Interview: Pop Rockers Friends At The Falls Talk Cinematic New Video Single ‘Sunkissed Dreamland’

Nearly a lifetime of friendship has strengthened the musical bond of Jake Stam and Matt Montgomery, the masterminds behind the band Friends at the Falls.

Together, the duo delivers 80s synth sounds intermingled in their indie pop that’s reminiscent of say The 1975. Their most recent EP, Be the Change, dropped last year, earning them an even larger following. With over 85,000 monthly Spotify listeners, the band is only gaining more traction. 

Their latest single, “Sunkissed Dreamland,” is a pedal to the metal indie pop jam, but it’s the cinematic thrill ride of a music video that really makes the song stand out. The high octane video features blood, motorcycles, a romantic chase, and a surprise ending. The upbeat tempo is juxtaposed with a message of relationship turmoil, and recognizing himself as the problem, Stam pleads to, “Save me from myself.”

The conflict is interrupted with flashes of joyful moments between the young couple, again juxtaposing their joy with the singer’s pain and frustration. With the threat of unresolved conflict, the singer expresses a return to the source and a regret for words left unsaid. Wishing he could go back to how things were before, the singer laments his inability to change. 

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We were able to chat with the band to learn more about their immersion in the music world, the music video, and much more.

So how/when did the two of you meet, and when did you start making music together? 

The two of us have been best friends since the first grade. We were each always involved with music our whole lives, messing around in cover bands in high school and things like that. Jake started getting more serious about songwriting entering college, but it wasn’t until about halfway through our college experience that we decided to come together and start releasing music seriously as a band.

And what prompted the move from NYC to LA?

A few things inspired the move, but I think initially we were just looking for a change of pace and to experience something new and exciting. We had been doing pretty well performing in the live music circuit in NYC, but we wanted to branch out to network and make connections on the West Coast.

So you’ve just released your new video single, “Sunkissed Dreamland.” What’s the inspiration and influence behind the song?

The song’s lyrics mainly touch on themes involving fear of commitment, lack of conviction, and a desire to be better. The song frequents the lyric, “It’s all there in front of me,” in an effort to display the character’s sense of caution. Musically, there is plenty of 80’s influence. The song mainly consists of lush synths accompanied by a tight beat. 

Can fans expect to see it on an upcoming EP or LP?

This is a great question, we’ve been actually discussing this quite a bit recently. The answer is maybe! It’s possible that “Sunkissed Dreamland” can lead off a new EP, but it’s also possible that it may just live as a stand-alone single. The reason being that a lot of the new music we’ve been writing has been going in a bit of a different direction, very rock-leaning. When we release a compilation, we always want the music to feel cohesive as a whole body of work, so we will have to wait and see. 

The music video for the single is pretty cinematic and dramatic as well. Can you talk about the vision behind it and how it correlates with the song? 

We worked closely with our friend and director Spencer Saltzman for the music video. The inception for the vision of the video came from the song’s lyric “Lost control doing 80 in a 35.” Without giving away too much of the video, we knew that we wanted to include that imagery and tie it into a romantic narrative. We’re very happy with how cinematic and dramatic the final product ended up being. Spencer and his team at Foreseen Media did a great job at bringing the music video to life. 

When writing new music, what is your biggest motivation, and what does the songwriting process typically look like for you?

Two questions that we always seem to come back to when writing is “Is this eternal?” and “Could this sound fill an arena?” We’ve gotten better at not comparing ourselves to other bands and to just do what feels right to us in the moment. We’re also good at seeing an idea through and not shutting it down until it’s fully flushed out. As far as how the songwriting process goes, it depends, but usually it starts with music and melodies. Lyrics are usually added later on once we have a clear idea of what we want to write about.

If you could open and tour with any present-day artist, who would it be and why?

The holy-grail answer would have to be some of our biggest influences, artists like The Killers, Coldplay, Walk The Moon, and The 1975. On a smaller scale (but still a very respectable size) are artists like COIN, The Band CAMINO or Bad Suns.

What does success mean to you as songwriters and musicians?

This is a tough question. There are so many metrics to consider – personal/creative fulfillment, audience size, financial freedom, & growth in general. We definitely feel it’s important to enjoy the process and not just think about the destination, this makes every milestone feel like a success no matter how big or small. We both share the mindset that we want to continually better ourselves, and to make the best music possible to share with others. As long as we continue to do that and see forward momentum, it’s just a game of patience and persistence.

What else might fans look forward to from the band this summer, and frankly, the rest of the year?

Fans may have seen our announcement, but Jake recently got a diagnosis from a vocal doctor who told him that his vocal cords are damaged and urged at least two months of vocal rest, as well as to hold off on performing any shows. It’s unfortunate, but could be much worse. Once Jake is back to full health, we hope to set up tour dates toward the end of the year. Until then, fans can expect us to continue releasing music steadily throughout the year!

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