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.
Interview with Gareth Davies (bass)
of “Funeral For A Friend”.
By Cameron Chambers.
Thanks for doing this interview
Thank you as well. How are you?
I’m great thank you, and
Very good thanks!
Where are you guys at the moment?
We are in Wisconsin in the US
and we are on the Warped Tour. It’s been great but our stretch is
coming to an end. We’re actually finishing up this Friday.
Is there your first tour in
the US since “Tales Don’t Tell Themselves” was released?
It’s our first trip on this
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 US very often.
Plus, we’ve been away for nearly 12 months so we’ve been mixing
it up between old and new.
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
Yeah, it’s definitely getting
there. We did a small tour in the UK once the record came out and the
response was great!
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
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 London and we were just saying that we were here with real musicians.
No drums and guitars bullshit, real musicians for the day!
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
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!
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
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 (Wales) along for the ride!
Has the dynamic of your
live show changed with the introduction of your newer material to the
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 (USA) with you for this tour
– how did that come about?
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
(USA) before or was that your first
Nope, that was our first interaction
You must’ve really hit it
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
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!
For more information on Funeral
For A Friend check out