HollywoodPQ interview: The Fray at Montréal’s Métropolis.
HollywoodPQ met with the guys from the band The Fray right before their show at the Métropolis in Montréal. You’ll see, Isaac Slade (lead vocalist), Joe King (guitarist), Ben Wysocki (drummer), and Dave Welsh (lead guitarist), are REALLY funny and soooooo nice! We had a great time with them!
HollywoodPQ: The Fray became a worldwide phenomenon with both its first singles. How did you guys cope with such fast celebrity.
Isaac: I think the first two years were probably the hardest because everything after that was just adjusting to something we already knew. But before those first two singles, we had day jobs. We were working in coffee shops, and ice cream shops. Joe was working at an auto body shop, and we were just carpooling the shows. (Joe offers us a bottle of water) I don’t know if we coped very well. I don’t feel like I did.
HPQ: How is that?
Isaac: It felt like driving really fast on the highway, and you roll the window down and stick your head out. It’s like you can’t breathe. It felt like that for a while. But then I got used to it.
HPQ: The other thing that’s brought by this success is that, when you start at the top it’s a place that’s really hard to keep. How would you say you’ve changed between then and now, after four albums?
Joe: I think one of the things that I love most about where we’re at in the spectrum of what you call celebrity is that most people know our music instead of our personnalities. If we walk down the street no one’s gonna be « Oh my God! It’s blah blah blah from The Fray », but if they hear the song, they’ll know that. Honestly, I’d rather be that way because our lives are not constantly in front of cameras. It’s really about the music. Maybe it’s an advantage of being in a band as well. It’s not always that way but for the majority of bands, people want to know about the band and the history of the band, and the music. There is not much of gossip stuff. For us it’s been nice to be in the column of knowing our music.
HPQ: It probably had an influence on how you write music. You don’t have to worry about how the fans are going to react. Are you writing for them, considering them, or you’re just writing not worrying about what anybody thinks… Or both?
Ben: It’s a little of both. I think with all the success we had early in our career, we were given a large audience that we then felt kind of responsible for, you know. Kind of like we had to take care of them. We didn’t want to disappoint the fans or alienate them. I think in the creative process, it’s a fine line between considering the audience and not letting them sort of dictate your creative progression.
Isaac: Hmmm… (He approves)
HPQ: You guys have been featured on a lot of soundtracks. To us that means your music is able to communicate raw emotions and tells stories. Is it something you do consciously or does it just come that way.
Joe: It just kind of happened that way. Early on, we were kind of conflicted weather we should play our songs at all to T.V.
Isaac: Yeah, that’s right.
Joe: It started to shift right when our first record came out. Prior to that, no one would license songs to T.V. or shows. It was just considered like selling out. You could almost get backlash from it. And then incredible artists started doing it and then the business started to change where you just needed to get your music in front of people, somehow. It just happened that way. We’ve always written stories and very narrative songs. For some reason it works for the landscape of T.V. but we never really tried. It just happened.
Isaac: We should try that. We should just sit in front of T.V., the four of us, and be like « What is it? Drunk reality show… Ok! » (They laugh)
HPQ: It’s not your first time in Montréal. You guys get to hang around a little. What are your favorite places in Montréal?
Isaac: We’ve been here a couple times, right?
(Joe looks at his phone) HPQ: You took notes!
Joe: Today… I don’t know how to pronounce this… It’s my favorite croissant I’ve ever had!
(Joe shows us the picture he took from the bakery) HPQ: Boulangerie Mr. Pinchot.
Joe: What’s the neighbourhood? Mont-Royal? Yeah, in that neighbourhood. I just loved that neighbourhood.
HPQ: A lot of artists say that the fans here in Quebec are really special and passionate. Do you feel that way? Have you had any special experiences?
Isaac: I had three people come up to me in the street screaming in French. (Everybody is laughing) I figured out they were asking for pictures, but I didn’t know at first, and I was very confused. So I spoke English to them and they didn’t understand that. So we just took pictures. They kept screaming. A man and two women…
HPQ: The man was screaming too?!
Isaac: The man was screaming louder than the women, yeah. (Laughs) We took pictures, and then they were all just like (he imitates French accent… sounds gibberish). And I was like « Okay! ».
Dave: Are you sure they didn’t just want five bucks?
Isaac: Yeah, I paid them…
Joe: I had a similar experience. I had three women yell at me but I was riding a bike down the wrong road.
HPQ: Because you were you or because you were down the wrong road?
Joe: No, just because I was riding down the wrong… I thought it was me at first, I went « Hey! Thank you! Oh shit! »
Isaac: « Always great to be recognized for my… Waaah! »
(Everybody’s laughing again)
HPQ: If you had to describe Helios (The Fray‘s latest album) in one sentence or less, what would it be?
Isaac: Dave‘s the most concise one, I think he should probably do that one.
HPQ: No pressure!
Dave: One sentence… Or less! Like half a sentence?
(A couple seconds go by. Isaac is whistling)
Joe: A complete sentence would be great!
Isaac: Hold on, just give him time. He just needs a second…
Dave: Move on to the next question. I’ll have it done…
HPQ: If someone has never heard of The Fray before, what would be the best song on Helios to get discovered? What song would you suggest?
Ben: Hummm… Nice… Keep on Wanting?
Joe: That’s what I was gonna say, actually.
Ben: I think it’s a good representation of the old and the new Fray. It has its elements of what we’ve done in the past.
Isaac: That’s really cool.
HPQ: The Helios Tour is taking place until October 2014. You’re going to Europe soon. What’s next for you guys after the tour? Because you released two album really close in time, are you going to take some time off?
Isaac: I think we probably will take a minute to breathe. We always write so we’re always gonna be writing and stuff, but I bet the next time we take a break it’ll be a good one.
HPQ: (To Dave) So, do you have a sentence?
Dave: Yeah! Helios is a lot like a calculator with a piano and a couple diamonds.
(Isaac explodes with laughter)
HPQ: That is the best way to close an interview!
Here is their latest video, Break Your Plans..
Photos by Karine Paradis