Designer Magazine have interviewed Funeral For A Friend several times previously so we thought we'd let the fans ask the questions this time as we met Matt, Darren and Gareth on the Taste Of Chaos tour in Manchester. A sneaky peak on their message board revealed that the fans were as equally concerned with Matt's new haircut as they were with the "calm" new sound on the bands second full release album "Hours" so we mixed up your thread titles in an entirely random manner, downed a few stella's and took to the dressing room past over zealous security at the Manchester Apollo

Q: What FFAF lyric do you like most?
Matt: All of them unless I wouldn’t have wrote them, but definitely not “And I'm nothing more than a line in a book” cos it’s played to death. I like the chorus lyrics to “Escape Artists Never Die” because it’s a little call to arms. The whole “we’ll start a fire” brings up so many images and the whole thing about making it on your own and not relying on too many things. I guess it’s just the fact that it’s so direct and to the point

When I'm writing lyrics it’s just where I am at the time so it might me sat at my laptop or just on a scrap of paper.

Darren: I think you normally write a load of things off the top of you head and then you start to form them and adapt them with the melody in mind

Matt: Yeah, they all start off as really abstract short stories. I used to have this book full of them, but I’ve moved all that over to my laptop now because it’s easier than having a pile of stained pissy pieces of paper with indecipherable lyrics. My handwriting is rubbish, it is like a child’s so I have to get the rest of the band to read them back to me. At least with a laptop it’s acceptable and then you spell check, god bless spell check.

Q: Hours – better than Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation?
Matt: Yes. It’s just a progression. Saying that one is better than other is just really weird because they were both written at different points and times of both our career and individually

Darren: I still love “Casually Dressed” but it is different than “Hours”. It’s hard to compare them really.

Matt: I think we like “Hours” more now because it is so new to us

Darren: And probably the same with the next record. We’ll probably be into that far more than “Hours”

Q: The thing about “Hours” is it stands up as an album whereas “Casually Dressed” seemed like a compilation
Darren: Yeah. That was the worst thing about “Casually Dressed”, is that we had some of the songs from the earlier EP’s on it, so it didn’t feel like we were giving value for money in that way. It was nice to have an album of completely new songs this time.

Matt: To actually sit down and actually write a complete set of new songs. We approached it how we’d usually approach anything – we’d come up with the ideas and just keep working on them. There were certain songs on the album that we were sure weren’t going to be on the album and then we recorded them and it was like these songs are actually really good.

Darren: I do think we have progressed as far as songwriting and the chemistry in the band. We’ve been touring for so long by the came we came round to recording we understood each other a lot more than we did on the first album

Matt: The way I kind of like to see it in my head is it’s like making a meal from scratch rather than getting out a ready meal, it’s a lot more satisfying when it comes together

Q: So the Taste Of Chaos tour, each band is a starter and you guys are the main course?
Matt: Are we the main course or are we the dessert? We’re the sweet that’s seriously bad for you

Q: How do you classify Funeral For A Friend? I guess when you came out you were tagged an emo band, but now you’re nothing like it
Matt: Post whatever. Anything that was cool at the time we got thrown at us and I'm a bit disappointed grunge never came up yer know, cos then we’d have had the complete catalogue of genre’s thrown at us

Darren: I think when we first few songs we totally fitted into the whole screamo thing. We were such a new band we were just trying to find ourselves really. Since we’ve developed the sound we’ve gone away more and more from that. No disrespect to that scene because it gave us a big helping hand in establishing our name, we just drifted away from that.

Gareth: Were a working class rock band, that’s what we are (laughs). I think it’s the most accurate way to describe what we given our backgrounds and it’s still very much ingrained in us. We’re not keen in elevating our status above what we are comfortable being as individuals.

Matt: I still live at home with my parents, but that’s all about to change soon. We’re never going to be a band who have a big Mansion with 12 Porsches.

Q: And the new haircut, is that something to try and escape the emo tag?
Matt: You kinda feel that on some occasions as the more important thing and it should always be about the music. Granted I had my haircut like this because it was convenient, but im glad I got it because it was like f**k it, im not dictated by the way I look.

