Real Friends

"When you’re younger, you have a picture perfect vision in your head about the future,” says Kyle. "As I grow older, I find that not to be true. I dug so much deeper lyrically this time around. I found inspiration through my family. My parents turned out to be a little different than I had imagined when I was a kid. There are several mentions of that. It’s really about the battles in my head every day and worrying about how others feel around me a little too much. Regardless of any sad and negative events in my life that fueled lyrics, they all turn to positives when they give me something to write about. It’s an outlet for me.”

Colored by brushstrokes of punk, pop, and emo, this outlet is a big reason why the group became one of 2014’s biggest breakout acts following the release of their debut, Maybe This Place Is the Same and We’re Just Changing. It bowed at #24 on the Billboard Top 200, moving over 10,300 copies first-week and garnered a nomination for "Album of the Year” at the inaugural "Alternative Press Music Awards,” while "I Don’t Love You Anymore” vied for Best Song and Kyle received a nod for "Best Bassist.” Rock Sound pegged it at #10 on their "Top 50 Albums of the Year,” and Alternative Press named "Loose Ends” one of "The 18 Best sing along moments of 2014.” Moreover, it attracted praise from Fuse TV, Ultimate Guitar, and more as the band embarked on the Vans Warped Tour and numerous headline runs. Along the way, they collectively focused on what would become their next offering.

In late 2015, the boys treaded new territory once more by recording in California for the first time. Tapping the talents of two producers, they cut three songs with Mike Green [Pierce The Veil, All Time Low] and nine with Steve Evetts [The Wonder Years, Dillinger Escape Plan] in Huntington Beach. As they expanded the sonic palette, the lyrical vision also grew. Another first, Dan would split writing duties with Kyle, penning lyrics to four songs. The first single "Colder Quicker” highlights Dan’s perspective. Driven by a kinetic riff, rhythmic shuffle, and spirited hook, it sees the frontman ponder death.

 

"It’s a different kind of ballad,” explains Kyle. "It blends a lot of past vibes into one song. The beginning is a timeline of my life. I mention one of my earliest memories lying on my front lawn hanging out. There are mentions of singing songs and hitting all the wrong notes when I sang in my high school band. Then, there’s my graduation. It’s growing up. I’m admitting I’m over this stuff from the past. The song defines the place we’re at.” Most importantly, it becomes what Kyle dubs as "therapy.” It’s a safe haven to deal with stress, anxiety, thinking too much, and worrying about everything around you. It’s a chance to be free from that. It’s something everybody can identify with.

"No matter what the subject is, there’s always emotion in our songs,” Dan leaves off. "I just hope people can connect to it.”

"For our fans, the main message is to relate to the music and get something out of it,” agrees Kyle. "When we started the band, that was the coolest thing—seeing how people react. Anytime we get a letter from a fan, a drawing, or anything like that, it’s the best feeling in the world. That means it’s connecting.”