Author: Julia Schwab
Photo courtesy of the band
Last Tuesday was definitely a unique experience when I saw an old favorite band of mine, I Set My Friends on Fire at Funhouse. I Set My Friends on Fire became wildly popular around 2008 when they became a MySpace sensation, and helped pave the way for a sound sometimes labeled “MySpace-core.” The band is currently finishing their ten-year tour of their debut album You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter. So, what happens ten years after becoming a scene culture sensation? I sat down with Nate Blasdell, Connor Mitchener, and Chris Thompson of I Set my Friends on Fire to learn more about what they have in store for the future.
Photo by Julia Schwab
Julia Schwab: Alright, so first off, how did you come up with your name way back when?
Nate Blasdell: I’m gonna be honest, we don’t really know the meaning. Matt’s the one that came up with it, and he claims that it just came up as a saying, but there’s an Aiden song called “I Set my Friends on Fire.” Aiden’s one of my favorite bands. Matt claims that it wasn’t named after the Aiden song, and I mean, I believe that I guess.
JS: What’s inspired you to keep touring all this time and especially do this ten-year tour?
NB: There were a lot of different variables. We love music. There’s a lot of life left in it, and I think it wasn’t left on a very good note beforehand for Matt. The industry is a pretty terrible place, especially when you’re a young kid, and I think Matt got really taken advantage of. Touring isn’t supposed to be the way it was for him before this, where everyone just takes your money and you’re pretty much just drained of everything. I think Matt stopped touring because of all those bad sides of it. It’s kind of like a relationship where your significant other turns out to be a sh**ty person. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date anyone else for the rest of your life. Chris, you got anything to add?
Chris Thompson: Not really. I think you hit the nail on the head on that one.
JS: What has been your favorite thing to play on the road on this tour?
NB: Oh yes, this is a good one here. The new Jake Miller album is pretty fire.
CT: We’ve been listening to a lot of Nickelback actually.
NB: A lot of Nickelback.
CT: Lots of dad rock. Puddle of Mudd, some Family Force 5, and Nate listens to a lot of Rihanna.
Connor Mitchener: Hector likes oldies and disco.
JS: Wow, you guys have a really diverse mix going on here.
CM: Matt’s always there in the back (of the van) bumping Trippie Redd. He used to like Fetty Wap a lot. We don’t let Matt have the aux cord, so he bought a Bluetooth speaker so he can listen to stuff in the back.
NB: Yeah, I think he does it to kind of rebel. I own this van so I make the van rules kind of. There aren’t very many besides like, common courtesy, but one of the van rules is that driver plays music. Essentially, I drive a lot so…
CM: I don’t think Matt has ever sat in that seat (points to driver’s seat). I don’t think he’s even sat in this one (passenger seat).
JS: Do you see any new music happening in the future or have some of you had other projects?
NB: Chris has a million f**king projects.
CT: I’m in like twelve bands. Me and Nate actually have a project that put out a Sam Smith cover like six months ago. It’s definitely different than this project…
JS: What’s the vibe of that project?
NB: It’s country pop. I’m like not even kidding. For ISMFOF, we definitely have new music on the way. It’s been a lot of battles through legal stuff with labels and everything. It kind of sucks because we don’t really want to be labeled as a nostalgia band, but that’s just kind of how stuff has fallen into place. Either you take the whip that you’ve got or you just don’t drive at all. We’ve seen a lot of people on this tour respond well to our new song and sing along to it every night, which gives us a lot of hope for the future that people will pick up on the new sh*t. It’s also hard since we all live in different states. We don’t even really talk much honestly.
CT: Eh, I talk to you. That’s about it.
NB: I think that’s a really cool aspect to have in this band though. We really don’t suffocate each other. It can be tough when you’re with the same people a ton. I think the only time I really care is like the end of tour when I’m like, “alright you motherf**kers I’m ready to not see you for like three months. It gives us a chance to do our own things and we’re still really close friends.
JS: When you see them again everything is probably exactly the same.
CT: It feels like we never left the van.
JS: Have you guys toured Seattle before? I’m assuming you have, but I’m not sure.
NT: Yeah, oh my god, why don’t we tell the story of what happened last time.
CT: Last time we played the big room (El Corazon). The sound was messed up all night with the opening bands and the sound guy was like blatantly not doing his job. He was sitting there with his girl literally flipping us off and blatantly f**king up our sound. We called him out on stage and we were like, “Everyone in Seattle I’m sorry you had to witness this performance. This was unacceptable.” So, after our set was over, the sound guy exchanged a few words with us…
NB: He literally said that if we learned how to actually play our instruments well it wouldn’t have sounded so bad.
CT: Security came and they were the most nice, calm people. The boss came up and apologized and literally fired him on the spot and told him to go home. This was right in front of the venue after so everyone outside like cheered and booed as he walked away.
NT: So yeah, that was the last time we played Seattle, but hopefully that won’t happen tonight.
JS: I hope so too! I hope that didn’t leave a bad impression of Seattle, and I’m excited to see your set!
JULIA SCHWAB | Buff Mario | KXSU Music Reporter