Interview: Funeral For A Friend | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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It’s been almost fourteen long years since Funeral For A Friend burst out of Bridgend, South Wales back in 2001, redefining the landscape of the British rock scene with their visceral post-hardcore. Their 2003 debut full-length Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation is still hailed as a landmark of the early noughties UK ‘screamo’ sound, and despite dealing with a great deal of adversity over the years, Funeral For A Friend are still standing proud.

Veterans of the British rock scene and one of the last bands of their era still standing, Funeral For A Friend are about to release their seventh full-length record Chapter And Verse in January 2015. Following on from 2013’s Conduit, an urgent, aggressive record which silenced the naysayers who questioned the band’s ability to still pack a punch, Chapter And Verse is Funeral For A Friend’s most self-assured effort to date. To mark the release of Chapter And Verse, the band will embark upon a UK headline tour, stopping by Newcastle’s Riverside on Monday 19th January.

Vocalist Matthew Davies-Kreye and guitarist Kris Coombs-Roberts took some time out to tell us a little about their new record and their memorable musical career…


Linsey Teggert: Chapter and Verse is perhaps your most politically charged record yet, can you tell us about the main lyrical themes?

Matthew Davies-Kreye: Well, the themes are equal parts social, political and personal. Ranging from the wealth gap between the classes to my grandfather and the time that I tied my brother to a tree in the woods for a few hours…so it’s pretty broad.

LT: How has your sound has evolved from previous record Conduit to Chapter and Verse?
M D-K: We went from an angry face to a happy face; that really was the evolution between these two records.

LT: The new record was recorded in just two weeks, which seems like a relatively short time period. How does this compare to the time it took to record your previous work? Was there a different recording process for Chapter and Verse?

Kris Coombs-Roberts: Two weeks is a very quick turn around but it felt great to work under the pressure of such a close deadline. We wanted to make an honest album, a record that sounds like it’s being played by human beings, not a soulless record that’s been constructed in a laboratory letting the computer do all the work. We’ve always been an honest band and have always strived to write and record music that best represents what we believe in; we’re not believers in auto tune and flawless playing. So with this album we wanted to push it as close to being as live as possible and I think it’s better for being recorded so quickly.

LT: What would you cite as the main musical influences behind Chapter and Verse? The last track on the record, ‘The Jade Tree Years Were My Best’ references legendary record label Jade Tree. Has the Jade Tree roster influenced your sound on the new record?

M D-K: I think this would be different depending on who you ask but for me I’m a huge fan of the Jade Tree back catalogue and it’s always been a really big influence. Bands like Swiz, 4 Walls Falling, Lifetime, Promise Ring, Kid Dynamite etc. These bands have always been with me since my late teens so it’s kind of a full circle feeling that they massively influenced my approach with Chapter and Verse.

LT: A lot of your fans have grown up with Funeral For A Friend. Do you find that your audience largely consists of a loyal old school fan base, or do you think you still attract new fans?

K C-R: It’s a mixed bag to be honest. There are faces that I recognise in our audience who I feel like we’ve watched grow up and who’ve always been with us and then there are people who say they’ve just found us. So it’s neither fully one or the other.

LT: With various line-up and record label changes over the last few years, did you ever think about throwing in the towel, or has that never been an option?

K C-R: We love what we do and we believe in the music we’re writing. Most people wouldn’t walk out of a job they love because their boss changes or best friend leaves, and this is exactly the same for us. We love what we do and it means everything to us. So no, it hasn’t.

LT: Having had such a long career, can you still pick out the most memorable moments of being in FFAF thus far?

K C-R: For myself, one of the clearest and best memories I have is our first rehearsal with Matt when we wrote 10:45 Amsterdam Conversations and his voice just blew me away. It made me believe that this band could become something more than a hobby.

LT: What does the future hold for FFAF? Can you see yourselves continuing for a long time to come?

K C-R: Nobody can answer that. We’re happy with what we’re doing and we love the album we’ve just made, so I’d like to enjoy the moment and worry about the future when it comes.

Funeral For A Friend release Chapter and Verse via Distiller Records on Monday 19th January 2015. They also play Riverside, Newcastle on Monday 19th January.


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