Funeral For A Friend

Since the last time we spoke to Funeral For A Friend, this is our 3rd interview this year, the band have been hailed as the "best band in Britain" and started to create similar stirings on their first tour stateside. Designer Magazine caught up with Matt and G from the band to find out how they're coping with the pressure of fans camping outside their tour bus at 7am, why they want Girls Aloud to cover one of their songs and how Matt's other band will effect things in the camp.

Q: You've literally got back from the States a couple of weeks ago before heading out on this UK Tour. How did the US fans react to FFAF?
Matt: It's the largest place I've ever played in my life. Just one big gig every day. 900 mile drives every night and when we had a day off it was just driving to the next show, but the scenery was gorgeous.  For me as well it was my first time on holiday outside the UK ever. My first flight anywhere outside the UK and i'm going to the States. Every moment over there was just a camera moment and I took my films when we got back and it was like £50 to develop.

G: It was good to go over there and no-one have a f**king clue who you are. It was really nice to be able to stand on the merch table and sell your own shit for a change. You can stand on the merch table and no-one will come up to you and ask for your autograph.

Matt: It can be difficult here, that's why we lock ourselves up in the bus. But we fully appreciate the UK public and we wouldn't be where we are if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be enjoying ourselves. They're part of our extended family except they're not invited to parties and they don't get Christmas cards. It still difficult to grasp why my name on a piece of paper is so important.

Q: You'd just due to kick off this tour and a week before you found out the Movielife has split. As a band and as a fan that must have been such a worry?
Matt: In the middle of the US tour we found out about that and we were well gutted. I spoke to them a couple of weeks before at the New York show and he sounded so enthusiastic. Just to find out like that in the middle of the tour was like f**k, what are we gonna do. There's no way we could feasibly see how we could pull things together.

G: We had a list of about 30 bands we wanted to do the main support and everyone of them was unavailable. We realized that the Movielife would have sold a lot of tickets, a lot of people would have come just to see the Movielife.

Q: Last time with "Juneau" you were due to do TOTP's, but had to turn it down with Matt's illness. With official news just in that "She Drove Me..." has gone to number 20 are you doing it this time?
Matt: We lost out to Blur and The Coral this time. But I don't care, I'm not interested in selling myself. I never watch the program and every so often my father will run upstairs and shout there's a cool band on. It's like right dad, I believe you. Because we've been on tour for the last couple of months I've hardly watched any television whatsoever...

G: ...we've been on tour so much I'm starting to develop a taste for the news. On the flight back from the US they had on BBC News 24 and I was engrossed in it, just religiously following what's going on in the world.

Matt: You miss out on world events. You miss out on stuff like that. Our lives consist of just getting up, sound checking, going back to bed, playing and going to bed again. It's sad.

Q: The albums out tomorrow (Oct 13th). It must be daunting knowing that something you've spent so long working on is going to be judged on one weeks sales and a chart position.
G: Something I contributed to and wanted all my f**king life for is coming out tomorrow and I've actually really nervous about it. When was the last time you had an album? An EP maybe, but an actual album. I realize that tomorrow is everything i've worked towards in this band and bands I've been in previously.

People keep talking about this so called sell out. We've experienced a lot of things in the time since the band started and every tour you do influences you and every band you see influences you but people don't understand that you grow. If we were to write another first EP i'd be f**king embarrassed. Were lucky enough to have people that understand that, but it's the minority of people that just don't get it. For anyone that say's we stepped out of that hardcore circle, we were never really in it. They were the people that put us there, in their heads.

Matt: The faggot who though "Juneau" was a complete rip off of Saves The Day, f**k you mothef**ker. I listen to hardcore, but I don't consider us a hardcore band. I just consider us to be a rock band really. I love hardcore, metalcore, punk, emo... but I also love the Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, The Faint, The Rapture, Fischerspooner.

Q: Do you sit down now and still over analyse "Casually Dressed..." and how does that impact your ideas for the next album?
Matt: I don't think were a band that can actively just have down time. Musically speaking, we've always got ideas floating about and once this album cycle is over we can get together and knock out some good stuff. The next albums going to move us further down the line and I'm going be playing guitar on it this time.

G: We've already got ideas floating about of how we envisage it to sound. I don't think this album is missing dynamics, but it doesn't emphasize it as much as we could be. Maybe it's us being anal and I am happy with what we've got.

Matt: Us now is tired, exhausted, happy go lucky bunch of f**king faggots from Wales who wrote an album and that's the album. So it's a reflection of where we are now. In a year and a half's time it will be a reflection of where we are then - somebody will be a dad, somebody will be even more of a dad, somebody will be getting married, somebody will be single and crying about it. Probably me, the self exiled member of Funeral For A Friend.

