Chicago pop punkers Real Friends are just about to release their new album The Home Inside My Head. The album exceeds all expectations and whilst it’s only May it’s fast becoming one of our favourite albums of 2016. We caught up with the bands drummer Brian Blake to learn more about the new album and find out when they might be back in Australia.

SCENEzine
Firstly how’s 2016 been for you far?

Brian Blake
It’s been amazing we kind of wrapped up 2015 with a ton of touring. Going into the new year we started our recording process. We also did our $5 tour to help promote the new album and have also had a good chuck of time off. It’s probably the longest break we’ve had in the last couple of years. I think everybody’s been using the time to recharge our batteries a little.

SCENEzine
I’ve been lucky enough to hear the new album The Home Inside My Head and had it on repeat since I got it. You must be stoked with how it turned out. Can you describe the feeling you have before the world gets to hear it?

Brian Blake
It’s funny you say that. Firstly thank you I’m glad you’re digging it because that’s probably the biggest concern. You finish recording a record that you are so proud of and stoked on and then it’s like ok now we have to wait 3 months and wonder if people are going to like it or not. I’m super proud of everything that we did I really think it is the next big evolution of our band.

I don’t think we took things too far from one side or the other. It feels like this is the band that we are meant to be. That’s how I would describe the feeling of finishing up the record.
Now it’s just like well I really hope people like it once we put it out there. So far the feedback from singles has been pretty awesome so that gives me high hopes.

 

SCENEzine
What does the album title The Home Inside My Head mean to you?

Brian Blake
The 2 main themes of the album are maturing and growing up and also life not turning out the way you pictured it in your head. The other theme is people in your life turning out to be different than you imagined them when you were a kid. So the home inside my head is this idea of the picture of what I thought my life should be. Like what is the reality and what is my life situation.
You have to have this meeting in the middle where you can have these dreams and aspirations and then you’ve got reality to deal with. You need to allow both of those things to work together to be happy with the way your life turns out.

SCENEzine
Real Friends cover art has always been quite artistic as apposed to other pop punk style bands that might be more teenage themed. Has this been a plan all along?

Brian Blake
I wouldn’t say that’s been the plan it’s just who we are. We’ve always tried to stay away from poppy goofy fun silly stuff. Not that we have any issue with it. That’s definitely who we are outside of the band and as far as our personalities go we are very much like that. But when it comes to the band we all take more of an artistic approach versus doing something that might be seen as silly or poppy.

Real Friends Album

SCENEzine
Were there many songs that didn’t make it on the album?

Brian Blake
Actually we ended up using every single song that we wrote. There were a few that got started and didn’t really go anywhere. So we’ve got 12 songs on the record and I think we will have a few extra tracks that we will do something cool with down the line. Everything that we wrote and recorded will be used in one way or another for something.

SCENEzine
You recently put out a video for “Mess” with footage from the $5 tour. Do you have a particular highlight from those shows?

Brian Blake
The whole tour in general was so cool it really was amazing because it was getting back to our roots. the shows that are depicted in the video those are the shows that we grew up going to.
Those are the kind of shows that made us want to be in a band and play shows. We didn’t start playing shows because we thought we’d play in 1500 or 2000 capacity venues. We started playing shows because we just wanted to play in someone’s garage or a music store to 100 kids. That video is kind of cool because it goes in chronological order of where the shows were throughout the tour. All of those shows were amazing and really unique. We did a skate shop, music store,wrestling ring we went all over the place. The crowds were all different but really cool and that’s why we did it because every show was like a different unique experience for everyone that was there.

SCENEzine
After listening to the album my favourite song is “Scared to be alone”. Can you tell us a bit about that song?

Brian Blake
That’s awesome that you like song because that is one of my favourites and I think probably the whole band agree. Which is why it was the second single released. It’s a little bit different and I think to me it’s more of a straight forward rock Jimmy Eat World vibe going. Which is a huge influence to us as a band. I think that song specifically shows a little bit more of a mature side or slowly changing side to the band. I don’t think that it’s necessarily a good or bad thing. It’s more of us showcasing what we can do as a band and it’s ok for us to write a song that’s a little bit more of a straight forward rock song as apposed to stereotypical pop punk.

SCENEzine
What was it like growing up in Chicago? Over in Australia we hear of so many awesome punk rock bands coming from there like Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Fall Out Boy is there something special about Chicago that produces so many good bands?

Brian Blake
You know it’s funny that you say that because for a really long time the Chicago music scene kind of hit a rut. There was all of these incredible band that came out of Chicago in the 90’s and early 2000’s and the bands you listed in the mid 2000’s. Then for years there was just nothing. I would say from probably 2008 until 2013 there just was nothing happening in Chicago and no bands coming out of Chicago. So it was kind of a special thing for us that people gave a shit about the first EP’s that we released. It was like no bands are doing anything and here we were releasing an EP and shortly afterwards touring. Not only touring but doing it full time and getting recognised. I think Chicago’s music scene is on the rise again but there is a lot of bands that came out of Chicago that I absolutely love and really admire. I hope that we can eventually be one of those bands that is known as part of the Chicago music scene legacy.

