My Funeral For a Friend experience began as we entered the makeshift ‘press room’ (just the quietest room that we could find quickly.) As we entered, it didn’t smell good (it was like burning) and there was a broken fan in the corner. As musicians, interviewees Matthew Davies-Kreye (vocalist) and Pat Lundy (drummer) decided to complain in song. I didn’t dare to ask what the tune was, in case it was one of their own.
Matt: It’s burning. This shit’s broken. It’s burning.
Pat: That smell is fucking…
Me: Erm… are we ready?
This interview was conducted at Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms on Sunday 3rd February 2013 for CRITICAL WAVE.
I just have to ask you to start with, because it’s the one thing you’re really not supposed to ask. When was the last time that you were asked where the name came from?
Matt: Oh, fucking hell! Come on! You can’t ask that question…
I’m not going to!
Matt: [laughs] It’s been so long now that I can’t remember, which is a good thing in my eyes, because frankly I just give them the bloody web address to Wikipedia.
Pat: I just Elton John. (NOTE: I’m not quite certain what this means. Yes, I know Elton John has a song called ‘Funeral For a Friend’, but as a verb, I wonder what that could possibly mean…)
Matt: I flat out refuse to answer that question anymore because after 11 years… come on… it’s like… if you’re into the band you could at least do a bit of research about it. So everyone, just Wikipedia the fuck out of it.
Well, at least that’s the worst out of the way.
Matt: If that was the worst then [sings D:Ream style] THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER!
You have been wanting to do that for ages. That was such gusto.
Matt: [laughs] Yeah!
So… your new album. Pat, you apparently said that it would be your heaviest yet. Yeah, I looked that up.
Pat: Looking around on Wikipedia? [laughs]
Did you make this album with that sound in mind, or is that just how things panned out?
Pat: I think it just turned out that way.
Matt: Yeah, I don’t think there was any intention for it. We had written ‘High Castles’ and kind of… we were vibing in that direction. I think that really connected with myself and Kris and Gav and Richard…
Pat: And me, man. I was practicing the shit out of that song.
Matt: He wasn’t in the band at that point and he was raping the song. It was just a direction that we felt was coming back to where we ideally would have liked the band to have gone when we started out, before other people drew us in different directions. I had been difficult to figure out where we wanted to be as a band.
Pat: It’s hard in a band. You have to take everyone into consideration when writing. It’s give or take. You might not like a certain section, but then it goes into a song, and when you play it live you no longer you might not get into it because there’s a part of the song that you fought against. For that reason, you might not enjoy that song.
Matt: I agree. I think this whole record, the mindset was, without it being a discussion between ourselves that we were going to be selfish, like every band should be really. I think if you want to be a musician, in my eyes, you have to be selfish and create music for yourself. If you can’t connect with what you do, then there is no point doing it. So that was, I guess the underlying drive to it and it ended up being very representative of our influences from…
Pat: Back in the day.
Matt: Well, not just back in the day. I’ve always loved hardcore punk and so it’s been a major part of my life, so for that to have centre stage on this record is a big deal for me.
Speaking of selfishness… it’s your shortest album by quite a margin. Again, was that your intention or did it just feel complete one day?
Matt: I think we realized very early on that some of the songs just didn’t really need to be pushed past three minutes. They didn’t need anything added to them. It just kind of felt right. We jammed a lot of these ideas when we started writing stuff. We were all sharing ideas and when we got into the rehearsal room, the energy of them just felt normal. Some of them were a bit longer. Not by much, but when we went into preproduction with Romesh (Dodangoda, record producer) he just came in and said ‘cut that out, cut that out, half that, Bob’s your uncle’, and we were like ‘cool’. I was blown away that it was under thirty minutes. It made me giddy like a little schoolboy. Finally, we had a twenty-nine minute record!
So, you are now in the middle of a UK tour. What would you say is the hardest thing about touring?
Pat: Shit food every day.
Matt: I don’t mind eating shit food. It’s food!
Pat: Alright. Just not eating what you’d normally eat.
Matt: For me, I guess as you get older and stuff… I’ve got roots back at home and it gets a bit tougher to leave and have a regular, normal life, I guess to a degree. We don’t have this massive weird rock lifestyle or anything. We’re just normal people who play music.
