Real Friends are a modern pop punk hallmark. Bursting onto the scene in a flurry of “sleepy eyes and bony knees”, the band have since become leaders of a scene hungry for honest voices and stories that detail the at times harsh realities of broken friendships and heartache.
Following 2016’s emo-leaning The Home Inside My Head, Composure is the band’s third full-length effort signifying the presence a newfound hope and spark for Real Friends. Growing up isn’t easy, but with Real Friends, a constant reminder that all will be okay has permeated their work.
Leaning into influences from the early 00s Drive-Thru records era of the scene – think The Starting Line and The Early November – Composure is Real Friends’ most concise, melodic and as the kids would say, “bop-laden” effort yet. On top of stories of mental health struggles and moving forward are tight instrumentals that conjure up feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality.
“I think by the time it comes for a third album like something has gotta change. You can’t keep doing the same thing and I think there has been a natural progression with Real Friends to get up to this point to where it’s not too drastic and were not giving a middle finger to anybody being like “fuck you”, were changing immediately like right now, I think it’s all been very intentional and gradual,” said frontman Dan Lambton.
“I know there were certain times on the record where we wanted to be a bit more melodically sensible and write a bit more poppier and there were times where we wanted to be a bit more aggressive.”
Composure was born out of the hardest times the band had ever endured. With Dan struggling with a Bipolar disorder diagnosis, the band cancelled tour plans to focus on health, almost leading to their break up. Lyrically, the album encompasses that feeling of uncertainty, ultimately providing a message of serenity in knowing the universal nature of the feeling.
“I think a common theme throughout the record is just uncertainty with where, how and why you fit in, where you fit in and generally questioning everything about yourself that got you to the point that you’re at now and whether or not that’s good or bad for you.
“I want people to know if they have to deal with these things, they’re not alone, and seeing these struggles for what they are. And I hope they can take some sort of comfort in knowing that other people deal with these things as well.”
But, I think a lot of it also has to do with how outside structures will affect us in the way we see ourselves and how inwardly and introspective manner versus how other people see us as well and how we handle these things and whether we let them to break us down or we allow them to help us continue forward.
I just want people to see that we are not invincible to the structures that everybody has to deal with, we constantly question ourselves. I want people to know if they have to deal with these things, they’re not alone, and seeing these struggles for what they are. And I hope they can take some sort of comfort in knowing that other people deal with these things as well.”
Whilst Lambton struggled with his recent diagnosis, the band and fans were a constant source of support.
“I was just unbearable to be around I was just too much, I was very stressful energy to have around it definitely took a toll on the dudes in the band and it really confused a lot of people that I was surrounding myself with just not necessarily knowing how to go about talking to me about this or how to handle it themselves.”
“Everybody that knew what was going on wanted the best for me and we recently got insurance through the band, and that has helped me a lot to see a therapist and a psych and going to an intensive outpatient group therapy program so I definitely had a lot of resources at my disposal to be able to better myself and learn how to deal with the certain episodes and factors of bipolar disorder and everything.”
“I was just unbearable to be around I was just too much, I was very stressful energy to have around it definitely took a toll on the dudes in the band”
Having featured on the Warped Tour 4 times since 2013, Lambton says it’s bittersweet to be performing on the last ever tour, bringing Composure to fans.
“It’s definitely is bittersweet and it’s very flattering that Kevin [Lyman] had asked us to be a part of it. I’ve personally been going to Warped Tour since 2006 and I’ve been every year since then except for last year I wasn’t able to make it unfortunately, but it’s awesome and I’ve seen so many of my favourite bands on Warped Tour, like Motion City Soundtrack, The Starting Line, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, Every Time I Die, like the list goes on.”