SCENEzine
Speaking of Chicago we caught you guys playing at Riot Fest last year with a huge crowd. Is that a bit of a career highlight so far?

Brian Blake
Oh yeah totally. I mean to be able to play Riot Fest was so cool. We got to play to a really big crowd in our hometown so for a lot of people who had heard us before but never seen us that hopefully got them interested. We had so much fun at that show it was just a really good positive vibe the whole time. I would say for sure that’s a highlight of mine personally.

Real Friends drummer Brian Blake At riot Fest

SCENEzine
It’s not long until you head out on the Warped Tour. What’s the big difference for you guys this time around?

Brian Blake
The main difference is that this time around we are going to be playing on the main stage. Which is incredible but it is also a little bit nerve racking to be grouped in with some of those main stage bands is a lot of pressure. It’s a pretty big deal I think. We are super excited about it and on top of that there’s going to be a ton of friends bands playing that we can hang out with and be around so that should be cool.

SCENEzine
It’s seems like pop punk in general is making a comeback. Especially with Blink 182 bringing out a new album. What do you think of “Bored to death”?

Brian Blake
I really, really dig it. It’s different but not too different. It’s hard to say because they have been a band that I have really liked for a very, very long time. To hear them come out with new music you have to stop yourself from comparing it to this record or that record. You just have to take is as this is the new song and the circumstances are different having Matt Skiba in there. On it’s own as a stand alone song it’s cool. I really, really dig super old Blink 182 but that’s just me. If I’m not comparing to the first couple of records I dig it.

SCENEzine
Is Travis a reason you play drums?

Brian Blake
I think he’s a really good drummer and definitely is cool to watch play. But growing up I wouldn’t say that he was one of my drum idols or anything like that.

SCENEzine
So your influences started a lot younger with more rock style music?

Brian Blake
Yeah my dad got me into a lot of classic rock at a pretty young age. I grew up listening to a lot of the Who, Led Zeppelin, Styx and Fleetwood Mac stuff like that. So I kind of leaned towards those bands growing up. As I got older I got pretty involved in the hardcore and metal scene before drifting back into the punk and pop punk kind of scene.

SCENEzine
I guess you’ve got Warped Tour taking up a fair bit of your time but have you guys talked about when you might get back down to Australia?

Brian Blake
We have and I was probably trying to hold back grinning from ear to ear because Australia is the coolest fucking place on the planet. I think we are hoping for early 2017 that’s still up in the air but I am really hoping that can happen. By that point if we are able to come over there it will have been a year and half since the last time we came through there. So I think we will be long overdue for another visit.

SCENEzine
Do you have a favourite Australian memory?

Brian Blake
Probably the Soundwave festival when we first came over. Just that whole thing was insane because we were a relatively new band. To be in the same room as all of these crazy huge bands was pretty surreal. That’s definitely something that I have not gotten over. It was pretty amazing.

SCENEzine
One of my all time favourite Real Friends songs is “Summer”. With songs like that are they about actual personal experiences or observations?

Brian Blake
It’s all different and I’m not going to know as much as Kyle or Dan could tell you as far as lyrics go. But I would say that 90% of our songs are based around actual events that have happened in their lives.

SCENEzine
How do you feel about Real Friends sometimes being labelled as emo revivalists?

Brian Blake
I don’t view us that way specifically I guess maybe lyrically a little bit. But on the new record I guess we have more emo sounding songs. When I hear people comparing us to this emo wave that’s kind of happening right now I view us more as a pop punk band with a bit of emo influence but not necessarily a emo band.

SCENEzine
One thing I’ve noticed with Real Friends is your all so grounded and down to earth. You must of come across some bands with ego’s in your time. How have you stayed so approachable despite all the success?

Brian Blake
That’s something that I think all of us in a way pride ourselves on. Being just normal people. I think that a lot of people and people in bands will tell you there’s nothing more unpleasant than having to be around somebody who for one reason or another acts like they are better than you. Or has some sort of ego or attitude. I think our music scene is pretty good with that.
People in our scene are pretty down to earth and laid back. There’s no specific reason we are just all on same page not wanting to have any bullshit. We don’t have anything to prove to anybody so why not just be ourselves.

SCENEzine
Can you leave us a last message for your Australian fans?

Brian Blake
I can not wait until we get to come back. Thank you to everyone in Australia who has ever shown us support whether its downloading our music or coming to shows. Make sure you buy lots and lots of copies of the new record so that it seems like you guys want us to come back. Then we can trick everyone into having us fly out there again (laughs).

(interview by Christian Ross)

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