Funeral For A Friend
By Adrian Kelly
“It feels really good!” laughs Matthew Davies-Kreye loudly when asked just how rewarding it is to be relatively free of the music machine. “Yeah, we had the successes and whatnot at the start of our career as a band. I think our drive and ambitions have always been to push the band and be creatively selfish.” He laughs again, “I think right now in the band we’re the happiest we have been in a long time; in terms of interaction member-wise we are the most open that we’ve ever been and striking the right chord with each other in terms of what we want to get out of it.”
This may sound like a load of waffle without a few key background facts. Lucky is here for you, right? Building upon a huge buzz around their early EP releases, Funeral For A Friend’s 2003 debut record Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation was a post-hardcore behemoth, the trans-Atlantic equivalent to My Chemical Romance’s Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge and The Used’s self-titled record. It pushed the young five-piece from south Wales with the hilariously dense accents to worldwide scene stardom and, of course, brought with it the attendant pressures that the behind-the-scenes forces of labels, agents and managers place on their cash cows, not to mention the expectation from their huge fan base. Suffice to say, things went pear-shaped around the alt-rock sounds of 2007’s Tales Don’t Tell Themselves.
“We’ve discussed this at great length amongst the band and put it out there in the press about our feelings towards that record. I like it as a record, but I don’t really like it at as a Funeral For A Friend record. If I had my way, I’d go back in time and really fight to take a break after [2005’s] Hours. We were pretty burned out already; it’d been four and a half years of being run ragged. We’d had enough of each other and didn’t know how to articulate our feelings towards each other about it. The label was pushing for us to go back in the studio and deliver this huge breakthrough album. We have a weird way of dealing with that, so we sort of made a big bombastic record but it was also a concept record, and that always sends labels screaming for the hills. Looking back, I don’t feel Tales Don’t Tell Themselves is a Funeral For A Friend record. I don’t feel any shame in saying that.”
Looking forward, Davies-Kreye and his bandmates decided the way they wanted to do things wasn’t being represented in their team, so after making a few personnel changes both in the starting line and on the bench plus getting in touch with their inner music fans, the band are now set for their busiest year since 2009, which Davies-Kreye finds “extremely exciting”.
“It’s much more in line with what we want do with the band. We want to tour and get the music out there, play loads of shows… It’s not about taking things easy, it’s being active and that’s what part of being in a band is all about.”
Finishing up, as an excited now-adult hardcore kid, Davies-Kreye shared some of his favourite new acts
“There’s a band from the UK called Good Time Boys who just signed to Bridge Nine. They play that really cathartic, ‘90s style emo-core. It’s really pure and intense; everyone should check them out. I was just introduced to a band called Rain Dance from the US that sounds a bit like Disembodied and Dead Guy played by ex-Have Heart guys. It’s really dark but it’s fucking incredible!”
Conduit is out now on Roadrunner FFAF are touring in May.