Funeral Shakes : An Ode To The Jilted

We speak to Funeral Shakes as they launch their self-titled debut album

Funeral Shakes : An Ode To The Jilted

By Penny Bennett

Feb 14, 2018 9:08

With members from Smoking Hearts, Gallows and Nervus, Funeral Shakes bring us their self-titled debut album on February 16th. We spoke to Calvin Roffey and Simon Barker about how it all began.

Created from a love of playing music and wanting to head in a different direction to their previous bands, Simon and Calvin took it upon themselves to bring these ideas to life and worry about forming the rest of the band later on.

Calvin explains, “We, mostly Simon, had a bunch of ideas that weren’t really Smoking Hearts sounding ideas, and we sort of sat around the house one day thinking ‘these are really good songs, we should do something with them!’ and it sort of took life from there.”

“Yeah,” agrees Simon. “Also we did ten years in that band and we wanted to try something a bit different. We’ve been playing heavy music for a long time and we still love it, but we wanted to try something else.”

Half a band, a drum machine, and some demos led to casual conversations with Lee Barratt from Gallows and Em Foster from Nervus, who just happened to play the missing instruments. “So purely by accident we kinda ended up with a full band,” notes Calvin. “It was really lucky, because we don’t really know anyone.”

More out of necessity than anything else, Calvin took the spotlight with lead vocals, and Funeral Shakes were complete. “We’ve sung before in previous bands, although it wasn’t a melody based band to any extent, but we have done backing vocals and stuff so we just thought, fuck it, we’ll just do it.”

“It’s a bit of a weird one,” says Calvin “I’m still growing into it I think. I’m still finding my comfort zone.”

The band profess that the album is an “ode to the jilted, heartbroken and beaten, who have the sheer will to pick themselves up and carry on,” and listening to the lyrics you can hear they come from a personal place.

They cover a range of less-than-cheerful topics that all of us have likely experienced at some point, but they manage to do it in an upbeat and fun way. “It’s kind of like a breakup album, but it’s not that straightforward. It’s like a relationship breaking up, a band breaking up,” explains Simon.  “I just feel like literally just write about whats on your mind, there’s no concept. It is what it is.”

‘You’re so bad,’ is especially personal to Calvin, including the line ‘Together we cried, the day that Bridget died.’ He takes us through the story of a friend of an ex-girlfriend who passed away on her birthday. “She drowned in a swimming pool. It always resonated with me that even though myself and the girlfriend had broken up, weirdly we both mourned Bridget in the same way at the same time. So even though we were a long time separated, it kind brought us together in a different way.”

It was important to Calvin to find a way to express that sentiment in song. “She was a really good person. She was one of those people you know that even if you don’t see them for 5 years or whatever, whenever you see them you know you’re going to have the best time of your life. That was Bridget.”

Funeral Shakes’ sound is a real departure from their previous bands, resting somewhere amongst Weezer, Rocket From The Crypt, Captain Everything, Mrs Magician, Against Me! and The Bronx.

It owes a lot to the songwriting process, where the band drew from a wide range of their personal tastes to help build a new sound. “We definitely had a ‘I like that bit from this band’ and ‘that’s cool from there’ and ‘have you heard this by this band?'”

Along with the different styles and influences, the band have also captured a range of moods, resulting in a mixture of songs perfect for enjoying live, or by yourself, dancing around the kitchen. “I always think which songs I enjoy playing the most vs which songs I like listening to most,” says Calvin.

“I really like listening to ‘Bon Voyage’ – I think that might just be because it was one of the songs we wrote that was almost a little bit different to the others. It was a little piece that we put with another little piece from somewhere else, and we kind of linked them all together, whereas songs like ‘Soap’ and ‘You’re So Bad,’ both came together quite obviously.”

Although it’s like asking a parent to choose a favourite child, Simon does have a particular standout moment from the record: “I think ‘Lightning,’ is maybe the song that I’m most proud of. The way it flows, the lyrics, everything.”

When it comes to fitting in Funeral Shakes around everyone’s other band schedules, it’s down to a need to get in front of as many new faces as possible. “You know you don’t get anywhere without playing shows, so I think we just want to try and play as many as we can and put our product in front of as many people that can see it. Try and make people like us a bit.”

Funeral Shakes self titles debut will be available February 16 via Silent Cult.  You can also catch them at the following UK dates.

14 LONDON The Old Blue Last w/ Lirr + Wild Cat Strike
15 WATFORD LP Cafe w/ Bogans + Storm Harbor
23 HUDDERSFIELD Parish w/ Mr. Shiraz
24 STAFFORD Red Rum w/ Sonic Boom Six
25 NORTHWICH Salty Dog
02 CORBY The White Hart w/ Loose Tooth + Ex-Pets
04 BRIDGEWATER Cobblestones
06 DARWEN Sunbird Records
07 GLASGOW Broadcast
08 DONCASTER Woolpack
09 MANCHESTER Night People
10 LONDON Thousand Island
11 BRISTOL The Louisiana
24 LONDON The Underworld*
25 LONDON The Underworld*
26 LONDON The Underworld*
27 LONDON The Underworld*

* w/ Cancer Bats + Death by Stereo