Pat: Matt trashes out on his day off.
Matt: I did. Did a dump run. Fed the cats. Fed the rabbits. Cleaned up. Put the dishes in the dishwasher. Did the laundry.
Pat: Lots of faeces just flying around.
Cats and rabbits? That’s very cute.
Matt: I’ve got five cats and two rabbits. And a wife and a mortgage and everything that goes along with that. I’ve got a second-hand fucking Vauxhall Astra Estate that’s always breaking down on me. I think that that’s the hardest thing, to leave it behind, especially when we’ve had so much time like last year when we were recording and didn’t do many shows at all. You’ve got a lot of time to be at home. In retrospect, the anticipation of getting on tour was lingering in my head, and with this record on the way, the feeling as a band was really driving me. A new-found excitement for touring, which has been evident on these shows. Family stuff is hard to leave behind.
Pat: But it’s doable.
Matt: Well, yeah. It’s not gonna last forever.
Considering that excitement will you be disappointed or relieved when the tour is over?
Matt: Maybe a bit of both, but we’re so busy. After this tour, we’ve got four days off and then we go to bloody mainland Europe, to do ten days worth of traveling.
Pat: It’s enough time for you to do your laundry.
Matt: Then we go to Russia and Australia and stuff, so we’re pretty busy. That’s the thing about having records out across the bloody globe. You’ve got fans in every corner of the world. You’ve got to make sure you go there and support the record in as many places as possible.
Are there still countries calling for you, saying ‘Oi! Why haven’t you played here yet?’?
Matt: Well, the USA recently because we haven’t been there in about four years. There’s some places in South America which we’ve been meaning to go to at certain points but have never managed it, like Mexico and Chile. They’ve been calling. Brazil wants us to come back again…
Pat: The country rang the other day. “Hello, it’s Brazil.”
Matt: I’d like to go down to South America. We went there once to do a festival, but I would like to go down there and do our own shows. Even places in the Middle East. We’ve got fans in the Middle East who have wanted us to come over and play. I’d like to go over and play.
Pat: Damn straight.
Inevitably, I took to my friends to ask whether they had any questions for Funeral For a Friend…
Pat: Crazy question time…
Exactly. Well, these are the ones that I’m allowed to ask.
Pat: Oh, do the ones you aren’t allowed to…
Who should play you in a biopic?
Matt: Easy. Daniel Radcliffe! Piece of piss. Put a pair of glasses on him…
Pat: Yeah, I’d say Daniel Radcliffe. I’m not going to say my one.
Matt: Henry Rollins. He was in some stuff in the Nineties.
Pat: He upset me at Sonisphere. He scared the fucking shit out of me. I went over to say ‘hey’ and he was like [evil stare and moan] ‘I’m eating breakfast’.
Matt: Well, he’s Henry Rollins. His breakfast is important. So is mine.
Speaking of breakfast, this question has become a bit of a mainstay. If your music were a food, what would it taste like?
Matt: Oh Christ… very weird, because you’ve got one vegan, two vegetarians and two carnivores, so it would be a very odd food.
Pat: It would be ‘fake-on’ I guess. Fake-on strips.
Matt: Yeah, fake bacon.
That’s what I have to put up with at home, as my mum is a vegetarian.
Pat: It’s a girl thing.
[Matt sticks middle finger up at Pat]
Are you a vegetarian by any chance Matt?
Matt: I’m a vegan.
Ah, hence the middle finger at Pat.
Matt: There are middle fingers everywhere. My middle finger’s always up.
Pat: We just spontaneously flip the bird all the time.
If you care, the nasty ones are always ‘will you marry me?’ and penis size.
Matt: I’ve had ‘will you marry me’ a few times, and I always have to say ‘no, I have a family’.
Pat: And I’m a solid 7.
Well… if there is anything you want to preach to readers, then here is your chance.
Matt: Don’t do drugs.
Pat: Stay in school.
Matt: To anyone who has bought the record, thank you very much. We appreciate it. If anybody has come out to see us live on this tour, we very much appreciate it as well. And I guess we will see everybody at some point in the not-too-distant future for a second round of touring for this record.