Q: You (Matt) were talking on the FFAF message board about forming another band. Is this still happening?
Matt: It's on the back burner for the moment because of the business of FFAF, but i've got ideas that I know don't really fit into the confines of FFAF so i'm going to get some people together and work out the shit eventually. I don't want to sing in the other band cos FFAF is the only band I really want to sing in. I'm not going to limit myself to a time scale because I write stuff anyway and I listen to so many different types of ideas I really just want to branch out certain ideas and explore myself without being too rude about it.

Q: I remember reading a recent review which said you can rock with the hardest and still have the melodies of S Club. With that in mind which pop bands would FFAF cover and which popstars would you like to cover FFAF?
G: Sean Paul seems to be the new fish at the moment so i'd like to see him do "Red Is The New Black"

Matt: I wouldn't mind Girls Aloud trying to cover "This Years Most Open Heartbreak". That would be f**king hilarious trying to see the chicks gyrate to that one. Will Young covering "10.45 Amsterdam Conversations". We could cover Five or a bit of old skool with New Kids On the Block or Take That. Actually, seriously we could cover a Kylie tune.

G: We know far too many pop bands, I blame my younger sister.

Q: I was recently reading an article in Sound Nation about Welsh language pop acts. With Funeral For A Friend it's more a universal thing than country specific. Agree?
Matt: People think were f**king American on first listen. Were not flag wavers. We don't deliberately go out of our way to bring the Welshness out because I think people can tell by our accents. The British press if the worst of all - Welsh Emo Rockers - what the f*ck is that all about then? Does that mean were from f**king Wales and were crying.

Q: You're doing the Maiden tour over Europe. Looking forward to it?
Matt: I'm looking forward to meeting some European ladies. I'm going to be eagerly running through our 45 minute set and then running off stage and going into the audience. I refuse to believe that every Maiden fan is over forty. I'm making up for lost time.

G: Were all in relationships apart from Matt. It's only him who's like a dog with 10 dicks.

Matt: The thing is I'm so boring that I go to bed before everyone else. So I'm like gotta find me a woman, gotta find me a woman....but I end up with my best friend really. I think right now being in a relationship with me would be quite stressful. My relationship broke up because of this band so I'm being single for a bit now.

(Ed: Adopts unrecognizable accent) Single and fancy free. Having a laugh, holding hands with the girls next to me. Fancy a dance love. Fancy a coke or maybe a shandy...or a baby sham. Half the kids these days won't know what a baby sham is. In the immortal words of Smallie (the merch guy for Cave In):
* I'm not a bar, I don't ID.
* If they're underage, put two of them the same age together. You're 12 and you're 12. Put both of you together and your 24.

Q: When you go on your message board you must see the obsessive nature of FFAF fan's. Were you as obsessed with bands as your fans seem to be?
G: The very first date of this tour there was a girl sat outside our van at 7 in the morning. I appreciate you coming out to do it, but I can't understand it. She's was fishing at well going I'm really cold, I was like there's a cafe round the corner go and have a coffee. What's wrong with you? Are you mental?

Matt: I think the best thing about the message board is we've got a writing forum. I think that's cool. I totally stand by that. I'm all for Friendster as well - they should never make anyone pay for that.

Q: And just finally we can let you know that, without telling you the specifics, at the Best Of 2003 Issue you guys are going to do very well. In celebration of that we always ask our New Band / Artists winners to name their personal selections for Best Band Of All Time and Best New Band. Top 5 of Best Bands first?
Matt: Led Zeppelin - they're sheer f**king innovators of music

G: Sigur Ros - so much drive, so much emotion. And so much power with so little effort

Matt: Far - a band who can write so much interesting music and passionate music and not get anywhere is a crime. And a band called Lifetime because they were true innovators of melodic hardcore and punk where bands like Saved The Day ripped them off big style

Matt & G: Refused because a ground breaking band and people only really found out about them after their sad demise. I'm glad they existed because they influenced us a band and influenced other bands and without them this scene or musical avenue we've been thrown in now wouldn't exist.

Q: And your Top 5 New Bands?
G: Days In December - a london band
Matt: The Bled
G: Beyond All Reason - a band from York who are actually friends of ours
Matt: Beacher - ever though they bitch about us we still like them.

"Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation" is out now
The band tour with Iron Maiden through November
FFAF are expect to announce a headline tour for February 2004
For more info

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