As one of the last remaining bastions of the British hardcore scene, Funeral for a Friend keeps re-inventing itself from record to record. Their next opus Chapter And Verse will be released through Distiller Records on 19th January 2015 – a follow-up of their vivid and aggressive record Conduit – and is one of the most anticipated releases in Alternative music next year.
Recorded in two weeks with Lewis Johns (Gnarwolves, Goodtime Boys), Chapter And Verse is described as one of the most sonically diverse records the band has ever made featuring unapologetically political lyrical content.
Vocalist Matthew Davies-Kreye talked to us about the visceral first single ‘You’ve Got A Bad Case of The Religions’, the recording process, the sound of Chapter and Verse, fundamentalism, and the state of the post-hardcore scene.
AltWire [Melissa Wilke]: You are offering Chapter And Verse in many different bundles for pre-order including cassette. Despite the fact that many of your fans probably had to buy a cassette deck first, they were sold out very quickly. Is it important to offer diverse bundles in the times of digital downloads and streaming platforms such as Spotify?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: Yeah, the tapes really surprised me, but it also puts a smile on my face a little. The vinyl has also been doing really well. I think people are getting more into the idea of something physical. It’s way more relatable than an MP3 file. In terms of the bundles, I guess it’s like a shot in the dark, you’re not really sure what people are going to go for which is why we kept it simple. We learned a lot from previous Pledge campaigns about what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes I think bands put themselves too far out there and that can hurt and come back on you in a negative way. We had a first-hand taste of that, but luckily we learned from it and decided to purely use Pledge to host the pre-sale for Chapter And Verse.
AW: You recorded the album at The Ranch with Lewis Johns. Was there a very particular reason why you chose him as a producer? Did you try out some new techniques during the recording process?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: We chose Lewis because of his work with his band Goodtime Boys and the bands Sharks, Gnarwolves, etc. What I love about him is that he’s a songwriter and a musician and he comes at ideas from the same perspective as you, not necessarily the same place but he can relate. His ideas of using different amplifiers, effects, etc for the record really gave a whole different sonic structure to the record that we have never had. It’s stripped right back to the core elements of our band and it’s recorded live which gives this huge sense of immediacy and energy which we’ve been trying to capture for years.
AW: The album title “Chapter And Verse” is very intriguing because it connects the fragments of prose with fragments of lyricism. How does it describe the album?
Do you have a very particular vision for Chapter And Verse? What do you want it to express?
MDK: I guess it relates to the album in a way of it being like a series of short stories entwined with motifs that relate to each other in small, thematic, or literate ways. There is no concept as a whole, it’s more like a scrapbook of emotional wreckage poured over music.
AW: Can you describe the sound of the record? How does it differ from your previous releases?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: It’s stripped back and live sounding. It’s not a compressed to shit metal record, it’s organic and dirty and you can feel the sweat, blood, and emotion in it. It’s sonically, our most intense record and it might take people a few listens to ‘get it’ compared to the rock bombast of say ‘Tales’ or even ‘Casually Dressed’. It’s probably got more in common with ‘Between Order and Model’ on a sonic level.
AW: Can we expect any surprises?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: Not really, not in the way that there’s a rap song or a duet with Taylor Swift on there.
AW: Why did you choose “You’ve Got a Bad Case of the Religions” as the lead single off Chapter And Verse?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: There was no big meeting over it, we just went with what we felt was a good song to kick off things with, it’s energetic, got some killer vibes and melodies in it and it’s a statement of intent. I don’t think it’s the ‘very best’ song on the record, but it’s a good opening salvo.
AW: Fundamentalism has been a political issue for quite some time now, but with ISIS on the rise it is particularly current. Is the song a first taste of why the album is described as “unapologetically political”?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: I wrote the lyrics and the title for this way before the events in the middle east came to the forefront so it’s not a view on fundamentalism as such it’s more of an exploration of my own love/hate relationship over the course of my life with organized religion. As for the album as a whole, it runs the extreme of political and personal but it’s very closely entwined. I’m not one for soapbox grandstanding, but over the years and especially as I’ve gotten older, more and more things piss me off (especially political and social) and these peeves find their way into my words. If you don’t like it or don’t agree, then I couldn’t really give a shit.
AW: Did you intend to make a political statement with Chapter And Verse even before you started working on it or did you realize at some point that your new material is going in this certain direction?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: I never ‘intend’ to do anything other than vent my frustration, I think I’ve been leaning more into the social/political stuff from our very first EP (check The Art of American Football…) but it really started hitting out around the Hours record. I don’t think they’re statements, more viewpoints.
AW: Will you share another new song before the album is released?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: Yeah, we’ve got two more that we’re going to subject everyone to before the album comes out.
AW: Do you think the post-hardcore scene is in a good place right now? What has changed since your early days as a band in 2001?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: In some ways, yes and some ways no. I see a lot of bands that get lumped into a scene that doesn’t make sense to me. I also see lots of bands just not really giving a shit about what they’re saying or what attitudes they’re endorsing because they’re following a stereotypical ideal about what a rock band is supposed to be. I’m all for political correctness, but on the flip-side that too can get out of control so for me about 90% of the ‘post-hardcore’ or whatever you call it doesn’t make any sense to me at all.
AW: Are there any new bands you want to recommend to our readers?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: Sure, check out The Tidal Sleep from Germany, our friends Goodtime Boys, Creeper, Landscapes, Grader, Svalbard, Pariso, Bastions, Vales, Crows An Wra, Boxkite…so many incredible bands in the UK right now.
AW: Early next year you’re going to embark on a tour through Europe and the UK. Are you excited to play some new songs?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: Of course, we’re always excited to play new stuff.
AW: What has been the craziest moment during one of your live shows so far?
Matthew Davies-Kreye / Funeral For a Friend: Getting to stand on stage and play to a room of people who for some reason find a connection to what we do, will always be crazy to me.
FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND UK HEADLINE TOUR:
15 Jan Bristol, The Fleece
16 Jan Birmingham, Institute
17 Jan Manchester, Gorilla
18 Jan Glasgow, King Tuts
19 Jan Newcastle, Riverside
20 Jan Leeds, University
22 Jan London, Electric Ballroom
23 Jan Southampton, 1865
FURTHER UK DATES:
28 Nov Cheltenham, 2 Pigs
29 Nov Rugby, The Vault
30 Nov Wrexham – Comic Con After-party
18 Dec Cardiff University (Xmas show)
19 Dec Frome, Cheese & Grain