Q&A with Friday On Elm Street

Midnight Fun, the new album from Friday On Elm Street is the perfect combination of horror themes such as aliens, zombies and other monsters with fun loving pop-punk. With Midnight Fun out now, we had a chat with Friday On Elm Street about the new album, the music scene in Washington, and much more. Check out the full interview and Friday On Elm Street's lyric video for The Walking Dead inspired track, "Dear Beth" below.

Interview by Shannon Shumaker

Can you tell us a little bit about Friday On Elm Street, for any readers who may not be familiar?

Friday on Elm Street sounds similar to All Time Low and New Found Glory, but that’s where the similarities end.  From there, Friday on Elm Street fuses horror, sci-fi and pop culture inspirations into the mix, creating a new branch for the pop-punk genre.  A horror pop-punk or horror pop if you will.  The band blends upbeat energy, memorable hooks and an attitude of pop-punk with imagery more aligned to Hollywood’s horror genre.  Merging the two it created a sugary pop-punk band riddled with monsters, aliens and more.  The bright and upbeat feeling from the bands music translates over into the bands image.  It incorporates typical horror movie personalities, but with a more fun and playful tone.  The band isn’t all about zombies and pop culture though, it also touches upon more grounded and relatable subjects such as love, heartache and family issues as well.  FOES is a band that is approachable in many different aspects. 

You just released your new album, Midnight Fun! Can you tell us a little bit about the album or the story behind it?

It is a love letter to the pop-punk genre and the horror community.  I started watching the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street series when I was about seven.  My father and I would stay up all night sometimes watching the series all the way through.  I really latched onto the horror genre.  As I grew older, I enjoyed older horror movies before CGI became commonplace in movies.  I love practical effects, and it’s unfortunate you don’t see practical effects as much anymore in movies.  This is why Friday on Elm Street’s mascot, Hercules, our skeleton dog shown on the album cover, is a practical effect, it’s an affirmation to my love for practical effects.  I like how practical effects can make anything in your wildest dream come to realization.  That’s so awesome to me. 

I got into the punk/pop-punk scene when I was around twelve, and I was hooked immediately.  I loved the energy and messages the songs portrayed, and now I feel it’s my turn to have my ideas and voice be heard so I can become part of the pop punk community. For a portion of the album it’s simply normal day-to-day type songs, things we can all relate to such as family issues, falling in love, etc.  The other half of the album introduces the concept of having fantasy themes, such as having a girlfriend that’s a vampire, having a babysitter that protects people from the boogeyman, and a fun zombie song full of reference to zombie/creatures movies.  I want to show kids that not only can FOES be there for times when you’re in love or having family issues, but I can also present anything can be made fun and take you away from your troubles, even if it’s only for a few minutes.  FOES’s album and band itself has an underlying message, let your imagination run wild and embrace whatever you think is cool, and don’t worry what others think.  Which ties back into the punk rock mindset?  As I said before, it’s a love letter to the pop-punk genre and the horror community.  It’s a voice.

What does Midnight Fun mean to you?

“Midnight Fun” is one of the first songs I wrote and have always held onto.  Now a handful of years later it has made its way onto the album.  Midnight Fun is a reminder of where I came from and to never forget. 

Were there any goals you wanted to be able to accomplish with these songs or any messages that you wanted to convey to listeners?

There are a few underlying messages within FOES.  The first one would be emphasizing individuality, embracing who you are and what you like, not caring what others say.  In this instance, if you like monsters then don’t be afraid to show it and just pity those who aren’t strong enough to express themselves.  FOES also promotes creativity and fun, the aspect of showing the horror genre in a more playful manner is a good example of those two underlying messages. 

The first single you released from the album was “Dear Beth.” Can you tell us a little bit about this song? What made it a stand out?

I’m a fan of the AMC series, “The Walking Dead” and I liked the character Bethe Greene.  I thought it’d be fun to write a song that was a gesture to the series and would allow me to get to geek out a little bit, showing how much I enjoy the show.  I still wanted the song to be an accessible love song to anybody not familiar with the series, you can relate to its love theme even without knowing the character or reference.  So it’s a love song with a secret wink and nod for people in the know.  Dear Beth’s always garnered positive reactions and people recall it easily, so when it came time to decide on which song to use as a single I went off feedback, I let the people decide! 

Being based out of Washington, how do you feel that your local music scene has helped or shaped you?

The local music scene is small, there are not many punk type bands here to put shows together with and there aren’t many venues to play at either.  Spokane lost most of its venues within the last year or two, now the last couple standing venues focus primarily on metal and hard rock. It has made it considerably harder to get a punk band going.  It’s only made me put more time and effort into the band to get it recognized outside of Spokane.

What’s the best part about your local scene?

I’m not sure.  That’s a good question.  I live in a small city located in the Inland Northwest, and I’m still trying to figure out what’s good about Spokane, Wa.  I prefer the excitement and what big city living has to offer, along with more opportunities.

On the flip side, what would you like to be able to change or bring to the scene that maybe other bands aren’t doing?

I see a lot of local bands that act incredibly serious.  As if they don’t want to smile on stage or express any signs of enjoyment.  I don’t get that.  I bring a more playful and energetic value to the stage with Friday on Elm Street.  I like to bring character and personality to the forefront; I believe a stage is to be owned and to light it up, Friday on Elm Street does exactly that. 

Now that Midnight Fun is out, do you have any other big plans for 2015?

There are a few ideas for a comic book.  It’s still early in the process but if it can be done it’ll be really exciting.  It’ll expand upon the Friday on Elm Street world, establishing characters and taking the fans on comic adventures as well.  We’re also looking into a tour.  We’re going to be busy. 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you so much for the opportunity!  I would like to thank the fans the “Elm Street Kids” as well, and for all news related to FOES, you can check out, www.FridayOnElmStreet.com.

STAY CONNECTED WITH FRIDAY ON ELM STREET: Facebook | Website | Instagram | Twitter

Q&A with Steven Roth

Q&A with Arms For Elephants