Stephanie Sokol for The Pit
Paradise Fears entertained fans at The Crofoot in Pontiac last night, for the second stop on their first big headlining tour. This wasn’t their first time performing in the Metro Detroit area, and they said they had a good time.
“(The Crofoot brings) a really good group of concert-going kids,” said Sam Miller, vocalist for Paradise Fears. “Every time we go there we’re really well received. I don’t know what it is about the Detroit area but there’s just a personality to the people there, and they love having a good time, which makes for a good concert experience.”
The band is joined on the Live Forever Tour by Nick Thomas of Spill Canvas, William Beckett, Vertigo and Hollywood Ending. Miller said it’s a fun and talented group to travel with.
“William Beckett is a blast, he’s riding with us and we all really love his music, and Hollywood Ending is great too. We’ve been friends with those guys for a long time — it’s surprising we haven’t played more shows with them, but the stars aligned for this one,” Miller said. “The other bands we’re touring with are just fantastic performers. Compared to bands we’ve hung out with before, they’re the most fun.”
Miller, Cole Andre, Michael Walker, Jordan Merrigan and Marcus Sand make up Paradise Fears. The band got together in high school in a small town South Dakota, and released their first album in 2011.
Their music has been constantly evolving since, into what Miller calls “dynamic lyrical pop.” Usually he writes most of the melody, but other members also inspire the music, which gets discussed and worked on among all band members.
“The central vibe or inspiration for each song is spread out across the different instruments, and then we are just filling the rest of the parts around that, which turns into a song and gives it an identity,” Miller said.
Social media has helped the band grow and better connect with fans. Through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Paradise Fears reaches their listeners. In addition to sharing their own songs, they do a series of covers, including Maroon 5’s “Pay Phone,” which earned them 3 million views.
“I do think it (social media) is incredibly important,” Miller said. “It’s how 98 percent of our audience stays in touch, and I like it. It’s a channel opening up that allowed us to really communicate.”
While their music sometimes has a lighter sound, Paradise Fears’ lyrics are deeply meaningful. Each of the band’s songs has a lesson to it.
Like many of their tracks, “Battle Scars,” which was written with Brian Dales of The Summer Set, is about “learning to love and appreciate yourself with all of your flaws and mistakes,” like many of their other tracks. During their tours, Paradise Fears got a lot of response from fans for that track via social media, Miller said.
Their new single, “You To Believe In” is about feeling lost and frustrated, but despite all the problems in the world, finding comfort through the people in your life. Miller said he wrote the track about a girl who could always “make it all okay.”
“There was a moment where I became very disengaged in what was happening in the world at large, and kind of frustrated by a lot of the things that were happening in larger structures outside of my control,” Miller said. “I was overwhelmed by the scope of problems, and I realized that what brought me back down to earth was that I had people in my life who I could believe in even when the larger systems weren’t working.”
This single is just a preview of upcoming music from Paradise Fears. While the band doesn’t have an exact release date yet, Miller said there are many new tracks coming out, and fans can expect to see the album out in early 2015.
“I like people to be able to find their own way of connecting with the music,” Miller said. “I’d want them to listen, think about it and apply a lyric in the context of their own lives. And if they do kind of end up deriving that message of everyone is flawed and imperfect, and working through it so their experience is one that is shared, I hope they take this idea that all humans are united through experience.”