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Funeral For A Friend

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This article originally ran at www.subba-cultcha.com


Interview with Gareth Davies (Bass)

Into Oblivion….or Cornwall at least! Funeral For A Friend throw the best wake in town to unleash their career defining opus ‘Tales Don’t Tell Themselves“.

They say that the miles of any mans life can be measured in his eyes, and anyone watching Funeral For A Friend closely as they take to the road once again in support of their triumphant new long player Tales Dont Tell Themselves will notice that far from being the adolescent upstarts of old they carry a new found wisdom in their eyes.

Its safe to say there have been some dramatic changes in the world of Funeral For A Friend, marriage, children and the swift onset of adultism have all entered the fray, and with the release of the “difficult” third album they have ushered in phrases such as concept album, scrapped initial recordings and time out for life. Tales is a far cry from the jagged, caustic attack of Seven Ways To Scream Your Name that catapulted the band to Kerrang magazine cover status seemingly overnight, and since their sophomore album Hours was released in 2005 Funeral For A Friend have been busy slowly morphing into a euro metal Leviathan, a beast fuelled by a long lineage of classic Euro Metal, their own love of Maiden and Priest and the dynamics of modern artists such as Trivium.

They no longer ply their trade in foot to the floor screamo, now they carve panoramic, emotive, but not emo, music that will resonate as much with those screaming every word crushed against the barrier as those parents high in the stalls clutching their Genesis and Yes albums. No doubt it will elicit copies of Juneau being burnt in bedrooms across the country by true fans, but one listen to opening single Into Oblivion tells you that hundreds of thousands more will fall in love with this album in a life defining way.

Today genial bass master Gareth Davies is holed up in a London hotel room, to make matters interesting its not the hotel room anyone thinks hes in, but once tracked down hes more than happy to offer a few insights into life inside one of largest UK bands as they set sail promoting what could be their defining work.

It hasn’t been an easy process though; the bands initial attempts at recording didnt fire the imagination. “We demo’d a lot of songs but it was really Funeral by numbers. It felt like we weren’t pushing ourselves,” Davies notes of the original attempts at carving out a follow up. After initially fruitless sessions the band reconvened with renewed vigour and direction as Tales took shape under the guise of a concept album. “We werent influenced by anyone as far as doing a concept album,” professes Davies when quizzed about the likes of Mastodon and the recent resurgence in concept records. “Really, it just all started to fit. Into Oblivion (Reunion) for example was the first time that we really knew we had an opening track for a record.”

Its a highly ambitious album, and whereas ambition may make some look pretty ugly, Funeral For A Friend have managed to make this sound like a fulfilment. Tales may be a nail in the coffin of the battle between punk/emo and pop/metal that has been at the heart of FFAF since Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation, but on repeated listens this is a band stretching its not inconsiderable muscle. Its a very similar situation to Idlewild, a band who took the vibrancy and anger of youth and spat it out the length and breadth of the country before slowly morphing into the UKs REM for the new millennium. Musical trajectory is not the only similarity. Both bands have taken dramatic and deliberate steps to keep in touch with their fans, from video tour diaries and studio blogs to playing shows that would have seemed small long before they were signed, let alone after theyve been selling out Brixton Academy and Rock City.

It was in this spirit that fresh of a support tour with My Chemical Romance the band played three intimate shows in Cornwall, in such rock tour staple locations as Penzance and St Ives. Needless to say the shows were insane. “They were incredible. I mean they really were in the middle of nowhere, and it was a real Kodak moment. Looking across and seeing Kris and Darren crashing into things and throwing up behind amps. The Heat was incredibleit was crazy, a real Kodak moment,” enthuses Davies, clearly enamoured by the chance to get up close and personal with some rabid fans. How did the fans take to the new songs? “Really well, its great that we got a chance like this to warm up for our main tour though.”

It efforts like this that highlights the bands mindset, “we’re really just some working class boys“, insists Davies, and its certainly a notion thats hard to dispel. When asked about the rest of the year he notes, “well were off to America which is really exciting“. Are there any differences between the UK and US fans? “Well no ones heard of us if the States! I think they have so much choice out there and so many great bands that were just really grateful for anything. I mean that people buy our record or come out to our shows amongst everything else going on out there is amazing by itself.” A response which is typical of the self-deprecating demeanour displayed by Davies throughout our conversation. Its an attitude that will serve him well in the coming months as FFAF tour first the UK and then the States on the world famous Warped tour, as in Tales they have a career defining album that should catapult them into the hearts of every single witness to their upcoming road trip.

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Written by Jonathan

June 29, 2008 at 8:30 pm

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