Interview With Simple Plan - 2nd May 2012
Photo Of Simple PlanBen caught up with Chuck and Sebastien from Simple Plan in Manchester to talk about being back in the UK, their current album 'Get Your Heart On', plans for the future and much more.

Firstly, how does it feel to be back in the UK?
Sébastien Lefebvre (Guitar): It feels like this band has a really good relationship with the fans here. We’ve never really been played much on the TV or the radio, but all these shows are sold out. There are mosh pits, crowd surfers – there’s always a lot of energy. It’s always a good time.

Chuck Comeau: It’s really cool. We’ve been coming here since 2002 now, it’s a place we know really well, we have lots of friends here. London’s always an awesome city and the rest of the country is really cool. We feel really relaxed here, it feels like home.

You played at Groezrock this weekend, how was it?
Sébastien: It was a lot of fun!

Chuck: Yeah, it was a really good show. We were a bit nervous about being the most pop band over the two days, but it was good, everyone was going crazy. It was good to run into some old, old friends from back in the days of our old band. We’ve played shows with MXPX, so seeing those guys was a lot of fun. It was cool to watch them and get the chance to catch up. We’ve been pretty much playing music with those guys for fifteen/sixteen years now, so it was cool to chat.

Sébastien: It was a cool festival, the crowd was awesome and the festival itself was really well organised. It’s always a treat for us to watch really awesome bands, it almost breaks the routine. We played just before Refused, but we also go to see Thrice and Zebrahead – it was nice to run into those guys (Zebrahead) because the last full European tour was with them. We got to play with them in Zurich the day before. It was really cool to see them because they’re really sweet, good people.

You’ve been a band for over a decade now, did you ever expect it to last this long and that you’d still be traveling all over the world?
Sébastien: That’s probably the most amazing thing. I think you always hope it’ll happen, but often that’s not the case. I think as a band we’ve been to forty five different countries now. For me, that’s record breaking. I never thought we’d get to do that.

Chuck: I think we’re going to add some more this year, every time we get to play a new place it’s a real accomplishment. Every year we stick together, every album we put out, it’s almost like a sweet revenge to everyone who ever said we’d only be around for one song and then we’d be gone. It’s almost like proving them wrong, and that’s exciting! It keeps getting more fun, with the last record we were a little jaded, we’d toured non-stop for three albums, so with this one we kind of took stock of where we’re at and realized how lucky and privileged we are. You hear every day about bands that are breaking up, there are loads of bands that we came up with, or after us that were set to be the “next big thing”, whether they fall apart, fight or put out a record that doesn’t do anything, you look back and it makes you appreciate what you have so much more. It makes you more grateful and it makes you more hungry to make better records and keep going because technically we should be done, we should be forming a new band, or getting a new job or something. But we’re still doing it and we’re getting bigger than ever. We’re breaking all our own records. It’s amazing, things are looking up and it’s fucking awesome!

As well as being a band for this long, you’ve managed to avoid any line-up changes, something that’s unusual, how have you managed to do this?
Sébastien: It’s extremely unsual, I think it’s more of a case that we all have the same goals for this band, so whenever there’s a problem we never let it get in the way. We solve our problems as they come and then we move on.

Chuck: I think we’re lucky that we have smart guys in the band. We all realise that the band itself is more important than any one individual in it, I think that’s a key factor. I think it means a lot more to the fans too. I think the music is important to them, it almost feels like you have a responsibility to them. There are people all over the world that want more songs and more Simple Plan shows, that’s why we want to keep this band together.

Sébastien: Actually, I just met this girl outside who said, “I don’t know what to say to you other than thank you”, and I know what she means, I said the same thing back to her.

Chuck: It’s a mutual feeling, I think they feel happy that we’re around and we’re happy that they’re still around.

Talking of fans, do you still see the same familiar faces at your shows, or do you keep noticing more and more new ones?
Sébastien: There’s both actually, especially in Europe, because the cities are so close together that a lot of fans witll come to three or four shows in a row, so we start to recognize them. Every night we ask fans if they’ve ever seen us before and a lot haven’t, so it’s a mix of old and new. We have a lot of fans from the first record, but the ones that have gotten into us from the new one have gone back and listened to older stuff, so it’s pretty cool.

You’ve brought We The Kings with you for this tour, they’re a relatively new band flying the flag for pop-punk, how do you think things have changed since you were starting out?
Chuck: I think it’s changed a lot. I think it’s changed in some good ways and some bad ways. I think it’s probably easier to get your music out there than it was, even to record music, it’s all become a bit more accessible. However, I’m not sure it’s going to be easy for all these young bands to reach a certain level. It’s hard to get people’s attention now because there’s so much music out there. There’s not one place where people get their information, whether it be news, advice or new music, it’s so scattered. It’s going to be hard for a young band to come out and be the new Green Day, Blink 182 or even Simple Plan. The attention is so divided. But at the same time, it doesn’t matter where you’re from anymore, what label you’re signed to or whatever, as long as you can get the music out there, it’s a lot faster. Sometimes it’s maybe too fast, maybe bands get a big buzz too quick and they’re not ready for it. Like, they haven’t toured, they haven’t paid their dues and they don’t appreciate it.

