Getting Real with Kyle Fasel
By Mia MacGregor – (CitrusTV)
Real Friends is a pop punk band from Tinley Park, Illinois. Since the creation of the band in 2010, they have released seven EPs and three studio albums. The band is well known for their emotional and melancholic lyrics, as well as their symbolism of important topics such as sleep deprivation and weight loss.
Before their show on October 1st at The Lost Horizon in Syracuse Blair Seaman and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet with Kyle Fasel, the lead singer of Real Friends for an exclusive interview. When we arrived at the venue, we were greeted by the whole band hanging out next to their tour bus. They directed us to the end of the parking lot where we met Fasel and began our interview.
As our interview took place right before a performance, I thought it would be fitting to begin by asking Fasel if the band has any unique pre-show rituals or traditions that they practice before every performance. “Now after doing it [performing] for so long, everyone is trying to just chill out before the set,” Fasel said.
Although the band doesn’t have any crazy pre-show rituals in practice today, Fasel told us about how in his younger days, “it was just going go go go, and now as we get older, we definitely try to be calm before the set and focus,” Fasel continued, explaining that “Things are different now, there’s a lot of moving parts to the show. It’s not like when we were younger and could just get on stage and play. It’s more about just getting in the zone and focusing, which is important because it shows that you care and that you’re invested in giving everyone your best show.”
For a band that has been around for over a decade and transitioned through numerous different members, the inspiration for their band name “Real Friends” holds significance to the members. “We [the band] started in 2010, and prior to that we all knew each other from being in other bands, and we all wanted something [a name] that was a common term, and real friends is something that you hear people say a lot. I was honestly surprised that it wasn’t a band name yet,” Fasel said.
The band released their debut studio album Maybe This Place is the Same and Were Just Changing in 2014, which ranked at No. 24 on the Billboard 200 and is considered by many fans to be a defining moment in the band’s career. I asked Fasel how the success of this album changed the trajectory of the band, and if they felt as though this elevated them to a new level of fame. Fasel responded, saying that “the band was on Warped Tour the year that the album was released, and I remember thinking that we felt like we were a step up from where we were before. After the tour, we felt a change in fame from the number of people watching us, the amount of people buying merchandise, and the amount of messages we were getting online. We really felt it, and that record was a huge part of it.” Fasel continued by expressing how the band found it to be “really cool and rewarding to have such a big accomplishment like that, but it’s kind of tough now to reach something like that because physical music sales are so down. Now we try to not really pay attention to the numbers because I think it’s more about doing it for the people that care.” Fasel concluded by stating that “We were very proud of the album, and it was a really cool moment. The album was actually ranked number 24 and our guitar player Dave has the number 24 tattooed on his ankle because of it.”
For my final question, I wanted to learn more about Fasel’s past work in broadcast journalism, as prior to the start of the interview, he mentioned to me that he worked for his high school TV station doing similar work to what we do at CitrusTV. When asked about how his early career in broadcasting led him to where he is today, Fasel explained how “that work [broadcast journalism] was my passion when I was a teenager, and I actually went to the same high school as my dad and uncles, and one of my uncles did radio broadcasting, which inspired me to do the same in high school. I did it for all four years and I was very committed. I didn’t do it for a grade or anything, I was just really passionate about letting people know about different local bands and music. I was actually planning on going to school for it, but about a year after doing the show, I got really involved in making my own music and decided that I was going to be in a band.”
Fasel concluded by telling me how “it was really something that I look back on fondly, and it was a really cool way to look at music from the other side of things”. I found this to be extremely inspirational, as Fasel’s experience shows that there are different trajectories that can be taken when exploring your passions, and someone as successful as Fasel started from the same place as many aspiring journalists here at Syracuse University.