After Real Friends opened this weekend's Riot Fest in Toronto, we (me and Alex) had a chance to talk with Dan Lambton (vocals) and Kyle Fasel (bass) about the band's experiences on recent festivals, the forthcoming US headliner, the band's first full length and a few other things. Check it out below!
Steven: How does it feel to be a part of several large music festivals (like Warped and Riot Fest) in the past few months, and now Soundwave early next year?
Dan: It's really cool because we get to play with a lot of different bands, and it's really cool that it's possible because I feel like a lot of kids now are more open to different kinds of music. Even if they don't give a shit that we're playing or they don't like us, at least they'll sit through our set and be respectful. That's really all I can ask for. Otherwise, we get to play in front of kids we'd usually play for anyway.
Kyle: I think it really opens it up to kids that wouldn't come see just us if we were headlining in their area. Like Warped, for example, every kid that likes music is there. It's cool to play in front of those kids who maybe know one song, or don't know any, or haven't even heard of you. We had a lot of people come up to us and say "we never heard of you before and you're awesome!"
Dan: Some kids even said, "You're the first pop punk band I've ever listened to and seen," or "This is my first pop punk show." It's cool that – to some kids – we can be that introduction to a new genre. Sometimes it just takes that one band, and then you notice things that you liked about that one band, so you listen to others that you have missed. Then you're like, "Yo, this is actually really cool!"
Steven: You recently announced your first US headlining tour with a bunch of rad bands. Was this something that was in the making for a long time?
Dan: We knew we wanted to headline because we've done a lot of small tours – like two or three weeks at a time – in certain areas. For instance, maybe we'll hit the East Coast, or just go down to Florida and Texas. We never had a chance to do the whole US with just us. Every time we've done that was on Warped or the tour with Senses Fail.
Kyle: With those tours, we didn't get to play very long.
Dan: Yeah. We don't get to play as long, and we don't necessarily get to play for kids that want to see us or get to see us at a smaller show. I'm really excited to finally get to go over to California and finally play some really small clubs.
Steven: You also recently announced that your next release will be a full length. How has the writing process been going for that?
Dan: We just started. I haven't really been involved yet because it's just music right now. I come in when we need melodies for the vocals, but from what I've heard, I really like it and I think it's different.
Kyle: It's a lot more dynamic. We're trying to bring out the softer side of us as well as the more aggressive side of us – areas that we've never hit. I feel like we're always somewhere in the middle, and now we're trying to lower it and raise it in certain areas. I think you're going to hear the slowest songs we've ever written and a few of the most aggressive songs we've ever written.
Dan: The only thing that sucks about putting out the EPs like we have is that you can't necessarily show as much growth as you'd like to because everything is so close together; we just finish writing an EP then we immediately write some more music. It's going to be good because we've finally had a little bit of time to just chill. Now we're getting back into it.
Steven: Are you going to independently release it as well?
Dan: We are figuring something out.
Kyle: At this time, probably. If it makes sense, though, we might not.
Steven: Aside from Knuckle Puck – who you guys are obviously huge supporters of – are there a few up-and-coming bands from Illinois that you think deserve more recognition?
Dan: The drummer of Knuckle Puck also has another band called Droughts. They're an awesome band. There's also a kid that's playing bass for them (actually, all of these bands are going to be related to Knuckle Puck in some way *laughs*) named Ryan Rumchaks. He has more of an indie/solo thing where he plays everything. I just listened to it for the first time the other day and I think it's awesome.
Kyle: There's a band from northwest Indiana called Native. They're sort of within our area.
Dan: I'm also a really big fan of Into It. Over It., but I mean, he's already pretty well-established.
Steven: One thing I've noticed when I've seen you guys live a few times is you change the lyrics at the end of "Home for Fall" ("we could listen to American Football" changes to "we could listen to American Nightmare"). Is there any reasoning behind that?
Dan: One of our friends just randomly posted it on the Internet one time. We thought it would be hilarious to change it because you got the kids that know the words and sing "American Football," but then we sing "American Nightmare" just to mess with them.
Alex: What has been one of your proudest moments as a band?
Dan: We got to open a few shows of the Say It Like You Mean It 10-year anniversary tour for The Starting Line in December. They have been a band I've loved for a very long time, so that was one of the coolest things we've been able to do. We were added super last minute, but it was still awesome.
Kyle: That was really cool. Also, I think that exceeding everything we thought the band would be is awesome. When we started this band, we were just thinking, "Let's write some music and play some shows," and we never thought that it would be a full-time thing. We never thought we'd tour beyond a summer tour here and there. When we started touring full time and playing in front of kids that knew the music, it was just awesome – especially when it's in a place relatively far away like Toronto. That's something that we'll never get used to. When we're on stage, we're just smiling ear-to-ear because it's so awesome.
Alex: What's one of your biggest goals as a band?
Dan: It would be really cool if we could play all of Warped next year. Like Kyle said, though, I can't really have certain expectations because the band has already exceeded everything we thought we could do.
Kyle: Honestly, everything has exceeded our expectations, so from this day on, it's just extra for me. I never thought we'd be a full-time band and touring more often than we're home.
Dan: When we do our full US tour, we're trying to make it special. We're putting stuff together: acoustic sets before the shows, eating cookies with fans, taking requests for the acoustic set, etc. If you're paying this extra $10 to see us, we're going to make sure it's worth it. If you want to see old songs that we will never play live, we're going to play those songs for you. We want it to be more than just a headlining tour. Just the fact that people give a shit enough to care about the extra stuff is really cool.
Kyle: We've already exceeded our expectations, so we want to do the same thing for the kids. I want kids to come to a show and hangout with us and watch us play our acoustic set.
Dan: If you're buying a ticket, we're going to make it worth your while.
Alex: Awesome! Thanks so much for your time, guys!
Dan and Kyle: Don't worry about it. Thank you!