Darren: He broke a few girls hearts when he did that, but I think he should have kept it what it was like when it was originally cut – a Mohawk.

Q: Why are the new songs so calm?
Matt: What??? (Gasps). You mean why are 3 of the new songs…have they not listened to the record. “Drive” understandably is obviously a very pensive thoughtful tune, as is “History” I guess as well. “Sunny” is a glorified rocked up electro Depeche Mode pastiche.

Darren: I think we definitely tried to do something different on this album just to keep it interesting for ourselves. We’ve got to please ourselves first of all whether people like it or not.

Matt: There wasn’t any intention to make it sound calmer (laughs). That’s really baffled us, we’ll have to go on the forums and just go CALMER

Q: Where do you see yourselves going in the future, because I was trying to think of a band who’s career projectorary you’re following and the name I came up with was Idlewild?
Darren: Like Matt just said, we don’t pre-plan how the songs are going to sound. They just develop the way they develop

Matt: It’s always about satisfying that creative side for yourself. Being in a band with 5 of us it can take a lot of time to get satisfaction individually. You have to be able to stand away from it and look at it as a whole because otherwise it can seem like a job.

Gareth: I think we’ve learnt the lesson that most bands do when they get asked the question where are you going next. We’re going to do songs that “it’s heavier, it’s softer, it’s more melodic”. You know it’s going to disappoint someone when you come out with a cliché like the heavier parts are heavier and the softer parts are softer.

Darren: The next songs are gonna be superheavy like Cannibal Corpse…but we’d have to get Ryan on vocals for that one

Q: Snap, it’s always being asked – will Ryan ever make his solo album?
Gareth: I think he’d like to. We know he can do one and it would be interesting to see if he could pull it off. I’ve seen him do some guest vocals onstage and he doesn’t look the most comfortable once he comes out from behind his drum kit.

Q: And weren’t you (Matt) trying to set up another hardcore project about a year ago?
Matt: I was trying, but given this bands schedule I think it was wishful thinking. If I started off a side project now, it would be alternative country with hardcore.

Darren: I think all of us time allowing would delve off into other areas with either a couple of us involved or other people involved

Matt: Part of me misses the really fast stuff like “Art Of American Football”. It’s all about what we were saying before about pleasing the God Of Creativity around us.


A quick glimpse on Funeral For A Friends forum reveals that their fans have an eclectic music taste so we thought we'd quiz the band themselves on their own musical taste.

My Chemical Romance
“We’ve know those guys for a while and they’re still awesome guys. They’re one of the hardest working bands we know and they’ve earned everything that’s come to them” Gareth FFAF

The Darkness
“Shit. I’ve never liked that band. Musically they’re just not my cup of tea, but the first time we met them they were ok. Since they made it though Dan’s the only one who’s stayed cool, the rest of them are a bunch of f**king dicks. I'm sure the second album will be just as successful though” Matt FFAF

“I actually don’t mind Fightstar. I think they write really cool songs and Charlie’s a nice guy. It’s so f**king easy to criticise his background, but take that away and he’s in a band who right good f**king rock songs. They know how to write a catchy chorus or two” Matt FFAF

“They’re talented and they do what they do really f**king well. You can tell that they genuinely have been listening to metal for a few years rather than other bands who claim they have, but have only been listening to metal that for 2 years to fit in with fashion. Are we talking about another Welsh band? (laughs)” Darren FFAF

Arctic Monkeys
“I’ve only heard the one song, the one that’s at number 1. I read some review that they were like the Sex Pistols and someone else, but I didn’t get the Sex Pistols thing. I’d have to hear a few more songs to make a genuine comment on these guys, but it’s good how they built up their following through the net before anyone else picked up on em” Darren FFAF

Bloc Party
”My girl was on tour with these guys, but she’s now out on the road with the Kaiser Chiefs. They’re one of the only bands around at the moment where there drum and bass control the groove. I'm glad I’m not that hardcore music kid I was because I’d have never been allowed to listen to Bloc Party” Gareth FFAF

Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride

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