dough [laughs]. Actually, many of the Bonfires’s songs are for sale depending on what which performing artist wants them.

How do you juggle playing in two bands at once and work?

It’s easy to juggle these days. Music is coming at me from all directions, and in many different genres. It would honestly be harder to NOT play in multiple projects. I’ve always said that from the moment a song is first started, it has it’s own feeling, it’s own soul that’s trying to come out. Sometimes it’s just a really good R&B song or something, and I can’t justify butchering it into being an indie or folk song. However, it still needs to be played. So it just makes sense to start another project, or sell the song to someone else. But it’s always about the songs first and foremost. As an artist, it’s an injustice not to get them out into the world one way or another. And as for work, I’m finally in a place nowadays where I get to write music for my day job at C&I studios. So it’s kinda like hitting two birds with one stone. Just goes to show, if you sacrifice for long enough to do what you love, it WILL eventually start paying you. It’s just quite an endearing process.

When is your next gig?

Currently in the booking process. But you can be informed by all if our event invites by becoming a Facebook fan of our company C&I studios.

 What is your favorite song of yours and why?

My favorite song that I’ve written is played by in gigs by The Bonfires, but it was written for my personal band -kids-. The song is titled Sink or Swim. I started writing it in a houseboat I lived in. I bought the houseboat initially to live on and write music. I lived on it for 6 months, started the song, then went in tour, then got a call from one of my “neighbors” on a sailboat down the way saying that my houseboat had sunk. I left the tour immediately and took the next flight home to find the boat sitting on the ocean floor in coconut grove, in about 9′ of water; (so the roof was still dry.) I stayed with the boat all day watching my possessions floating around in saltwater and engine oil until the tide went down, and the captain chair just started to be above water. I sat there and then realized that my guitar had been dry since I stored it in the overhead storage. Determined to finish something I started, I grabbed the guitar, sat in that wet oily captain chair, and finished the song “Sink or Swim”. Unfortunately, this is not a Bonfires song. But you will hear it at any performance I do.

Since the houseboat tragedy, I’ve moved into a much sturdier sailboat where I continue to write all if my best music. If you want to create something surreal, then you have to live a surreal life.

To hear more from the Bonfires, listen to their music on the C&I website ( Also check them out on Itunes by searching “Valentines Day by C&I Studios.”




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