Getting Real with Real Fake Doors
RFD talk their first year together and new EP
By: Hannah McDonald
You may have heard of Ballet Haus, Erie's music venue, and with that you may have caught wind of the local band who released their first EP during a show at the venue, March 30.
Real Fake Doors, the band in question are new on the scene — just celebrating their first year with the five current members — and are hot off the release of their first music video, which was directed by Alex Zarek who has done work with successful bands genre such as Belmont and Knuckle Puck.
The members of the pop-punk band Real Fake Doors were charming, enthusiastic and engaging when we sat down with them last week to discuss their growth and goals as a band, and get to know them a bit better as they make moves in the local scene.
Hannah McDonald: So you're newer to the scene and Erie might not know you that well yet ...could you state your name, what you do, and then what the first album you ever bought was.?
Zack Smith: Oh man...Well I'm Zack Smith I play bass and sing in Real Fake Doors. The first CD? Probably, if it were a CD, it probably Shenanigans by Green Day. I had all the cassette tapes of Dookie and Nimrod, and all of that, but heavy Green Day in my time.
Mark Gorski: I'm Mark Gorski and I'm the lead guitar. I think the first CD I ever got was Appetite for Destruction, Guns and Roses.
Jesse Pershun: Hi, I'm Jesse Pershun and I sing here at Real Fake Doors. Unfortunately, he took my answer, mine was Appetite for Destruction by Guns and Roses.
Chris Manly: Hi, I'm Chris. I play drums for Real Fake Doors and I'm pretty sure the first album I ever bought was Greatest Hits, Ozzy Osborne. One of the greatest hits.
Sean Stevenson: I'm Sean Stevenson, I play rhythm guitar, and the first album that I bought was Nevermind, Nirvana.
HM: So my second question was: Could you confirm that your name was a Rick and Morty reference? But then you've got the shirt.
JP: My favorite show of all time is Rick and Morty and when we came to naming [the band], we were just sitting in a room, we literally locked ourselves in a room for like two hours like, we just gotta pick a name. So, we're sitting there rambling stuff off and that part of the episode came up…. And at some point 'Real fake doors' came up. I'm not actually sure which one of us brought it up but it kinda stuck. We don't really follow the Rick and Morty scene with it, it's just a cool name that we got from it.
ZS: It's unique. People hear it and they're just like, 'What's that?'
HM: Can you tell me a little bit about how you all got involved with what is now Real Fake Doors as a band? Like how you met one another and started making music together?
SS: Well, I—I think it was the summer…
JP: [to Sean] this is a question for you.
SS: Yeah! It was the summer, I'd say of 2016, like fall. I had known Chris for all of high school, we had been jamming n' playing together since freshman year. But we were getting into college and we wanted to you know become a little bit more, like actually play out instead of basement and garage shows. So me and him put up an add on Facebook and a couple weeks went by. That's when Jesse saw the post, he messaged us and we all—the three of us—got together and we just started singing and playing and just hanging out. Then some time went by, we added a couple other guys. Then, they moved on with other things with their lives and that's when we met Zack, and then we eventually got Mark!
SS: And then, since about April of last year – when we got Mark – is when we started to move away from the cover scene and we started to kind of wanna focus on writing our own music, playing other shows besides just the local bar areas. And we just wanted to, you know, just kind of like this is us.
HM: What is the song writing process like for you guys as a band?
MG: Different every time. Kinda.
JP: Usually we'll sit and hum and work on riffs and we'll come up with some ideas and lyrics to it and we'll pitch it to the band. After we pitch it to the band, it's more of a group vote on if we like it, if it fits us, if it doesn't. And then from there we kind of all pitch in our own ideas to that.
MG: Yeah, I'd say the majority of the time it starts out where one person has this strong base idea. I mean, I know that Zack writes, he has a ton of songs that he writes. So, he'll come to us and be like, 'Alright. I have this cool idea.'And then Chris will kick it up on the drum beat.
CM: It's like kid of a jam shesh thing that we have.
MG: Sean finds a nice rhythm for it. I'll throw in a lead over top of it and then work on some lyrics and Jesse just makes...his own. So, it starts out with one person most of the time, then comes together as a whole group effort.
HM: When you say, 'make up his own,' do you mean like on stage? Do you adlib? Or just during the process?
MG: No, he gives, like, his own emotion to it.
JP: Let's say that Zack writes a song and he already has lyrics to it and they mean something to him. Then I try to feel what he's feeling when he writes that and give it that form of emotion with it when I sing it. He might have the words that he wants, but he may not know how they're supposed to go or which way he exactly wants it. And then I'll come in and be creative with what's given to me.
HM: Who has influenced you as a band; musically and professionally when you are out doing publicity things and what not?
JP: That's probably all over the place for all of us! We all come from very different taste of music.
ZS: Yeah, like all five of us are pretty much all over the spectrum with our taste of music.
HM: What taste do you come from?
ZS: I can rap, country, punk music, heavy metal. I pretty much listen to it all and I'm pretty sure a lot of us all kind of feel the same too. Now, that's a tough one.
MG: Like when people ask, 'Who do you think you sound like?'
JP: We don't have an answer. Like, yeah we do sound like Real Fake Doors.
SS: One thing that I can say like within bands that influence us around the city; My dad and Jesse's dad have been playing around the area for a good long time and they've both helped us—helped us as musicians, and as a whole band. They've gotten us shows when we first started out, given us tips and pointers, and that stuff. So those guys help, you know, kind of pave the way. And they, they still support us 100 percent of the time.
JP: Thanks Dad.
HM: What are some bands around the area that maybe you haven't played with but, or not even in the area. But, if you could pick any band to play with, what would be, like, your dream show?
JP: Can we answer this one at a time?
HM: You can sure, go ahead, of course!
