On tour to promote their new album, Welsh rockers Funeral For A Friend rolled into the small market town of Bury St Edmunds. We caught up with guitarist Gavin Burrough to find out a little more about the album and what brought the band to Suffolk.
Bury St Edmunds is the 6th date of the tour, we wondered how the other 5 nights had been.
"Yeah its been good. Nice to get to, you know play new material, and its been quite a while since we've toured so its nice to get the ball rolling. It feels like we've picked up momentum with each show so yeah, its been good"
In recent press releases about the tour the band have been quoted as wanting to 'get up close and personal, sweaty and an in your face environment' is that something that they've achieved so far?
"Indeed, well we are playing quite smaller places than we normally play on this tour so its kind of nice when you've done, when you can see peoples eyebrows, the hairs on their heads - the whites of their eyes, it makes it a lot more intimate and you kind of get to feed off the crowd when they're right up in your face rather than being about 10 metres away so, we are enjoying it. [It is] Smelly sometimes" he laughs
The Apex in Bury St Edmunds is a brand spanking new, purpose built venue that opened at the beginning of October 2010, what was the bands verdict on the new building?
"Ahh amazing, we were just saying today like, its not many, if any venues that are this kind of, well equipped. Its brand new isn't it? Its only like 6 months old or something."
So what made them pick Bury St Edmunds over the likes of Cambridge and Norwich?
" I couldn't tell you that to be honest," he laughs, "That was down to our agent really. I think we kind of wanted to play loads of places like gett in every kind of nook and cranny in the UK, so playing places like Bury, Durham, Saltash, like a load of places we've never been before so its nice to kind of expand out a bit rather than just playing the major cities."
So clearly Funeral For A Friend are enjoying themselves on this tour, we asked how they are getting on with the support bands Tiger Please and Rise To Remain.
"Yeah, they're like, Rise To Remain we did a tour in Europe with them last year with Bullet For My Valentine, and they're on the same management company as us so, we kind of know them really well, and the Tiger Please boys are from Wales. Our drummer Ryan actually manages their band so its kind of like a big family on tour, everybody's having a laugh and were all friends."
Are they all on buses together or…?
"We're on a bus, we travel in luxury, they're in a van." he chuckles
Bury St Edmunds is a town steeped in history, had Gavin had a chance to look around at all?
"Yeah, yeah, I've been. I'd forgot I'd been here once before. I played in my old band, it was years ago and it just clicked as I walked out in to the little square and I was like 'I've been here before' yeah no it's a lovely town. Nice and quaint"
Moving on to their latest album Welcome Home Armageddon was released on the 14th of March, the band are quoted to have described it as 'a fist in the face followed by a kiss on the cheek' Is that something Gavin does often then?
"Yes." he laughs "No not the fist in the face, I'd miss I'm too clumsy! Nah its just kind of, an analogy really of the kind of aggression but its also kind of juxtaposing a melody and softness as well."
How have the shows audiences reacted to the album? Are they singing along already?
"Yeah, its nice, to get up close and personal, and people have been singing along with the new songs and along with the old ones as well, so its been a really good vibe so far."
When asked to explain a little more about the record Gavin laughed and said "Its amazing, it's the best record ever."
Which also seemed to be the general opinion of the slowly growing crowds of fans outside of the venue.
"I hope so. I suppose you've got to, you approach each record as it comes. I think its kind of well known that maybe our last records weren't as well received as the first 2 and we're aware of that, and we wanted to kind of maybe make up for the kind of elements that were missing before, so we've come back a lot more aggressive on vocals and guitar kind of lead things. But also kind of tried to move things on a bit as well so, its kind of paying homage to the first 2 albums but in a more modern and up to date way."
So you're pleased with it then?
"Yeah, ecstatic. Its when you've created something, then you're obviously going to be kind of a bit bigging it up I suppose and its probably like no ones going to diss their own band, but honestly, I think this is one of the best records released - kind of modern rock records, at this moment in time so yeah I'm proud to be part of it."
What was your inspiration for this record?
"For this record, I suppose your inspiration comes from all around you really. Your friends, other bands. I suppose if you're really aware of what you're influenced by then its plagiarism isn't it? So you can't pretend that its original." he replied laughing.
Are there any favourite tracks?
"I kind of chop and change. Like I listen to them and I'm kind of 'oh I like that one', 'I like that one', but the one that from the writing side of things was the most interesting that we wrote, was a track called Medicated which is probably the softest track on the album. Normally someone comes up with an idea and its quite extensive, it'll have an order to it and have a lot of riffs. But with this idea I had a bass skeleton, I had like the chords for the chorus and the chords for the verse and I recorded it. I didn't think much of it to be honest. I didn't think we'd stick with it and work it, but I recorded it, in my flat along with the drummer Ryan and Chris and Boucher the bassist were there. I just went in the other room then made a cup of coffee and they were in there working on their bits, and I walked in and heard it and thought 'cool' and then Matt did his vocals over it and it was done. It was a weird way to write a song doing it that way. Normally its kind of, you do it together, but yeah it was kind of nice watching it evolve."
Funeral For A Friend have been around since 2001, what changes have they seen to the music industry and the Rock/Emo scene? Do they even like being called Emo?
"If you wanna call us that, everything has to have a label doesn't it? Our sound kind of transcends a lot of different genres like we mix up a lot of things. Emos become more of a fashion thing now as well hasn't it? Emotional music, all music is emotional, so yes Emo. What was the question?" He laughed
Changes in the music industry?
"Yeah well I think everyone's realised now that people aren't buying as many records as they were before because its so easy to just steal them off the internet. We've had to kind of change the way we work, so we don't really make that much of our earnings off the record we get it off merch and live shows , but I suppose there's nothing you can do about it now."
Is that something that annoys you?
"Yeah a little bit. I suppose its just the culture, I guess people just expect it for free now because they've had it for free. But then you wouldn't be able to go in Tesco's and pick up a bottle of wine and walk out with it would you. But then I suppose if somebody walked into Tesco's and they said 'pay for that bottle of wine or you don't have to pay for it' you'd probably say no [to paying for it] wouldn't you? So as long as the option is there for people to do it they'll do it. But I think there's a good proportion of people who like to support bands and buy stuff so hopefully they'll keep on buying our stuff."
What's up next for Funeral For A Friend?
"Doing this big old tour of the UK for the next 3 weeks, and then we are off to Europe for a month and then festivals in the summer. A few of them, we are doing Download, Sonisphere in Italy, just loads of festivals and more touring."
Sounds like a really good summer!
"Yeah, lovely! And then America and Australia later in the year so hopefully I'll have a lovely tan! I've just been to South Africa and I might lose my tan now. I'm like no I need my tan!"
And finally, we chatted to some of the fans waiting outside the venue and asked them if they had any questions for Gavin.
If you could ride on to the stage on any animal what would it be?
"A lion. A tame one though so it wont bite my arm off." he laughs
What's your favourite band?
"My favourite band? It changes, who shall I say? Who's my favourite band at the moment?"
Who did you last buy?
"I bought a new band Lower Than Atlantis, then I'd probably say The Smiths."
Are you going to be recording anything like your older music?
"Yes. We just have," he laughs "Come on."
The new album Welcome Home Armageddon is available now