Coloured by brushstrokes of punk, pop and emo, Real Friends -(vocals), Kyle Fasel (bass), Dave Knox (guitar), Eric Haines (guitar), Brian Blake (drums) –have become a leading force in their genre. ‘Maybe This Place Is The Same… And I’m Just Changing’ (2014)and ‘The Home Inside My Head’ (2016) established the band a fiercely loyal legion of fans and enabled them to play sold out shows across the world. They also received Album Of The Year, Best Song accolades from the likes of Rock Sound, AP, Loudwire and Fuse.TV. With a discography of strong vinyl sales, 400’000 monthly listeners on Spotify and two Top #20 US Albums behind them.When approaching Composure, the band found themselves working harder than ever on what they wanted to say with this album. “We have never put this much time and effort into a record,” explains bassist, Kyle Fasel. “Composure is everything we’ve always come up short on. We focused more on melodies than ever before. We focused more on the overall emotional climate of each song than ever before. I truly think that every song on the record stands on its own. But when all the songs come together it creates our best effort to date.”
This is one hell of a great album. Songs that are about the important issues facing us today. Not as introspective as their previous songs but relatable and connectable songs. Damn good album. Music Injection Aus
Check out Composure here
Jen was lucky enough to have a chat with Real Friends today, there is their conversation.
Hi Dan, how are you?
I’m all right how you doing?
Great thanks, I was wondering have you guys recovered from Warped yet?
A little bit, my sleep schedule is all sorts of fucked up. Nothing but a trip to my psychiatrist and some melatonin won’t fix.
Yeah,I bet you were sad it was the last one ever?
Yeah, I won’t believe it until next year comes around, then I think I’ll be in a state of denial.
I had going to the US my bucket list to see what I guess I have to rub that out.
Oh yeah, shame about that.
So, congrats on such a great new album.
There is a certain maturity to Composure that I was thinking can only come with time and experience. Would you agree?
Yeah I think the thing with younger albums, it is that younger people are writing them and it doesn’t has that many life experiences to draw from so I think it just comes with getting older and having more things to draw from. Not that all younger bands write about break ups but stuff like that they don’t have the experiences to draw from.
Dan, you were bring treated in a outpatient group therapy program after the recording, has this now got you in a better headspace?
Yeah I mean it is a lot of back and forth. I need to say my psychiatrist again and adjust the medication, we did that twice on warped, once before warped and even two or three times before that, it is definitely a lot of trial and error to try and figure out the medication, there is a lot of trying to find that balance and I’m never necessarily always 100% but you know it is always an effort.
I admire you Dan, that you’re very open about your mental illness.
I think if more people were more open about their mental illness it would be a better world. It certainly is a lot better than it used to be.
I think especially in the last few years there has been a lot of strides made as far as people feeling more comfortable and being open with that.
Your press release states that you have moved away from pop punk, to a full-fledged pop-rock juggernaut band. Considering that you have always been identified as pop punk, (my fav genre btw) Was this your intention from the start of writing?
While I think the band is still in the Pop Punk genre to an extent and I think that we are slowly refining and changing things up a little bit here and there, I don’t think there’s being a too dramatic jump, one day we will be a completely different band from now but think it will be a gradual step that won’t be too alienating. But I consider us to be still in the realm of that genre. At this point.
Great I agree.
You spent more time working on each song and this is clearly shown. I found myself marvelling at the lyrics of the songs, the emotional state of each song is very clear. To me there seems to be only one introspective song which is my fav song ‘Smiling on the Surface’ for me is one of the best, can you take me through the writing of that song?
That one was one song that Kyle had wrote so I wouldn’t be the best as far as the lyrics go as Kyle and I split the album and that was one that he wrote. it would be a 3 handed information on that one. Kyle would give you a better perspective on that my apologies.
That is all right, would you like to choose a song that you wrote?
Well there is one ‘ From the Outside’ that I think that captures the similar headspace and I guess putting up front and being able to properly convey emotions where I feel like Kyles was more a kind of putting up with things as they were against order of and having this fake smile on and I feel that ‘ From the Outside’ is more not knowing how to necessarily convey that in the first place and not necessarily how to get any sort of emotion out there in a proper tone.
Your songs on this album do touch on real issues at the moment, including mental health, even at my age, listening to songs such as ‘Me First’ and Smiling on The Surface, just to mention a couple. Do you feel a sense of responsibility to your fans in this?
Not necessarily, because we try in some regards to have the music be a little more…. ah I can’t find the word… I mean we try sometimes to have it connectable and relatable and at the end of the day we touch on pretty specific stuff that more so pertains to us and I mean it is just a plus if people are able to get something out of it and feel like it’s helped them. And that is awesome but is more of a cathartic thing for us to be able to make sense of what’s going on around us and how to process that. I guess it’s more selfish in the long run for us to be able to have that outlet to interpret everything that we are dealing with then to aid others but if we end up doing that it is a bonus that people can take away things from the songs.
From the stats on Spotify and the many fan comments on facebook that are all positive. That is amazing as when it comes to social media people can be so cruel. Are the stats on Spotify or other platforms something that you keep track of as well as fan comments?
Sometimes yes and no, sometimes I feel that I’ve got too caught up with comments in the past both positive and negative and I feel like it has tried to put me in a weird headspace when it comes to writing. I mean I don’t wanna let down the people that connects to the music and really appreciate it and has said so many nice things. but then I don’t want to let the people who hate us and despise us and sometimes I feel like it is better for us to appreciate and acknowledge our own opinions about what we’re writing and how we are writing over that of other people whether they are positive or negative.
Great answer Dan.
Thanks, I mean it is very flattering to read what people have said so far and everyone being so nice and positive it has been awesome!
I read that you considered Mike Green to be a member of your band for this record. What was it like working with him so closely?
It was awesome! We never really had somebody that involved in the songs before, it was gradual steps that had to be made to get there because we always are very picky about. For instance we used to always bring our songs into the studio 100% finished and we never really tinkered with them after the fact or changed much around. the last record we did we dabbled a little in that, like doing preproduction and having the producer, Steve Evans, had a little bit of a hand in changing a couple of things here and there but nothing too drastic. With Mike we had a lot of instrumental music that we went into the studio and just got changed a whole hell of a lot. We just wanted to hear what he had to say and how he could former everything from what we had already written. He had changed things are and had a fresh ear and a fresh perspective on things that we might have heard a million times, trying to figure out and I think that really brought a fresh outside view, opinions and ideas that we would have never thought about. from being on the inside and so closely connected and tied to how everything was written. He took us out of our ways of how we had been before and helped us open up to other opinions and constructive criticism.
Here we ran out of time so I had to say goodbye.
I explained how much of an impact that they had on many teenagers that I know.
Dan thought that was pretty cool and thanked me.
If you are in the US check out Real Friends on this massive tour!