Funeral For A Friend

The first time we saw Funeral For A Friend live we stated they were the best band to come out of Wales since the Manics, but that was a little too obvious. Funeral For A Friend are a band who deserve more than a reference point based on geographical location, still the fact that remains that FFAF are gaining a devoted cult of obsessive fans who scour the lyric sheets, make their own FFAF T-shirts and stalk the band at every gig. Designer Magazine caught up with G and Ryan at the recent Liverpool Academy gig to talk about Juneau Vs Juno and the surprises which are going to come with the bands forthcoming album "Casually Dressed And In Deep Conversation".

Q: Juneau - the old version and the new version are splitting the fans totally. Did you expect it?
Ryan: That's in a way kind of what we wanted to do - make people think and make people react. If people didn't react there wouldn't have been any point in doing it differently. Although we liked the first recorded version it wasn't given the time and attention that it deserved and we just wanted to experiment and make it into a great rock song rather than just an extreme song.

G: You can expect a lot of that on the record and there's a lot of stuff which is more heavier than we've done before as well. When you're thinking about an EP you've got 4 songs whereas an album you've got a lot more room to experiment and we feel that we've written the best album we can.

Q: You've nearly finished recording the album "Casually Dressed And In Deep Conversation". Your first EP was released last September, how does it feel now nearly a year on?
G: When the album comes out we'll have released 22 tracks in the space of a year. When you think about it, it's f**king insane!!! Last time we spoke we'd just spent a week in rehearsal prior into going into the studio and a lot of songs came together in that week. We've taken some older stuff that hasn't been heard before, revamped it and made it eligible for what we feel is the record that we want to make.

Before that we had songs that we wanted to work on, but because we've been on the road so much we didn't have chance to sit down and toy around with things a bit, put twists in and tiny little anal touches just to make everybody comfortable with the songs. A perfect example is before we went into the studio we spent 6 hours on a 3 second section of a song just so everyone was comfortable with it.

Q: Were there a lot of conflicts in the studio trying to get every tiny detail right?
G: We do argue quite a lot as a band, but that's only because were so passionate.

Ryan: It's only ever about the songs. Things that are worth arguing about if you want to get something at the end of it that you can be proud of. When you've done your best it's worth having the disagreements over.

Q: With most bands it's just the verse / chorus to argue about. You guys have 4 or 5 different sections in a song. It must be hard pleasing everybody?
G: We like something challenging in a record and we'd like to think that some people who sit down and hear different things on every track. Some movies you watch a film and then you watch it again and think "that's funny, i never seen that" and we like to do the same thing with our records.

Ryan: Were very critical of ourselves. We get bored first and foremost and if we do the listeners going to so we try and take the song somewhere so there's no way of getting bored. A song should be like a story - have a beginning, have it's ups and downs and then have an ending. If you watch a love film and the first scene they're kissing, they're in love all the way through and it's happy ever after it's a boring piece of sh*t.

Q: The EP mixed up so many influences on each and every track. Does the album follow the same sonic attack or is it more similar to the straight forward rock of "Juneau"?
G: Go into the album with open ears. Don't go in thinking it's gonna sound like this because you'll be f**king stunned. There are so many different variations. There's heavy parts, sad parts, dark parts, happy parts - we went through an emotion turmoil for that record and we'd like to think that other people will go through emotional turmoil listening to it!!!

Ryan: On the EP's the four tracks had to encompass everything that we are just to show people what we are and what were about. The album doesn't really have to do that all the time and we can have one track that it is not heavy at all in any way shape or form and not have to feel any pressure to mix it.

Q: If we could finish off by going through a few of the songs likely to feature on the album. First up the two songs you've been debuting live - "Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings" and "Bullet Theory"?
Ryan: "Bend Your Arm..." is quite anthemic, Stadium rock in parts. There's a lot going on vocally with me, G and Matt's vocals going round in circles. It goes from being very melodic and very catchy to being really quite heavy.

"Bullet Theory" is a really dark cut based on the Kennedy Assassination. Metaphors for a situation of snipers and watchful eyes. Matt loses his mind on that track live.

Q: Looking through the song titles, they seem a lot more simplistic and straightforward than something like "The Art Of American Football". "Your Revolution Is Joke" seems to stand out for example?
G: That's going to be a big shock for everyone. Everyone's going to go what the f**ks going on? It's simply got an acoustic guitar, cello and a vocal and that's it. Until we get to the stadiums were not going to be able to play it live.

Ryan: It's basically about war and propaganda cos there's been a lot of stupid shit going on lately. (G: But were not a political band by any means before we start getting the political finger pointing at us). Were just commenting on something that does affect you and when you've got friends and family whose lives are at risk for stupid shit...if people label you a political band because you're talking about something that's close to you. If you can't sing about something close to you then what can you sing about. It's very dramatic and heart wrenching.

Q: The other one that seems just jump out at you is "Kevin Carvell". Could you tell us a little about that track?
G: Kevin Carvel is the name of our A&R guy in America and we thought his name was really cool. The guys 19 years old and works for Atlantic Records and he's as safe as f**k.

Ryan: We thought it would put a smile on his face.

"Juneau" is out now in all good record shops
"Casually Dressed...." is released on October 6th
FFAF tour throughout October
For full tour dates and more info

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