When talking about the legacy of Funeral For a Friend once they end their fifteen years together and walk off stage for that final time, Matt Davies-Kreye has some trouble with the idea. “Legacies belong to bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. It’s hard for me to fathom answering that question without me in my head sounding like a cock!”
It’s maybe this humble nature of just making and playing music for their own passions that is one of the key factors why Funeral For A Friend have stood the test of time while many peers disbanded for a slew of reasons. They made music, it was good music, and, whether or not they planned on it, there is a definite impact that they’ll leave in the country’s music scene.
“If I had to choose anything,” he continues, “being true to yourself and forging your own path, not following trends and not caring what people think. Following whatever excites you creatively – if you follow that then if they get that from us then, that’d be awesome.”
For them, being true to themselves meant calling it a day when they felt they had come full circle with ‘Chapter and Verse’. What was it about this album that felt like the journey had come to that point? “I think for me, it was the root,” explains Matt. “It was really rediscovering the root of where our came from, the acknowledgement of that is when we realised there was nowhere else for us to really go.
“In my head it felt like when we finished that record that this is it; I think we all kind of felt it and didn’t know how to articulate it. It felt like this really reconnected with the fans, the music, the scene that inspired me to even consider picking up a microphone or writing or expressing myself or picking up a guitar. It’s very much a record born from the kind of 90s hardcore that I grew up with and some of the guys in the band adopted from being in the band with me playing them incessantly. So, it had that effect and it feels a very selfish Matt Davies record, really, but everybody was totally into it.”
Now that we know ‘Chapter and Verse’ is the last stop on this particular journey and can look back on all those albums before it, how do they fit in? “Every one is different,” notes Matt. “They’re a signpost along the way. For me, the album that I love with all my heart from start to finish is ‘Hours’. That is the purest thing I think Funeral For A Friend have ever done as a whole. It’s always going to be my little baby. Everything else really pales in comparison!” he jokes.
“‘Casually Dressed’ I love, but I wish we could have avoided putting EP songs on it and maybe had more time to put a full record out. I love ‘Hours’ because it feels like the first record where everything was written from scratch. Everything else is kind of an exploration, a breakdown of aspects of what we do and what we like musically. ‘Tales’ – that was done through burnout and ‘Memory’ was from a rush before our record label put out our best of.
“Everything else had a place where it was an analysis of where we were at a particular time. There were certain things happening and it was kind of like we were reflecting on those records at that time. The road that we travelled in those years was quite a varied, interesting, pretty bumpy road that taught us a lot.”
It didn’t just teach them, but hoards of fans in music. Creeper and Moose Blood are but two who supported the band when they were in their early days; whether or not they intended it, Funeral were becoming a band who actively shaped the bands many of their fans went on to love. “I mean, we’re fans of music first and foremost,” he notes. “We spent a few years out in the wilderness not really caring about who we took. It wasn’t until the last five or so years that we really made the effort to try and get more involved in the scene again. Having friends who played in bands, I just paid more attention. I shut myself off for the longest time, you know life was just fucking nuts, and then I started going to shows and seeing bands play and seeing the simplicity and honesty of the hardcore scene again, I realised how stupid I was to even try leave it behind.
“I’m kind of glad in terms of the choices of bands I invited to play with us; the people who were working with us, whoever we wanted to play with they were cool with. We’ve played with everybody. A lot of US bands we have brought over like Major League and Such Gold, that blows my mind because we speak to these people and we have friends in these bands and I never once thought that our band would be a band that people would care about. It’s been very much a humbling experience to sit down with these amazing musicians, and talents, and amazing human beings and they flat out say this record you put out changed my life. Fucking hell, that’s mental. I imagine that’s how Walter Schreifels felt when I told him how much Quicksand meant to me.
“I never thought for once we would be in a position to be this way, but I have always felt like that is something that is inherently important, to share opportunities. I don’t want to play with pompous ignoramuses who play cock rock and fuck everything that moves, slam down bottles of whisky every night and get fucked and not give shit. That’s so far removed from what I ever want to be or our band to be associated with. We wanted real, we wanted reality and the bands we have been lucky enough to play with over the last 4-5 years have just been hugely inspirational in their own right to us.”
When it comes to their final shows, they’re starting to get a sense that they’re saying goodbye bit by bit, venue by venue, in this musical suit at least. “It’s a very difficult thing to articulate because it’s not like we all start breaking down and blubbering and crying. It’s kind of a beautiful thing because everybody got together and was singing way louder than me, I found myself stopping and just looking at the audience and looking over the dudes in the band and was like ‘this is fucking it’. I’ll never be in this place and doing it on this stage, when you think about it that way it’s a bit shit but it’s also cool because people were having a good time, dancing, singing and that’s how it should be.”
With other directions, musical and otherwise, on the cards for the band, this is but the end of one big chapter of their lives, not the end. “It’s like a closure,” says Matt. “I would like to say quite simply whatever level of a shit you have given about our band, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Words cannot really express how thankful we are to those who have given a shit about what we do.”
Taken from the April issue of Upset – order your copy here.