Jay Moore grew up in Germany but moved to Shropshire following a change in his father’s work. He has lived in Oswestry for 12 years and has recently joined the town council.
His full-time job is a music teacher where he teaches the drums across five schools in the county and has a private studio at his home.
With more than 100 students, Jay has a busy lifestyle but makes time for his hobby – fire breathing.
Jay, 33, said: “My drums are my priority and I’m emotionally invested in my students as I've seen them develop.
“Some started with me when they were five or six years old and now they are in their mid-teens.
“Luckily, the town council is an evening thing so I can focus on that after work. It’s difficult to balance sometimes but drums and council are my main focus – then if I’ve got a weekend free, I will do fire breathing.”
He has always loved performing and left school early to form his band, Primal Statel. He played the drums – and then discovered fire breathing...
“I like performing and getting in front of crowds of people - I’ve been in a band, I play the drums, enjoy pro-wrestling and, of course, fire breathing.
“I think people enjoy watching me fire breathe as it has a wow factor – you always know you will get a reaction with it. I’ve done a little bit of fire eating as well but I’m not so keen on that.
“I also take part in a lot of events, such as Bonfire Night at The Townhouse. And for Halloween, people always want to include this. It’s a nice addition to an event, but not something I do the whole year.
“The most important thing is being safe and understanding how to work with the fire.
“It’s making sure every stage will be as safe as it can be. This is especially important when people want to try it out or at events when there is a lot happening around you.
“As you can imagine, the fuel tastes awful so I like to bring water with me and then brush my teeth afterwards.”
With the formal interview over, it was time to have a go.
Fire breathing amazes me. I’ve always wondered how performers actually do it.
Jay was all about safety first, which made me feel a lot more comfortable.
He presented the magic fire wand and soaked the wick with what he calls ‘Dragon Fuel’ – for safety reasons, with it being such a dangerous activity he makes sure children don’t know what substance is used.
The wick was soaked for around 10 minutes to make sure there were no air sockets or dry sections in the material.
The technique he uses is called ‘aerosoling’ when a balance is created with oxygen and fuel. I had to purse my lips and spray the Dragon Fuel in a very fine mist.
We used water first, so I could work on the technique before moving to fuel – and I discovered how difficult it was.
It’s not something you can just pick up and do straight away. A lot of hours of practising with water goes into getting the technique right before moving on to Dragon Fuel.
After several attempts taking water in my mouth and trying to aerosol but instead dribbling it down my face, I turned to the expert to see him in action.
Although Jay has been fire breathing for years, he has burnt himself plenty of times, so will take it step by step.
He takes in his surroundings to ensure it is safe. When performing, he will start with a little ‘poof’ to monitor the wind and then build up to the big fireballs at the end, as long as it is safe to do so.
The excitement of the crowd is something he loves and will play with the fire to please people watching.
When Jay creates fire in the air, he seemed to do it so effortlessly. Every bit of fire he breathed made a different shape – it was very exciting to watch.
Before spraying the Dragon Fuel, he would hold the fire wand at the point where he would like the fire to go and then, as he sprayed the mist, he would roll his body away from the flames to avoid the heat.
The Dragon Fuel was the worst part – it tasted horrible, a bit like how you’d imagine the taste of nail varnish or hairspray.
Jay always carries wet wipes with him to clear drops off his face after the act – it can cause ulcers and sores.
I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to breathe fire. Grasping the aerosoling technique isn’t easy – and although it does look amazing and an exciting activity to try, I felt much more comfortable just watching...