Funeral For A Friend

By paul

Andy had a chat with Ryan Richards, drummer for Funeral For A Friend earlier this week.

PT: Hi Ryan, how are things in camp Funeral at the minute?

Ryan Richards: Yeah not bad at all. Things are great to be honest, we’ve got a little one-off show tomorrow up in Glasgow so we’ve been running through the set for that and a lot of old stuff we haven’t played for a while, because as you might know we’ve put a vote out for the set list for the October tour. There’s a lot of old ones on there we haven’t played for a while – it’s been challenging, but pretty exciting for us!

PT: Whose idea was the vote for the tour set list? How did that come about?

Ryan: It was myself actually. In a way it kind of makes it easier for us! We always argue about playing this song or that song. It’s good because it’s sort of a once-and-for-all perfect set in the fans eyes, I suppose. Whatever set we play has been voted for by the fans, so there you go!

PT: The votes are all in – any chance of a sneak preview of what made the cut?

Ryan: As far as the ‘big hitters’ are concerned, there’s not really any notable absences in that area. There’s quite a lot from ‘Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation’. It’s very heavy on ‘Casually Dressed…’ material actually!

PT: Next Monday sees the release of ‘Your History Is Mine’ – your ‘Greatest Hits’ as it were. You guys have had a hell of a seven years and churned out loads of material in that time. How hard was it to whittle down the tracks to put on there?

Ryan: It was really difficult to come up for a track list. What we did was instead of entering into a discussion, we did a vote for that too! We sent over to our management the tracks that we each wanted on there, then tallied them all up. We didn’t tell each other what songs we picked, so collectively I guess it’s our favourite Funeral For A Friend songs.

PT: What made you decide that now was a good time to release a ‘Best Of’? Was it a label thing? I know it’s coming out on Atlantic as opposed to your own Join Us label…

Ryan: Yeah that definitely had a part to play in it. When we left Atlantic and started ‘Join Us’ we still had the option there to go back to them. We left on good terms, and they said sometime in the future they’d like us to do a ‘Greatest Hits’ record. After Gareth left and we got Gav in, it just felt like we were moving onto a new chapter with the band. We wanted the four new songs to be part of something special so it’s kind of a mark of where we’ve been so far, but where we’re heading as well all in one neat little package!

PT: The four new tracks – when were they written and recorded? How did they come together?

Ryan: They were done back in the beginning of the year. When we got Gav into the band, there was intensive period of just learning – teaching him to play our songs. We had literally no time off up until the end of last year – we were touring all the way through, then in the New Year we went to The States and Australia and Japan. When we got back from Australia in March, we were talking about how much fun it would be to get round to recording again. It just seemed like the right time. When we got home, we started writing the new stuff – it came really easily and felt really good. The most exciting thing was that it didn’t feel too different, it still felt like us. I think for some people, the new songs sound more like us than our last couple of albums have!

PT: They’re the first four recorded tracks Gav’s featured on. Was it strange hitting the studio for the first time with the ‘new boy’?

Ryan: For me personally, not so much because it’s the third band I’ve been in with Gav. We started Hondo MacLean back in the day. A lot of people don’t know as well that Gav and Chris (our guitarist) grew up learning to play guitar together in the same class. They have very similar styles of writing, now it’s almost like we’ve got two Chris’s in the band as far as writing is concerned. With the new songs it’s hard to figure out who wrote which bits because they’ve got such similar writing styles.

PT: They all sound massive, and it’s good to hear you screaming again Ryan! Are these tracks a sign of what’s to come with Funeral For A Friend? Have you guys been writing much recently and if so, how are things sounding?

Ryan: Yeah we’ve been writing a lot. We wrote another two tracks last week and jammed out another new one today. We’ve got two or three from earlier in the year as well. We’ve got a lot of material for when we actually go into the studio to record with Romesh [Dodongoda] in January. If anything it looks like when we get to January we might have to stay in the studio a bit longer because we’ve got so much to get down! We want to get as much down and then choose the best songs from them all to go towards a new EP or maybe even a new album.

PT: Well we’ll be looking forward to that…It’s good to see hear your ‘Best Of’ isn’t a sign of you guys hanging up your instruments…

Ryan: Yeah, that’s why it was so important for us to include the four new tracks on there, so that people know this CD is as much about where we’re going as it is where we’ve been.

PT: Finally, you’ve just released the video for ‘Wrench’. I read somewhere that you personally weren’t too happy with it. Why is that?

Ryan: Yeah it is true. I’m not really keen on it, it’s just one of those things. The song has got a message behind it, and lyrically there’s things in there that isn’t represented by kids jumping round in the pub! It just seems now like a bit of a childish thing that we’re not 100% behind, but there was nothing we could do about it. Next time we’ll be a lot more hands on (which I think we usually are with our videos), I think we let go of the reigns a bit this time around.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]