IT'S been over a decade since the double-platinum American rock band The Fray started out in 2002, but they're still firing on all cylinders with no indication of slowing down. With their fourth album slated to hit shelves at the end of the year, the band has already started working on a fifth, according to lead singer Isaac Slade, 32.
"I think we have pushed past the point where most bands break up," says Slade, who co-founded The Fray with his former schoolmate, guitarist Joe King. "I don't want to tell the future, because I can't, but I could see myself doing a couple more records with these guys. I think we've got some more records in us."
The four-man band will give Singapore fans a preview of some songs from their upcoming album at the Guinness Arthur's Day concert tonight, which celebrates Arthur Guinness signing a 9,000 year lease at St James's Gate in Dublin and setting up his brewery in 1759.
In a telephone interview from his home in Colorado, Slade adds, "We'll probably perform one of the new singles, and a new one called Wherever This Goes. Then we'll probably bust out a cover or two, and dip into the old catalogue. We'll be playing a good mix of the old, the middle, and the new."
Unlike most concerts, the 1,759 tickets to see The Fray cannot be bought through the usual ticket channels. Instead, over the last few weeks, tickets have been given out to individuals through a series of Facebook contests and "Acts of Boldness" challenges held all around Singapore. For example, one challenge involved a lone beer tap in the middle of One Raffles Place, and those who had the guts to go up to it and pour themselves a pint was given a ticket to catch The Fray. And aside from headlining tonight's concert at the purpose-built venue at The Promontory@Marina Bay, The Fray had also been tasked to choose their opening act from a selection of local bands that have been narrowed down by multiple public voting processes.
At a press conference yesterday afternoon, they officially announced their pick - Ellipsis, a four-piece rock band chosen for their "unique sound, confidence, and female drummer". "We look for stuff that we believe in. Because a lot of people can play music, but not a lot of people can convince you that they mean it." The Fray themselves are known for their deep, meaningful lyrics accompanied with emotional melodies in songs like Over My Head (Cable Car), You Found Me, and most well-known single, How To Save A Life. The last song was inspired by Slade's stint as a mentor to a boy with a drug problem, and it earned the band its double-platinum status.
According to Slade, his inspiration for such hit songs tend to come from what he calls "moments of tension". He explains, "It's where it's not just good or just bad, it's bitter and sweet together. Maybe a happy moment that cost a lot to get to, or a sad moment with a bit of hope. If there's a sunset and it's raining, emotionally, those are the songs that really make it."
But for their upcoming album, most of the songs will go off the beaten track, with a newfound upbeat sound: "We hope the new songs will make people want to dance, but if it doesn't, we apologise," he says with a grin.