Chicago pop-punk band Real Friends is ready to rock Manhattan’s Irving Plaza on Sunday, Nov. 18.
“New Yorkers know what they want and they know how to have fun,” Kyle Fasel, bassist of Real Friends, said. “[New York is] always one of the best shows.”
The group, made up of Brian Blake, Kyle Fasel, Dave Knox, Dan Lambton and Eric Haines is touring in support of its third studio album “Composure,” released July 13. “Composure” is arguably the fivesome’s most emotionally mature content to date. A year and a half of writing and some hardships, including frontman Lambton’s struggle with bipolar disorder and substance abuse, led to the candid record.
Anecdotes on mental health and acceptance radiate through telling tracks “Smiling on the Surface” and “From the Outside.” In the latter, Lambton’s voice soars, “Redefine rock bottom with these empty orange bottles.”
With the help of producer Mike Green, who has worked with groups like All Time Low, Paramore and Five Seconds of Summer to name a few, they worked on the melodies from “the ground-floor up.” The result: seamless pop hooks.
“Everything came together in the studio,” Fasel said.
And it did. Every song on the 10-track album, from “Me First” to “Take a Hint” is sing-along ready. In comparison to past projects like “Maybe This Place Is the Same and We’re Just Changing” (2014) and “The Home Inside My Head” (2016), “Composure” feels consistent and optimistic.
“One thing on this record we focused more on than ever was the vocal melodies, catchiness, flow and overall memorability of it,” Fasel said. “We wanted people to hear a song, and have it get stuck in their head.”
Fasel’s favorite song, though he says it “changes by the week” is currently the title track — “Composure.” Marked by the unforgettable chorus “Lately, I’ll bend, smile, and pretend to be stable,” it’s hard not to imagine a triumphant crowd shouting it in unison.
“Each week the reaction gets better and better for it,” Fasel said.
Before the album-driven tour this fall, some lucky fans heard tracks from “Composure” during Real Friends’ set at the cross-country rock show, Warped Tour. Known as a springboard for once up and coming artists like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and blink-182, the annual tour came to an end after its 24th year in August 2018.
Warped Tour veterans Real Friends look back on the tour with a bittersweet lens.
“Change is good,” Fasel said. “Most bands playing [at Warped Tour] are touring throughout the year at venues, so it got hard to compete. But it’s definitely sad, it’s part of mine and my bandmates’ youth. We were really happy to be a part of it.”
For emerging artists looking for a springboard of their own, Fasel has some advice.
“Find like minded people with the same commitment level,” he said. “In some cases commitment is more important than musicianship. You can be decent and successful, if you have the drive.”
“Write songs you like — make sure you’d hear it and you’d enjoy it,” Fasel added.
The band is certainly enjoying itself and its latest record.
“It feels great to be playing songs from “Composure.” And on top of that, to have everyone singing along is unreal. We feel alive and well. Thank you,” the band wrote on its Instagram, on Nov. 6.
“Someone actually brought us those aprons as a gift and then we decided to use them for our Halloween costume. It worked out perfectly,” Fasel said.
The tour is set to extend through some holidays, something Fasel says the band is used to.
“We’ll probably go to a Chinese buffet on Thanksgiving,” Fasel said. “But we’ll be home for Christmas and New Years and all that!”
Tickets for Real Friends’ only New York show can be purchased here.