See evil, hear evil, speak evil.

STRING ‘EM UP: FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND

Once again The Wolf ventured into the bowels of London’s Astoria [before it was demolished] to string up some unsuspecting band with ridiculous and perhaps impertinent questions. Also be sure to read within to witness fellow scribe and Devolution magazine freelancer extraordinaire Greg Porter’s often asked Def Leppard question.

Let’s get involved with Welsh rockers Funeral For A Friend.

Previously published in TOTAL GUITAR magazine in 2008:

FFAF

Lurking in alleyways. In Soho. Nice work.

FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND

Tales of concept-based inspiration and Van Halen…

Growing up fresh faced in the public arena Funeral For A Friend have found themselves either loved or hated. A tad like Marmite, only less tanned and sloppy. In actual fact, their multi-talented variety of post-hardcore prog rock is better than ever, and tighter than Ken Livingstone’s wallet. Something TG witnesses during soundcheck with their rousing version of White Stripe’s Seven Nation Army. “You’ve caught us on the first day of tour – we’re happy!” proclaims guitarist Darran Smith as he greets us from the stage. But can he, along with fellow duellist Kris Coombs-Roberts, maintain this euphoria when faced with a barrage of reader’s questions…

What’s been your greatest experience with the band so far?
I. Ron Mayden, West Ham

Darran Smith: “Iron Maiden in the UK was obviously an amazing experience; we got on with them really well. In fact we did a Black Sabbath cover with Bruce singing for us, we recorded a version when we went on his radio show and we also did it live with him at a gig in Belfast. It was very bizarre to look across the stage and see Bruce there!”

What was it like working with the producer Terry Date?
Hatfest98, via email

Darran: “We actually put him at the top of our wishlist for producers, and never thought for a minute he’d be interested in working with us. When he was up for it we were blown away!”
Kris Coombs-Roberts: “A lot of people thought that album [Hours] was over-produced because we worked with Terry Date, but that actually couldn’t be further from the fucking truth.”
Darran: “Yeah people had said that Casually Dressed was a little over produced, so when we went to work with Terry, we had this attitude of doing it really fucking raw, and yet when we finish they still think it’s over produced! It’s a no win situation.”

How do you feel about the Van Halen reunion?
Dave Bank, via email

Darran: “I love Van Halen! I really like the David Lee Roth era, I like the rawness and the way the songs were put together was great. It was that very basic, raw, four-piece sound. I actually saw them play years ago with Sammy when they supported Bon Jovi over here. Eddie is a legend, so I hope they make it over here ‘cos I’d like to see that reunion.”

Name some hot new bands…
Man-Flu, Tonbridge

Kris: “Check out a band called Revolution Mother. Fucking awesome, big, dirty, rock n roll. We took them out to Europe with us and they’re just a really great band.”
Darran: “There’s a couple we’ve got out on tour now too – Kids In Glass Houses are making a big noise already in the UK. City Sleeps as well – we actually got hold of their record about 2 years before it came out, so we’ve been listening to it for ages.”
Kris: “If the record had come out when it was meant to come out, I think people would have definitely sat up and taken more notice. But it’s doing great now anyway.”

You guys have matured greatly. Do you think you’ve shaken off the emo/screamo tag yet?
Bliss, Co. Durham

Darran: “I don’t think we’ll ever shake it off. But I like to think we’ve changed a lot of people’s opinions to what they originally thought we had to offer. We’ve proven we’ve got more depth to us and not just stuck to a formula. We like a lot of different styles of music, so we like to adapt and add things to our sound. People just think it’s emo to sing songs about relationships, and if that’s the case then Bon Jovi must be the most emo motherfucker on the planet!”

Matt’s [Davies, vocals] finally pulled out the guitar! Why’s that?
Tom Birch, Sleaford

Darran: “He’s always played rhythm guitar. He played guitar in bands before he became a singer. We just wanted to try different things and open up the guitar sound a little bit.”
Kris: “When we write we all bring ideas forward. If Matt comes up with a guitar part, it just makes more sense for him to play it, and then the rest of us can work on layering an extra sound with the other two guitars. He’s a good player as well, very tight.”

I hear Matt’s got a big collection of guitars. Ever fancy nicking some?
Katie O’Brien, Cardiff

Darran: “Yes he does, and yes I have!”
Kris: “He’s sold a load off recently, but it’s still a pretty big collection.”
Darran: “Matt tends to go the vintage route; he’s got a couple of older Les Pauls and a ’78 Gold Top which is particularly nice. Some Gretsch, some Rickenbacker’s. I used some of his guitars for certain sounds when recording the album, we had so many guitars in the studio it was like a fucking shop!”

Tales Don’t tell Themselves is a concept album. What the hell made you do that?
Graham Martin, via email

Darran: “Why not?”
Kris: “We were just looking to find new things to try. I think Matt was starved for inspiration and he wrote a song that was a bit like a short story, so in the end he just elaborated on it and then it grew and grew. It was just through lack of inspiration that we found inspiration. Some of us are married now, and we’re living our dream so it’s hard to find things to be pissed off about these days!”

What’s your favourite Def Leppard song of all time?
Greg Porter, Romford

Darran: “That’s a tough one! We’re actually huge fans of Def Leppard. A top party song is Pour Some Sugar On Me. Hysteria is just full of great songs.”
Kris: “It’s Love Bites for me. I love the guitar lines in the chorus… and didn’t they record some of the notes on that album string by string?”
Darran: “Yeah now that’s a band that over-produce!”

 

Interview: Gary Sutherland © 2008.