You released your record Get Your Heart On! last year, were you happy with the way it was taken?
Sébastien: Absolutely. It’s quite a feat that on our fourth album we still manage to get new fans and get the old fans to like it too. Being on the road and playing these songs, we love it just as much as they do. We worked really hard on it, we wrote probably around sixty or seventy songs and we picked our favourites and put them on the album. We’re extremely proud of where we are now and we’re extremely happy with the way the record was received.

You’re such a busy touring band, how does this effect the logistics when it comes to writing a new record?
Sébastien: We kind of have to stop touring to write music.

Chuck: Yeah, we don’t really write when we’re on the road.

Sébastien: When we’re traveling we’re pretty tired, so it’s not always the best time to write, but we love to write, so we make of point of saying, “right, we’ll finish the tour, play wherever people want to see us and then we’ll write some new songs”.

So have you had chance to take some time out to write recently?
Chuck: Well, we had a lot of songs that we wrote for the last album that we want to find a way to put them out before the next one comes out as a way for our fans to have more new music. I think that’s important because the last record took a long time, there was a big gap between the third and fourth album and the fans want new music, so I think this time we’re going to find a way to put out some new stuff. I’m not sure in what format or capacity, it might be a DVD or an EP, but there will definitely be new music from us in 2012 and hopefully that will bridge the gap between the last record and the next. We’ll probably start writing more new stuff in the new year.

Do you think it’s important to keep the momentum going, despite having been a band for all these years?
Chuck: Yeah, I think so.

Sébastien: Probably now more than ever. Like Chuck was saying before, maybe the attention’s not as strong as before, so if you disappear for too long you kind of have to present yourselves as a new band. We’re the kind of band that’s always very present online and stuff, so to have a DVD or an EP coming out will just be an extension of what we already do.

The Simple Plan Foundation is something that’s very close to you and has achieved a lot over the years, how did this come about?
Chuck: I would say that it came from our fans, all the letters that they wrote us and all the stories that they shared with us. After every show we always do our best to hang out and they tell us how our songs have really helped them. Just last night a girl told me that she went through depression and the only thing that helped her out was our band. So we heard all that and thought about what we could do that was more direct and tangible.

Sébastien: I like tangible, that’s a very good word!

Chuck: Thank you, me too! So, the idea for the foundation was born then. It’s all about helping young people who are going through tough times whether it’s drugs, depression or sickness. Pierre’s (Bouvier, vocals) brother went through a really tough time with cancer, so that kind of inspired us to add that to the foundation as well. For us, music was our way to find a direction and a purpose, so that became a third mission, to promote music as a way to help kids. We want people to find something they love, something they’re passionate about, whether it’s sports, music, science or whatever, as long as you have a direction and something you love then you’ll be successful. I think this year we’re going to reach the landmark of $1,000,000. It’s something that has grown beyond what we expected and we’re really proud of it.

Sébastien: It’s a part of the band now, it’s intertwined. That’s a good word as well! It’s just something that we do now.

Do you think that it’s important for people in the public spotlight to use this as a platform to help others?
Chuck: Yeah, I think so. I don’t think you have to, but for us we’ve been successful and very privileged, we’ve seen the world and been able to live pretty exceptional lives. When you look back at your friends at home, we’ve lived thirty years in ten years, we’ve done so much and been so lucky. We’ve had so many gifts from life that I feel the least we can do is try to give a little back, try to get involved and try to give our share, y’know? Obviously it’s a drop in the ocean, but if everyone were to get involved, everybody pitches in then it’ll make a difference.

Do you have any plans to come back the UK this year?
Chuck: I’m not sure exactly, there’s no concrete plan. I think we’d love to come back here, maybe in the fall. Maybe come back to Europe then and do a big run of shows.

Sébastien: The fact that all these shows are sold out is a good incentive for us to come back.

Chuck: When we had the choice to do the tour and to come to the UK we were curious because it’s not like we’ve released a single or anything, but when you come out here and you see all the love and all the fans showing up it’s a really good feeling.

Interview by Ben Connell
 Band Members

Pierre Bouvier
Chuck Comeau
David Desrosiers
Sebastien Lefebvre
Jeff Stinco
 Latest Releases
Simple Plan - Get Your Heart On
Release Date - 21st June 2011

1. You Suck at Love
2. Can't Keep My Hands Off You
3. Jet Lag
4. Astronaut
5. Loser of the Year
6. Anywhere Else But Here
7. Freaking Me Out
8. Summer Paradise
9. Gone Too Soon
10. Last One Standing
11. This Song Saved My Life
 Band Related Links
Simple Plan Facebook