Funeral For A Friend (interview)

on Mon 30th Jul 2007

Funeral for a Friend stormed onto the ‘emo’ scene with incredible force in 2003, bagging themselves a loyal fan-base, who in turn bagged them a Kerrang award for Best Newcomer via a public vote. Following that, the release of their debut album 'Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation' not only pleased their fans, but impressed critics as well. One undesirable thing the band obtained, however, that would haunt them to this day was the pigeonhole label of ‘emo or ‘screamo’.

Funeral For A Friend

When bands are burdened with such a label, it makes change very difficult to pull off because some fans will always be alienated, expecting nothing less than a repeat of the original style on every album. On the other hand, though, especially when the pigeon-hole in question is a genre such as ‘screamo’, bands progression tends towards the more mainstream ‘poppy’ style that will inevitably sell records. This is a phenomenon described aptly as ‘selling out’. The question is, have Funeral for a Friend sold out? Some would undoubtedly argue yes, what with the aggressive vocals being dropped for the new album ‘Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’ as well as the speedy Metal-influenced guitar work that made 'Casually Dressed and Deep in Conversation' so enjoyable being less prominent. eGigs managed to squeeze a few questions out of front man Matt Davies, to try and determine, among other things, the motives behind the bands new direction.

When asked about the influences behind the bands musical development Matt answered honestly that “For me, I guess the fact that we're all very comfortable with the band these days and the music tha we like, we're all either married or in long-term relationships so our personal lives are all in a good place right now that really helps put a lot of things in your life in perspective”. This would certainly explain the less aggressive approach the band have towards their music. Matt developed further “As far as music, we just wanted to be bigger and bolder with it, developing a sonic identity” which is certainly something they have done.

Funeral For A Friend

‘Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’ sees in a bold introduction of classical music into the melting pot. Matt explains “I've been getting into a lot of Emerson, Lake and Palmer over the last few years and their blending of classical compositions with rock music is quite inspiring so we'll see where we can go with it.” Continuing ambitiously “I think it's something that we will continue to explore, I think Tales was the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our ideas and willingness to experiment”.

It seems, then, that the commercial success of the record had null influence over the new direction, which seems to be fuelled by a willingness to experiment as well as the member’s attitudes towards life. In fact when questioned about the expectations of the reception of Tales Don’t Tell Themselves, Matt bravely stated “it's something we have had to put out of our heads every time you make a new record. We knew that some people wouldn't like it and that's fine, that's the price you pay when you constantly try to better yourself and evolve musically.” Finishing philosophically “we're just content writing the music that inspires us because at the end of the day if you can't stand by the music you make then there's no point in doing this at all.”

Funeral For A Friend

As well as a musical development, Funeral for a Friend have transformed in terms of lyrical content. Not only are the lyrics more mature and meditative but also within 'Tales Don’t Tell Themselves' they form a narrative that Matt describes as “a universal story that can be examined and put into practice in regards to any event or moment in life.” Based around a shipwreck Matt explores the emotional responses of the crew as well as the family waiting for news at home. In doing this, the whole spectrum of human emotion is covered, including -get this- the positive side. In reuniting the main characters at the story’s dénouement Matt dismantles the ‘emo’ tag by reassuring, not only with the obvious maturity in his more recent lyrical efforts, but also with the sound personal life he describes above, that, unlike the majority of bands that fall under ‘emo’, he will not be crying about tumultuous adolescent relationships through his music. Instead he touches upon a subject that is more identifiable, “we've all felt at times that we've faced a brick wall that we can't overcome, some people back away from the challenge while others embrace it and choose to struggle on, to me that's what life is all about, our struggles to overcome whatever is in our way so that we grow as human beings

Funeral For A Friend

Funeral for a Friend, claim at least, to have the best of intentions for the changes they have undergone and Matt’s lyrical efforts definitely indicate a much greater maturity. It is quite obvious from this that the movement away from their aggressive roots is not just an attempt to appeal to a wider audience but is an appropriate musical reflection of the subject matter, and of the artists’ state of mind at this time.

Time will tell, whether the band will continue to grow and change or just ride on the success their new album may bring. Matt implies, however, that success and stadium filling doesn’t seem to be a goal of Funeral for a Friend, by describing their current shows from the ‘Warped Tour’ in the US as “a lot more intimate which is a great change for us.” Whatever the case, with Reading Weekend coming up and plans for tours all over the world, including “Japan and Australia, Singapore and Thailand and even New Zealand” as well as “a full scale assault on mainland Europe” which Matt is “buzzing about”, it is certainly tuning out to be what he describes as “a busy busy autumn/winter for us”.

article by: Robert Knowles

photos by: Neil Greenway & Luke Seagrave

published: 30/07/2007 14:32


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.