Real Friends ‘move forward’ with documentary, new music

With its DIY attitude and nostalgic lyrics, Tinley Park-based quintet Real Friends straddles the line between the emo and pop-punk genres. The band’s new documentary, “Moving Forward,” premiered Feb. 19 in Orland Park and discusses its latest album, its growth, touring and what it is like to be in a band.

In 2008, Kyle Fasel (bass), Dave Knox (guitar), Dan Lambton (vocals), Eric Haines (guitar) and Brian Blake (drums) started Real Friends, a crossover pop-punk and emo band based out of Tinley Park, Illinois. 

The Midwestern quintet released its debut album, Maybe This Place Is The Same and We’re Just Changing, on July 22, 2014, through California-based label Fearless Records. The album snagged the No. 24 spot on the Billboard Top 200 chart and  uses nostalgia to portray growing up in its music and lyrics. 

Real Friends has become one of the most noted up-and-coming acts in its genre. The band’s DIY attitude has bolstered its fanbase worldwide and secured it spots on Warped Tour for the last two summers. Real Friends will be heading out on tour this spring to support alternative band The Maine and will be stopping at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn St., on April 24.

Between touring and writing new music, Real Friends has been working with the Creation Factory on a documentary called “Moving Forward,” which premiered on Feb. 19 in Orland Park and is now available on the band’s website.

The Chronicle talked with Fasel about the meaning behind Real Friends’ debut album name, how the band has changed since the album’s release and its new documentary “Moving Forward.” 

THE CHRONICLE: Your album has been out for seven months now. How does it feel to have it out?

KYLE FASEL: It feels good. I feel like when you have an album out for almost a year, you want to write another one so badly. We’re in that period right now. We’re happy with the response [we got from] the album. It’s just pushing us to start writing our next album, which we’ve been slowly working on. 

Why did you name the album Maybe This Place Is The Same and We’re Just Changing?

KF: It was originally just a lyric. That’s where all of our titles typically come from. We were dealing with leaving home and coming back, being pulled away from where we live and then getting on a plane and going to Europe and then getting in a van and driving all around the U.S. Then we come home, then something that’s weird about it is home never stops. Things do change at home and you change as well. It’s referring to coming back home and being different and having more experiences in life.

How have things changed for Real Friends since the album came out?

KF: I don’t think too much has changed. [The album has] helped us get a bigger fanbase, which is great. That’s what you always want albums to do. This was our first release on a record label. Before, we self-released all of our music, and I enjoyed doing that. But being backed by a record label does help keep you in line with little creative things like music videos.

How was recording your EPs different from recording your full album?

KF: We recorded them at the same place in Crown Point, Indiana, so that was similar. We did record [the album] differently. Typically when bands record, they record all the drums and then all guitars and then bass, but we actually recorded [the album] song by song. At least that’s how we did the music. We would do the drums for one song, then we would do the guitars, then the bass. The vocals came after everything was done. That was cool because you would find yourself taken into the one song that you were working on.

You released your documentary, “Moving Forward” on Feb. 19. How long did you work on the film?

KF: If you include all of the stuff that’s in it, some of the stuff is over a year old. Then some of the stuff is even as new as December. I’m looking forward [to finally having it out]. It gives more of a glimpse inside of how we work as a band. I feel like that’s what a lot of bands don’t show sometimes, like how they operate and how the band members feel about certain things. 

What exactly is the film “Moving Forward” about?

KF: The documentary has four main points. We talk about the growth of the band over the past couple years, our newest album that we just put out, touring and how we feel about doing what we do. It’s kind of like four main points scattered in there, and there are some extra things in there. We do a couple segments that show us doing things at home, giving a more personal side of the band. It’s an overview and it’s informative, and it was really fun for us to do.

Did you think it was necessary to record and document those changes in the band?

KF: From a fan standpoint and a personal standpoint, it was definitely necessary because it’s so easy to do what we do and not document any of it. It’s cool for me to have something like this to look back on and show—I don’t want to say my kids because I feel like I’ll never have kids—but to show my family and for my own memory. But from a fan standpoint, like I said before, it just shows the growth. I don’t think a fan gets the real inside look of a band if it’s not coming from the [members of the] band themselves. The people in the band can explain everything the best. You can only get so much from a written interview or even an interview where I’m sitting in front of a camera. It wasn’t 100 percent necessary but it’s something I think is very positive on all ends.

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