Indie Pop band New Friends takes us on a tour into their world. We explore their latest single, "Sad Sugar," their experiences at Fanshawe College, and their upcoming tour, offering a glimpse into the heart of the music that has caught our attention. With their tour just around the corner, mark your calendars so you don't miss out!
Could you provide us with more details about how you all met in college? Did your paths cross through a group project or any other particular circumstance that brought the members of "New Friends" together?
New Friends: It was all a snowball effect with how we met. It started with the first week of school, where we were asked to put down what instruments we played, unknowing that it would be used to create "bands" for a group assignment. Stefan has been put into his group as a vocalist, and his group had to be the first performance of the year. Ayden had just recently gone through a bad breakup and one night wrote a song called Purple Candy. He was always a songwriter looking for artists to work with, and when he noticed something special with the song he had just wrote, he wanted to record a demo of it but needed someone to sing. Up until that point, Stefan had been the only vocalist Ayden saw so he asked him to sing on the song. Sitting in lectures next to Cole, it was evident that Cole was a very passionate engineer with aspirations to produce, so naturally, Ayden asked Cole to record the song with him. Conrad was always off producing and eating up unused studio times from other students, and he became friends with all of the guys individually in the meantime. When it came time to make more music and start seeing if this band was capable of more than a dorm room group, we all got together and started working away at new material. Eventually, we started playing a few small shows here and there, and we noticed there was always this one kid who would be crowd-surfing and having the most energy in the front row. It was none other than Nico. So when our temporary live drummer moved, we knew who to reach out to. Since then, the five of us have been working hard on making New Friends bigger than just five friends from college.
What were your first impressions of each other?
New Friends: Our first impressions were all very strange and disjointed. We had no idea who each of us was. The only thing that brought us together was not who we are but what we do. This ended up being the biggest blessing because we constantly learn so much from each other due to the fact that we are all very different people.
Cole, when we all met, was shy, but you could tell that by breaking through the shell, he was your best friend. Ayden was always very headstrong. He had a clear vision on what he wanted. Stefan was a typical high-energy mid-20s guy. He was always good at whatever he picked up and just had one mission: to do something fun and exciting with his life.
Nico was always the life of the room, laughing and joking but also very, very passionate about the thing that brings him the most joy: drumming. Conrad was driven. He knew he wanted to make records and be on stage his whole life and was always trying to learn and understand how to achieve it.
How did your experience at Fanshawe College shape and influence your artistic journey and the music you create today?
New Friends: The professors and staff at the school helped us believe that our so-called "crazy dream" was not so crazy after all. They always, to this day, are our biggest supporters and consistently check in on us and are always there whenever we need to talk or just ask for advice. It is truly the greatest gift to this band.
Did you feel a lot of pressure with new releases after having that first viral success with "Purple Candy"?
New Friends: I think any artist would tell you that it's a blessing and a curse. I think most of the pressure we felt was that it was the band's first song. We had no identity yet. We haven't had any conversations yet about what it is we like and what we don't like. What we want to be and don't want to be. The pressure was immense following the song because we felt like we had years of catching up to do with only weeks to get it done. Now, we're hitting our stride and getting to the point where we're ready to keep challenging ourselves and making music that we love.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your new single, "Sad Sugar"? What led you to create this particular song?
New Friends: We made Sad Sugar with our good friend Derek Hoffman, who was a part of some of our favourite records, and we all bonded over our love for 90's alternative music, so when it came time to make Sad Sugar, we all knew we wanted to try and bring those influences into the track. The energy of the song is a nod and bow to the energy and demeanor of some of our favourite artists growing up. We also wanted something that we all would find fun to play live.
How do you hope your audience will connect with "Sad Sugar"? Is there a specific reaction or emotion you'd like them to experience when listening to the song?
New Friends: We want people to get a sense of nostalgia when they hear this song or see it live. It's meant to be screamed at the top of your lungs with friends.
Can you share with us how long the creative process took for "Sad Sugar"? From the initial concept to the final recording and production, how much time did it take to bring the song to life?
New Friends: This song went through so many stages. We really like to try out all options before sending off a song to master. The write and demo were the bones of the song and didn't change much in that regard. Production-wise, Derek really went all in and added/subtracted elements, trying to nail what it was we wanted. We went in and out for a few months of working on the song. Originally, it was going to be a part of our EP Camaro, but eventually, we decided it deserved its own time, separate from the EP and fresh for the summer.
If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be?
New Friends: As a collective, we would all probably say Coldplay, but for a more realistic goal right now, we would say coin. Their energy on stage matches ours perfectly, and on top of that, we all have been heavily influenced by their music.
With your upcoming "What Is Next Tour" starting in September, is there a particular song that you're most excited about performing on stage? Why?
New Friends: We have been working on so much music lately that we are so excited to try out live. Not only is it fun to play unreleased songs live, but it is also a great litmus test on what people engage with and what people don't.
I’m a concert enthusiast who loves tea and boybands. If I’m not at a concert I’m probably reading a book, fangirling, or jamming out to One Direction. I’m very passionate about music and love the way it brings people together. I love moments where friendships blossom over a mutual love for an artist. One of my favorite quotes is “Real bands save fans, real fans save bands.” Follow me on insta @lexi.vanderpool