Starting a fire: Catching up with Fast Friends

Jul 6, 2016 at 11:25 am
Fast Friends

Influenced by pop-punk and emo, Fast Friends reflects the sense of kinship and good times that they deliver sonically — a sweet and, at times, nostalgic punk. Sitting with three of the four members, you feel a sense of welcome and ease. This is a band that’s a family, one with deep roots in the city.

Those roots manifest a little different for everyone.

“I bought the book ‘My Band Is Your Life,’” said guitarist/vocalist Paul Watkins. “Just reading about the ethics of it was influential. I was really into Rachel’s, even more than ‘The Shipping News.’ Eventually, I started playing shows.”

Guitarist/vocalist Graham Conroy had a comparable experience, one tempered by his relationship to his father.

“My dad has been in bands my whole life,” he said. “I was exposed to live music since a very early age. He’s introduced me to some really weird bands that I would never listen to. The first band I saw was Music for Nintendo at the Brycc House. It was my first experience without my dad.”

Those early forays into the punk scene started a fire. Watkins began teaching Conroy to play, and the rest came naturally.

“Our old drummer Cullen left a guitar in our basement in a weird tuning,” Conroy said. “I wrote the first riff of the first FF song, and it sounded really cool. I’ve been friends with Paul for eight years, so he was a logical partner in crime. He noted that our buddy Jake Snider was kind of down at the time, and needed a new music project to lift his spirits, and that was the first lineup of Fast Friends.”

No one feels entirely comfortable identifying the band as pop-punk or emo, if only as a reflection of the trap that labeling sets. Still, Watkins is quick to accept their responsibility to their audience at their shows, and to create a safe place at their shows. “Because we get lumped into pop punk and emo, there have been a lot of shows where there are a lot of creeper shows,” he said. “But in that wherever we’re playing, people should feel safe.”

The band has a lot on their plate in months to come. Watkins said of their impending release, “We decided to name it the Ignorance of Youth. I’ve grown up a lot over the couple of years. I miss that feeling. I was a little worried that people would take it in a crotchety way. We’re going to have a record out in mid-August. We’re going to have a music video out. So that should be cool.”

Fast Friends

Saturday, July 9

Poorcastle at Apocalypse Brew Works

1612 Mellwood Ave.

$5; 5:30 p.m.