Funeral For A Friend play the Roadmender in Northampton at the beginning of March.
The Chron spoke to singer Matt Davies about the band’s new album Conduit, how this year marks a decade since their breakthrough debut Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation, and their current UK tour.
To listen to part of the interview, click the Play button at the top of this page.
Funeral For A Friend play the Roadmender on March 2. Tickets cost £14 in advance.
For more information visit www.funeralforafriend.com.
To book tickets visit www.theroadmender.com.
You’re out on tour at the moment, how are the shows going?
“I still find it weird we can tour for weeks around the UK. The shows have been 95 per cent sold and it’s been great to get into all these clubs and get close to people and share the vibe with the bands we’re bringing out.
“We decided very on when putting the set list together we’d be completely selfish about our choices and play the stuff that we want to throw down to and get into live.
“We’re only playing one of the songs we’ve put a video out for off this record, the others are just our favourites.
“We’re not a nostalgic band or a band which relies heavily on the tired and tested. We have a few of those in the set but we don’t make those a predominant factor.
“I kinda anticipated there might be some kinda of reaction against our set list so far, but no one has been upset, everyone’s been pretty cool.
“We’ve been bringing out some songs into the set which we haven’t played since 2005, songs we’ve actually only played a handful of times on the tour.
“We felt it was about time to dust off some of these songs that we actually love to play and even though they’re album tracks, we don’t consider them to be any less important than the others.
“Alvarez was one of the first songs we wrote for the Hours record and it’s always been a personal favourite of mine and I was always a bit upset that previous members of the band never really could stand behind it and play it live.
“They felt that it didn’t connect. We just decided not to give a crap and just play it and get off on it.”
Your new album, Conduit, has had some great reviews and seems to continue a shift back towards a rawer, hardcore sound. Was that an intentional move?
“We didn’t have any expectations with this record, we just wrote it and recorded it in a very more streamlined way. There was no fuss or bother or any ridiculous production vibes.
“It’s rough and ready and that’s the band we’re best suited to be.
“We’ve always felt the energy of the songs was the most important thing to capture and I feel Conduit has pretty much done that.
“It’s the first time I’ve been really overly pleased with a record in a long time.
“I could pick any song from this record and put it into our set list.
“I couldn’t probably say that about all of our records. It feels like this is the record we would have made after our first if we were left without any bother from major labels or industry types.
“It’s nice to get back to the core essence of what we wanted to get out of this band in the first place.
“I love it and people are enjoying it.
“We started out in the south Wales hardcore scene and that music has never left my lifestyle.
“My life has always been about hardcore and punk rock, through all our existence.
“I can’t say that for every member of the band but currently, with the way things are, everyone is on the same page and driving for the same thing which is to play music we can enjoy.
“We’re happy to have left the major label thing behind where people try to persuade you to do things.
“Right now, we’ve got back onto the right track and it’s the most fun and happiest I’ve ever been in this band during its 11 year period, which is strange to say, but the truth.”
It sounds like FFAF had previously got to a stage where there were tensions or communication problems within the band, with former members?
“For us, there’s no stress or expectations other than playing music together.
“We communicate better as a band. Now I realise how bad we were at communicating with other members of the band and how different we were as people.
“We all have very similar influences and goals and it’s very simple. It makes life in this band a hell of a lot easier.
What is your favourite track on Conduit?
“Death Comes To Us All is my favourite simply because it’s the first time since our first EP that I’ve been able to squeeze an entire song lyrically out of Chris to colaborate with.
“When I joined the band, Chris was pretty much the driving force behind everything.
“I’ve always admired his poetic prose and his ability to turn a phrase.
“I love getting into the meat of his words and he’s such a talented dude and I really enjoy getting into that song and relating to it.
What helped shape or influence the sound of Conduit?
“The biggest thing which helped is a hell of a lot of American hardcore and punk rock.
“It’s just us going back to our record collections and music which drove us to be in this band and a determination to prove aggressive music isn’t immature.
“I’ve read a lot of things recently about people who got into us through our more mainstream record saying ‘I wish they’d go back to singing’ because screaming ‘seems childish’.
“I have a real issue with that because a lot of my favourite bands are super aggressive like Converge which are really inspirational to me. They push the boundaries of aggressive music further and further.
“We are going to play the music we want to play and we don’t consider it a cop-out or a sell-out.
“This is where we came from, it’s what we feel comfortable and it’s how we can express ideas that are important to us, whether it’s political or social.
“We’re not a boy meets girl song band. We want to kick that idea of what we are to the curb and plough on.”
“I find it funny that people hold Casually Dressed up as as a heavy record. If I play them an At The Gates record they would see it isn’t.
“It’s emotionally aggressive but sonically it’s not as heavy as people make it out to be, especially compared to Conduit. Conduit is a really ferocious record.”
It’s 10 years since Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation. Have you had time to reflect on the impact that record made.
“I said before, we’re not into nostalgia. I love what that record did for it, it opened doors that I never would have expected to and it gave us experiences that have informed who we are as people and how we do things.
“I love it, but it’s nice to know people still care about it and the band.
“There’s still people discovering that record which is mind blowing and humbling and people are coming to see us who have never seen us before which is kinda cool and weird.
“We’ve had a lot of bands over the years who have said how important that record was to them, almost giving them a licence to be able to do something and be able to make music which is mind blowing.
“We never thought that anything we did would be considered in that kind of way which is why we don’t like to trash our legacy but we’re very careful about how it’s presented.
“We’ve been asked already if we’re going to do a tour of it from start to finish and we’re not.
“There’s a fine line between a celebration and making money.
“When Darren left the band a couple of years ago we played the whole thing as a send off for him.
“That record was a defining point for him. We’re not interested in doing it again.
“You’ve got to put your best foot forward. We spent many years with records being wary about what we do.
“I’d find it really upsetting that we would throw songs away out of the set list so quickly and I always had arguments with old members of the band about that.
“We’re going to have fun on this tour and with this band and we’re doing a damn good job of making it an enjoyable experience.
“We try to bring a sense of family to our shows. Coming from the hardcore scene, I grew up with the message of unity but I saw hardcore take on this whole clique attitude where if you didn’t dress in a particular way, you weren’t allowed in an that always bothered me.
“Where I grew up, I had to travel miles and miles find shows so I always felt like an outsider even in that community. I feel it’s almost my calling to make people belong under that one roof.”