JP: Mine's Badflower. I'm hooked on them right now! That new album came out and it was sick. It was, like a...I don't even know how to compare it to anything. But you can tell where their influences came from, but every song's different. I like that about them.
MG: I could play with one band? Fall Out Boy, man! Who doesn't love Fall Out Boy?
ZS: That's about where I'm at. I'd throw a Blink-182 in there real quick. That's probably what I'd choose.
CM: I've been on a Four Year Strong kick...so it's either them, Fall Out Boy, or Blink-182. That whole spectrum of bands.
SS: I'd definitely say, honestly, all four of them. The one band that's been one of my biggest and one of my favorites inspirations is the Foo Fighters. I've been a huge Dave Grohl fan and it's always been a dream to meet him and open for him.
HM: That's understandable. Since your first music video was released earlier in March, we've been wondering, what is about your upcoming EP? Can we expect anything from it? And what is the significance of (the title), 11th & State?
ZS: Our studio, a little down the way here, like a block, on 11th and State. It's just kind of a place where we could all get together, we could hang out. We write there. It's just kind of like that one place where we can just go there no matter what and just do this! And we felt for a starter EP of songs we wrote over the course of probably about a year, we just felt like that was a good way to introduce what we're about, what we're gonna sounds like. Kind of just our way to show everybody what this is kind of all about here for the future. But, it was perfect, the location was just right there. It sounds cool. We just felt that it was a nice way to get an introduction to Real Fake Doors.
JP: A very significant thing about 11th and State is that we used to practice in a couple different areas and it was hard to get stuff accomplished there because like, 'Okay, you can practice but you can only practice between the hours of 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.' So that's really hard to get anything done because by the time you're all tuned up and everything's good to go, you've got maybe 35 minutes before you've gotta shut down. So moving to this studio here at 11th and State really gave us the freedom to just go in whenever we wanted and work on whatever we wanted.
HM: What has the recording process been like for you guys while making that?
MG: It's been really cool.
JP: It's awesome!
MG: We'd never...Well okay, so we went through a couple roadblocks. We were trying to do it ourselves at first. That's when we realized, like, we don't know what we're doing. At all. We have no idea. So we got a hold of, I think Jesse…
JP: My buddy Zach Krahe he did wonders for us. He's phenomenal at what he does.
MG: Yeah he's really, he's like a super cool guy. He helped us through the whole process. And super patient with us! He's like, 'Yeah lets just do as many takes as we can and get this thing done.'
MG: So recording process was just watching him work with all that stuff.
ZS: He was able to kind of put what we all wanted of the songs and with this being kind of the first thing that we've ever done, we'd say, like, 'Aw, I kind of want it to be like this.' And everyone would kind of chime in and he would just say, 'Alright!' And just put it all together. He really made something special given our inexperience with making and recording music.
ZS: He definitely helped us out. It's pretty special.
JP: Every day we'd leave telling him he was a wizard.
HM: Can you tell us about the filming of your music video, "Falling?"
JP: It was cold!
MG: Yeah so Alex Zarek came in from, he's from the Chicago area.
JP: He's done a lot of good work with some pretty bigger bands in our genre...
MG: Yeah so we didn't really know. This is another thing! We'd never filmed a music video before. We had no idea what to expect, but again, he was just super cool and everything. He made us feel comfortable. So, it was basically get set up there, try to stay warm, move around as much as we could, just try to run through a couple takes and put as much emotion and energy into it as we could. It was definitely a fun time. We had to do a total of, what? Fourteen, fifteen takes?
MG: He's an amazing cinematographer. We don't really have enough good things to say about him!
JP: Shout out to Elvis for hooking us up with him!
ZS: He definitely carried a level of professionalism that we need to help carry out the idea of the single, the environment, everything. He just kind of pieced everything together. I thought it was a really cool first music video! It was something special. It was very nice.
HM: Are we going to have to wait until your next single for another music video or for a full-length album?
MG: To be determined.
JP: We'll get back to you on that one.
HM: Alright. So April is your anniversary, and when you guys began a year ago, where did you expect to be at this time now?
JP: Hmm..Jumping off rooftops in Vegas! Nah, I'm just kiddin'!
MG: Well, I went to high school with Chris and Sean and when they asked me to...originally Chris just asked me, like, 'Can you fill in for this show in two weeks? Here's 20 songs. I'm like yeah, I can do it, whatever. So I showed up and jammed with 'em one day and they're like, 'You wanna stick around?' and I'm like, 'Sure.'
MG: So at that point I thought, like, we were just gonna do cover shows at the local bars and stuff. So, if you had asked me then, I would say, 'Yeah we're a cover band and we go around and play rock bars." But, I would have never expected to be here like releasing an EP, putting out a music video and all that so it's definitely like a pleasant surprise I guess.
ZS: I think we—at least for me—I've been doing music (for) a very long time. I've always been writing songs on my own, I've been doing it since I was a little kid, and we've definitely exceeded anything...I definitely think we exceed our goals for the year!
MG: It's definitely cool looking back, like playing a show for what? Ten people? Including my mom and my sister… And then each show we progressively, selling more tickets, more people are coming to show, and now you look out 100 plus. It's...We're really just grateful to everyone that comes to the shows and everything. It's really cool.
CM: I know this is corny but it's like a dream come true.
HM: So do you have any predictions then for where you'll be at this time next year?
HM: Or where do you hope to be at this time next year? What do you want to be working on then?
MG: We hope to be? Maybe on the road!
JP: Yeah, probably on tour. That would be cool. That's something I know we're all looking forward to.
ZS: Working on some more developed, intricate music.
MG: Yeah expect more music for sure. Already, I mean we're all still writing stuff. I'm hoping to get in the studio sometime and record some new music as well.
Hannah can be reached at email@example.com.