Everyone knows them. Everyone has heard their music. Hailed as one of the greatest pop-punk bands of all time and one of Canada's prized possessions, Simple Plan eat, sleep and breathe music. It's no wonder that the band has gained a massive fan-following all over the world and topped music charts globally with every studio album released.
Pierre Bouvier, Sébastien Lefebvre, David Desrosiers, Chuck Comeau and Jeff Stinco are the five talented men behind the music phenomenon known as Simple Plan. One of the few bands that have had no line-up changes in their entire fourteen-year career, they have released four studio albums to date and all four albums have received unanimous favourable reviews from music critics. Their latest album, Get Your Heart On!, was praised by UK rock music magazine Kerrang!, "It may not be rocket science, but there is an art to doing this right and Simple Plan have once again pulled it off."
Starting out in Montréal, the quintet have come a long way, having performed not just in North America but also all over the world - including Singapore. As a matter of fact, they were in Singapore just last year on their Asian leg of the Get Your Heart On! Tour!
How do they do it? The plan's not that simple, of course. Loads of hard work have definitely been put in to make the good music they do and they definitely have their fans in mind with every step they take in their career. I had the chance to interview Pierre, the band's frontman, to find out what makes Simple Plan, well, Simple Plan and he revealed some really big plans that fans can look forward in 2013!
Simple Plan is a household name - everyone has heard of the band and its music. How do you feel about the widespread global popularity you guys have achieved?
The fact that we are a successful band that has been able to stay relevant is our biggest achievement. We are so proud to be one of the few bands that are here to stay. When you have hit and have a successful album, it's so difficult to try to follow up. It’s an amazing feeling to know that we have fans around the world that want to keep supporting us and that love us for more than just one song.
It has been more than a decade since Simple Plan was formed. How have you & the rest of the band members changed both as a band and as individuals?
I think we have all evolved and matured just like anyone out there does. When the band started, we were all in our very early 20s and were ready to conquer the world. We goofed around a bit more and were probably a little more immature. Today, we're still those same guys, just a little older. So maybe we don't party as hard and we think a little more before doing something stupid, but that's just normal. It's not to say that we don't like to have fun and get crazy – we just don't do it as often. I think we're also conscious of what we have achieved and we don't take it for granted. Back in our early days, our behaviours sometimes were detrimental to our performances, like drinking too much and not being on top of your game the next day. Now we focus on being the best we can be because we feel that we owe it to our fans that’ve been there for us for so long. I guess that's a sign of maturity.
Musically, we've always been perfectionists and have always taken that very seriously. We love making music and writing and producing albums that we are proud of. With the years, I think we've gotten better at doing that. Which is why I think our last album is our best. We always push ourselves to outdo the last one.
You’ve been to Singapore quite a few times, most recently during the Get Your Heart On Tour in 2012. What is your favourite memory of Singapore?
Singapore is such a beautiful place. I enjoy just walking around and taking it all in. Last time we were there, we ended up at the bar on top of that huge building that looks like a boat. It was pretty awesome.
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Somewhere we've never been. There are many.
You worked with MTV EXIT to create a music video for "This Song Saved My Life" to raise awareness about human trafficking. How was it like working with MTV EXIT? Tell us more about your anti-human trafficking cause.
It was an eye opener to say the least. We learned so much about human trafficking, something that we are hardly ever exposed to in North America. It’s so sad to think that people are still treated like slaves today. I was happy to learn about it and to help MTV EXIT in their fight.
What is a typical day for you like when you’re on tour?
Wake up, find a shower, find food, do some interviews, sound check, sound check fan club party, find food, chill out before the show, warm up for an hour, play the show, wind down after show, find a bed, sleep, repeat.
Speaking of tours, you guys travel all over the world when you're on tour. What do you usually do on long flights?
Watch movies or TV shows on my computer or sleep. Sometimes I'll read a book if I have a good one.
What's your opinion on auto tune?
Auto tune is so much more than what people think it is. It’s more than just the effect you hear. I think there’s good and bad about it. I think it's definitely over used but sometimes it can sound cool!
Simple Plan is one of the rare bands that has had no line-up changes since its inception and you still make great music together even after 14 years together as a band, which is not the case for most other bands. What is your secret to this amazing feat?
I have no idea. I guess we're all level-headed guys. We love what we do and we don't want to stop. It's not like we don't ever fight, I think we're just good at communicating when a problem arises. Plus we get along great. We're good friends. Sometimes the easy way out seems to be to replace somebody, but people forget that the next guy (or girl) will come with a whole new set of problems. Might as well work out the issue instead. Much easier.
What is your favourite song you've ever recorded?
That changes all the time. I'm proud of all of them. Some standout tracks would probably be:
“Perfect”, “Welcome To My Life”, “Crazy”, “Your Love is A Lie”, “This Song Saved My Life”, “Summer Paradise” and “Astronaut”.
What usually runs through your mind on the day of a gig?
Same as any other day. Playing shows has become second nature, there's no over thinking it. It's just pure fun.
Any big plans for 2013?
Yes. Writing our next album, playing a few more shows and hopefully release some new unreleased songs and a DVD we're working on. Stay tuned!
Photo credits: SimplePlan.com