With a new album in stores now and an Australian tour coming up this May, it was about time we caught up with Funeral For A Friend. Cassie Walker recently spoke with Matt from the band about the album, where the band is at currently with new members and of course the upcoming tour. Expand this post to check out the chat.
Hello Miss Walker, it’s very succinct I like where this is going.
Happy New Year, how did you bring in the New Year?
Probably more boring than what people think guys in bands do, generally just hang out with family, the cats, the rabbits. I played a successful game of Mario Kart with my 8 year old and pretty much had a vegan feast, it’s the ultimate way to spend new years.
But for someone with such a busy lifestyle, you would really value the holiday season to relax and chill out.
Last year was pretty quiet for us, I spent a lot of time at home with family and generally be normal, well whatever normal is.
It’s great, with how things are going with the band I can be normal more now then when we first started, but 2013 we are looking to ramp it up again, we’re going to be pretty busy from now on. It’s a different mindset, to be normal and at home and then to head on the road and jet set to different countries, then be home for a few days, it’s a bit of a mind fuck.
As time goes on, do you find it harder to go back on the road?
It is a little difficult, I don’t know why. I can’t really figure that one out. I think it’s a bit of a challenge once you start putting roots down, it makes it harder to pull away from it, but I think that’s generally the way it is in every walk of life, even if you’re an every day businessman. I don’t have the luxury of coming home every day to the family at 5pm but I do get a couple of weeks here and there which makes up for it.
Like you said, last year was quieter for Funeral For A Friend, but you still seem to keep yourself busy, working on a new record and going through the recruiting process again after the departure of drummer Ryan Richards, how do you feel looking back on the past year?
I think we dealt with it quite well, I think it could have been a lot more difficult than it was. I put it down to the fact that the rest of the guys in the band were really open with talking, not just about band stuff but how we feel about what we do on a personal level and I think the ability of us to move on, to get Pat Lundy in the band I think it pushed up to make the record. I think a lot of bands would have found a way not to, but we kind of knew that Ryan was going to step aside for a while and we tried to put things together in our heads, kind of hoped that maybe he wouldn’t do it or wonder how to put things into place and all the musicians in the band knew we had to get someone in who is at our level, and with Pat he’s probably the best drummer I’ve ever played with, so we’re already stoked that he is part of this family now.
With such a successful band and a strong reputation within the music scene, does this make it harder to find genuine applicants when recruiting new band members?
No. We always try to bring people in that we know, that we relate to. We’ve played with Pat before, we’ve toured with him and we knew that his personality worked best and we spent weeks and weeks and weeks on tour, sharing the same tour bus with his other band and that’s the biggest stress, we can’t really do the audition thing and you don’t know what to expect with them.
Like you said, the biggest test is to see how you work together on tour and being on a tour bus in that confine space, Pat seemed to pass that test?
Yeah, you know he’s young, he’s innocent, he sometimes says stupid things which I don’t understand and he has his own little language, which is highly questionable, it’s borderline crazy, I won’t give you any examples but a few times us guys from the band have said “you can’t say that!”, and then I get told by the other guys it’s just kids these days, that’s disgusting! He makes me laugh, not intentionally, just his enthusiasm and optimism and general naivety to a degree. He makes me see things from a different perspective, something I haven’t seen in 10 years or so, it helps me through the jaded music industry and helps me loosen up and have fun a little bit.
You’ve recently released your sixth studio album ‘Conduit’, you have been quoted saying it’s the bands most honest album to date, what was holding you back in the past?
I think self doubt. I say that in terms of my own contribution to the record, when our second singer left after the first EP we did, he brought his own work ethic to the band, he’d bring his own lyrics, I wouldn’t have to think about what he was doing, he’d just get the song and I would do my thing, he’d do his and it’d work and when he left it was up to me, so I had to carry that through and I never really felt I was confident enough to do it, which is why I would tell Ryan how to do it, “I want this part to be aggressive”, I always felt it was a bit of a cop out, I wasn’t really putting across the real heart or real emotion of the band, so when Ryan left I made the decision to stop doing things that way and I went back and listened to all those old hardcore and metalcore records and I decided with this record I would emotionally tackle these songs in the most honest way I can and try not to replicate something that I didn’t really believe in, it gets to the point where it’s breaking down. On ‘Conduit’ we did multiple takes, no breaks and I feel this the most honest record we’ve made since the first EP, because it’s a true reflection of the emotional investment in the songs and the music. We all sat around and when we had the idea of what we wanted, we literally spent hours and hours going through and reassessing why we wanted to be in a band, what made us want to be in a band. We listened to all of the records that inspired us to want to be in a band like Boy Sets Fire and Avail, the ones that formed how we are as people and we poured that into the songs. We wanted to be more of the band that we originally wanted to be, the band we started out to be, before all of the bullshit, so we just dropped ourselves in it and hoped for the best and we love it and I think it’s a real testament to the band and the direction we’re heading. If people dig the album cool, if they don’t I don’t care, I love it.
As you said, Pat who’s quite young has brought a new energy to the band. I feel the new generation have a real attitude of you only live once, do you feel this pushed you to be more honest?
To a degree yeah and also I think generationally I am different to Pat so he brings an awareness and me seeing how he lives his life, as much as I question it sometimes it’s his life. He does bring more of an open perspective and having someone come in like that really does let you in on something that you’re not totally aware of, the fact that there is a new generation, when did that happen? When did they grow up and start buying music and starting bands? It’s a bit of a wild thing to get you’re head around, but definitely having him around give me an insight to the workings of a new generation.
For a band that’s had such a long standing relationship with Australia have you had much feed back from Australian fans on the new album?
Some. I think we’re anticipating a lot more because we’ll be making our way over for the headline tour this year and we’re looking forward to putting the record out and seeing how the fans react to it when we play it live.
Thank you for the chat and thank you for always visiting us here in Australia.
No problem, you’ve got Lord Of The Fries, the best vegan fast food place that has ever existed, that’s where we are going to stay when we’re in Australia, we’ll camp out at Lord Of The Fries.
FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND
With guests RELENTLESS
8th – The Rev, Brisbane [18+]
9th – Surfers Paradise Beer Garden, Gold Coast [18+]
10th – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle [18+]
11th – Manning Bar, Sydney [18+]
12th – The Basement, Canberra [18+]
14th – Corner Hotel, Melbourne [18+]
15th – Pier Live, Frankston [18+]
16th – Fowlers Live, Adelaide [Lic/AA]
17th – Amplifier Bar, Perth [18+]
18th – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury[18+]
—> Tickets available now.
—> For more information, visit [Here].
Funeral For A Friend – Conduit
Instores now via Roadrunner Records Australia.
Available on CD [Here] and via iTunes [Here].