Welsh post-hardcore heavyweights Funeral For A Friend have just dropped their latest record Welcome Home Armageddon, and it kicks arse. Returning to and polishing their roots in Casually Dressed and Hours, the album is equal parts agressive and melodic. Just into the start of their massive UK tour, the band lend me their drummer Ryan Richards for 20 minutes to brave a dodgy phone connection and talk about the new album and the possibility of an Australian tour, among other things.
Hey Ryan, this is Jake from Killyourstereo. How’s things?
I’m great mate, and you?
Not bad at all. Well we’ve finally seen the release of your 5th studio album Welcome Home Armageddon and it’s sounding pretty incredible. Have you been reading the reviews?
Yeah I’d be lying if I said we didn’t. It’s always interesting to see what people think and I’ve been blown away with the response. The reviews have been very positive and most importantly the fans love it as well. So yeah, very happy.
With your EP’s taken into consideration, that makes 10 releases in 10 years. You guys haven’t really ever slowed down have you?
No, no, I guess there’s no time to these days. There’s always hungry new bands coming through, you definitelty have to stay on your toes I think and not let yourself be forgotten. We’ve always been pretty prolific, I guess it comes down to our love for making music. I think for some bands writing and recording becomes a chore, but it’s never been that way for us. We’ve always really enjoyed putting out new stuff and making different sounding records.
I’m loving the album, definitely a more aggressive sounding record to Memory and Humanity. Would you say you went about your songwriting in a different way than previously?
Yeah I guess the biggest difference was the personnel, having Gavin and Rich come into the band. This is the third band I’ve been in with those two guys and I was well aware of their strengths, both as performers and songwriters. I wanted to utilise their qualities and I think they really came through the record. In balancing our workload, we were also able to be more creative indiviudually.
How would you personally describe the album’s sound in terms of where it sits compared to your other releases?
I guess it’s really the natural progression from our second album, Hours. We went off in a different direction with Tales Don’t Tell Themselves and to a certain extent Memory and Humanity, but I think if you listen to Casually Dressed, Hours and then Welcome Home Armageddon, they sit quite nicely next to eachother.
Awesome, I had a feeling that was the idea! What’s your favourite song off the new album?
We did the first show of the UK tour yesterday and we played Spinning Over The Island. I love the song anyway, but it felt so awesome to play live, so I think I’ll definitely choose that one, I think it will be a highlight of our set for the next few years..
Cool, so the reaction to the new stuff overall yesterday was pretty great?
Yeah, we haven’t had this sort of response to new songs in a long while. It’s great for us, because obviously we want to play the new stuff.
It’s a pretty massive tour, 19 dates in one country is pretty crazy!
Yeah definitely. I guess we wanted everyone to be able to bring this album to everyone in a live environment, and there’s nothing quite like getting up close, personal and sweaty. We decided to play so many shows in smaller venues because we wanted to give everyone a chance to see us in a more intimate setting.
You guys have just got back from South Africa yeah? That must have been a cool experience.
Yeah it was incredible, we hadn’t been there so we didn’t know what to expect. We were really happy with the reception, people were singing along and we had a great time. The weather was a nice bonus too, it was kind of a holiday – we only did three shows in nine days, so it was very relaxing and a good preparation for this next batch of touring.
You played with Die Antwoord as well yeah? What sort of reaction do they get over there?
Yeah they were crazy. It was weird actually, there were a lot of people there for them but it didn’t seem like our fans liked them much. We did signings after the shows, and a lot of fans were coming up to us afterwards apologising for them. We’d be like ‘ahh they’re alright’ and they’d be like ‘nah man they’re shit.’
I have to ask mate, you were last here in Australia for the 2009 edition of Soundwave Festival. Are we likely to be seeing you again soon?
Yeah very likely indeed. If you don’t see us by the end of the year I’d be very, very surprised.
Where does your drumming take it’s biggest influence?
A lot of different places really, I grew up schooled on Queen and Led Zeppelin, Cream, AC/DC…all very solid, rhythmical stuff. When I grew up and started getting into metal, Megadeth, Pantera, Slayer – that sort of thing, I started adding more fancy bits to my drumming. The first thing I focus on when doing my parts is getting a real solid backbeat and building that classic rock vibe and then start adding all the flashy bits where they’re needed.
Are there any bands you’ve seen recently that have inspired you musically?
Both bands who we’re touring with at the moment, two incredible young UK talents. We have Rise to Remain, who just did Soundwave and are just excellent. We’ve had a chance to listen to their debut album and I think it’s going to be really successful. The other band we have with us are called Tiger Please and are another very talented young band, they kind of remind me of The Gaslight Anthem or Bruce Springsteen style pop-classic songwriting, but they do it there own way and it’s just incredible.
What’s the strangest interview question you’ve ever been asked?
We get a lot about Elton John questions, with the band name and all. He’s a strange kind of guy, you would say, so I suppose they’re all pretty strange. They’re always funny though.
Damn, I wish I had one up my sleeve now! If you were to form a supergroup out of musicians, alive or dead, who would you choose.
Right. Freddy Mercury on vocals, the greatest showman of all time. Eddie Van Halen on guitar I think. Cliff Burton on bass. Keith Moon on drums and Hendrix on the other guitar.
Shit, you definitely took advantage of the ‘or dead’ option! I wonder what people would pay to see that band?
Oh definitely, shame their not all still alive making music.
Agreed. What would call the band mate?
With Freddy in it, it would have to be something quite camp. Hmm, Pink…Elephant,
Nice! Well that leaves us out of time mate, but it’s been great talking. Hoping to see you and the boys in Australia soon. Enjoy the rest of your tour!
Yeah I’m sure you will actually. Thanks very much, and thankyou for the interview.