Funeral For A Friend earnt themselves a massive, cult like following with shredding guitar parts and screeching vocals… which is why it was such a shock when the Welsh lads released a straight up rock album this year.
Bassist Gareth Davies spoke with us about writer’s block and their upcoming Australian tour.
Thanks for doing this interview man.
Thank you as well. How are you?
I’m great thank you, and yourself?
Very good thanks!
Where are you guys at the moment?
We are in
Is there your first tour in the
It’s our first trip on this record, yeah.
How’s the crowd been reacting to the newer songs?
Great actually! You only have a 30 minute set on Warped and we don’t get to hit the
The new songs have been doing down great! We’ve been playing the more immediate songs – the biggest songs first and foremost. MySpace is a wonderful tool so people already know the songs we posted online! Ha ha
While your new material isn’t as heavy as your last couple of records, I imagine that songs like “Into Oblivion” have inspired some fairly huge sing-a-longs in the live setting?
Yeah, it’s definitely getting there. We did a small tour in the
A lot of bands say their third album is make or break – were you guys feeling the pinch when it came to writing “Tales Don’t Tell Themselves”?
Honestly, it didn’t bother us. We were comfortable in what we were doing. I think we were more excited as “Funeral For A Friend” than we have been since we did our second EP. It felt like we’d lost a bit of excitement and that things were starting to become monotonous. We were in this cycle of record, and then we’ll tour for 12 months. Ok, let’s record again, and then tour again, record, tour, ha ha.
We’d gotten ourselves into that mindset and when we came back after touring for “Hours” we just found it really boring. We thought that what we were doing sounded like everything else that was going on at the time.
That’s when we decided we were going to rock the boat and changed it all up.
Your press kit says that you guys encountered some pretty heavy writer’s block when it came to this record. Do you think you put too mush pressure on yourselves to “out do” previous Funeral albums?
Well, we wrote 9 songs and were really disinterested by them. Around the same time, Ryan’s wife gave birth so we all had a 2 week period that we spent apart. When we came back, we just said to each other “does anyone feel what we’re doing right now, let’s put it to a show of hands”. No one was into it so we started from scratch then and there.
As soon as Matt brought the concept forward songs just started pouring out of us. Every day was really exciting! We would all just go into this room with no windows and sit down as a group and write these songs that we were really enjoying.
I don’t know if you guys like to think of “Tales…” as a concept record, but I find Matt’s lyrics give the album an overall consistency that was maybe missing in the past – almost like a story teller I guess?
Oh, it’s a total concept record. Everyone’s scared to use the term and we don’t know why! It’s an absolute concept about a fisherman getting lost at sea and the effect that is has on his wife and daughter. He then needs to overcome his fear of the water and needs to find a way of getting back to his family.
There’s nothing too pretentious going on – it’s how we feel if something happens at home because every time we go on tour in the US we’re 5500 miles away from home!
I can think of one reviewer that didn’t read the press release properly and he said that Matt sounds pretentious, that he sounds like he’s telling a story. We were like “you missed the point, he is telling a story”! Ha ha
I read that you guys wrote a 12 minute track and diced it up and turned those 3 songs into the focal points of the record – that’s a pretty unique approach to song writing.
When we wrote those 9 original songs, we had this crazy idea – this off the cuff notion – that’d we’d write a 20 minute epic and do it as a release later on. This song had some really good sections so once Matt brought the concept in we chopped it into pieces and wrote songs around those pieces.
That gave us the 3 songs you mentions and then we went from there.
Your produced Gil Norton has done a fantastic job on “Tales…” – whose idea was it to bring in the 26 piece orchestra?
It was a combination of things really. We had the core songs recorded and then we sat down with Gil and said that we wanted to try more instrumentation. We agreed that if we used strings we didn’t want to use them in the conventional way – we wanted to do something a little more interesting – so before we know it, we had an orchestra! 1 or 2 cellos turned into a 26 piece symphonic orchestra! Ha ha
We really pushed the boundaries of what we can do as a band. The most exciting moments were in the studio in
These people had never even heard the music and they sat down and nailed it al in 2 takes! It was just flawless and once it all came together and we had everything in the mix it sounded great!
Your drummer Ryan was quoted as saying “We realized that we weren’t taking any risks. I wasn’t prepared to be in a band which wasn’t adding anything”. “Funeral…” could’ve easily released “Hours” part II but you guys chose to push yourselves harder than most bands would dare – that’s pretty rare these days.
That’s why the music industry is so fucking stagnant! It’s just regurgitating the same shit over and again… especially in this scene!
You’ve got to try and stand up and get somebody to notice you a bit more. That’s what we aimed to when we wrote those songs. Everything sounded like everything we had done before, so it was boring us. If we had released a record that sounded the same as something we’d already done then we would’ve been selling ourselves out by playing the safe card.
We’ve already got those fans you know? So if we just released something that was half hearted we knew they’d buy it. It’s more ballsy and gusty to rock the boat though.
If people like the new record then that’s cool. For the other people who don’t like it, thanks for your support over the years. Bands don’t take these risk anymore… it’s just such a “flash in the pan” industry. Somebody’s got to start taking part in trying to become something of a legend – or at least be remembered for longer than 5 minutes!
Were you ever concerned that your fans might not stay on board given your change in direction, or were you guys just like, “fuck em”, we need to do this?
We were never like “fuck em” because at the end of the day, they got us here. They got us to this point. But for us to be happy in what were doing it was not an option to release “Hours Version 2”. For people to say – and I read forums – that people wish we’d written another “Hours” we’re like “YOU HAVE THAT RECORD, WHY BUY IT AGAIN”!?!?
You’ve locked in another Australian tour this September – what can audiences expect from you guys this time round?
Umm, well, you can expect much of the same, ha ha! A high energy set with a big mixture of old and new.
A lot of people seem to be worried that because “Tales…” is a concept record that we’re only going to be playing new stuff. All our songs work well together, it’ll be fine. Just lots of old and new! And we’re bringing our good friends Bayside (USA) and Dopamine (
Has the dynamic of your live show changed with the introduction of your newer material to the set?
It’s definitely got its highs and lows at this point. We move the moods up and down. It’s still high energy and a lot of crowd participation – maybe some finger clicks, ha ha ha.
As you mentioned, we’re incredibly lucky for you to be bringing Bayside (
They were a band that we heard good things about, so we met them and watched them on the Warped Tour. We just thought that this will be cool to bring them a long!
They’re great guys and a phenomenal band with great songs. It’s going to be a great tour!
Have you toured with Bayside (
Nope, that was our first interaction with them.
You must’ve really hit it off then?
Definitely, ha ha.
It’s going to be a great tour man, really looking forward to it.
Thank you very much.
That’s about it mate, any parting words?
Thanks to everyone for all the continued support and thank you so much for your time today!
It’s been a pleasure, thanks for the interview.
I’d like to mention that Gareth was one of the most polite and genuinely enthusiastic band members we’ve spoken to here at KYS. Make sure you all check out their upcoming shows with Bayside!
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