Interview – Leeds Refectory 30 June 2005
Now you will notice that this month’s zine features my review of two of the recent FFAF tour dates…well Ben and I caught up with ace drummer Ryan Richards a couple of hours before he took to the stage for the Leeds show for a chat about the tour, the Hours album and each other. We were ushered onto the tour bus an hour behind schedule (things were a bit hectic, Matt and Darran had both been mobbed by fans outside earlier and previous interviews had run late), as Gareth stood outside having a smoke with a pal and enjoying the peace since the doors had opened a half hour earlier and the crowds had disappeared. We were directed upstairs to find Ryan and his playstation perched on the comfortable leather interior. We were introduced and shook hands with a very friendly and welcoming Mr. Richards, exchanged pleasantries and pressed on with the interview.
E. We all know what roles each band member plays musically within Funeral For A Friend, but what role would you say each of you has on a personal level within the group?
R. I would say that I am the joker of the band, but I guess that we would all say that! I think Kris is the intense one, Darren is the wiser one being the eldest, Gareth is the excitable zany one and Matt, well Matt is just the odd one!
E. Have the last ten days or so been a whirlwind for you? The album is selling like hotcakes and you’re well into the tour, did you imagine that it would be so well received and so quickly too?
R. Yes, it’s been great just to get the new material out there and heard, it’s so different from our last album. We wouldn’t be really upset if it didn’t do so well because it reflects where we all are at this stage but it has been brilliant so far.
E. There is virtually no screaming on the new album, was that an intentional thing or did it just happen that way?
R. It wasn’t really intended that way, we just felt that the screaming wasn’t really needed with the feel of this album. We didn’t just want to put it in there for the sake of it if it doesn’t fit. It actually puts me off some other bands when they do that…not mentioning any names though! The earlier EP had a lot more screaming because the tracks were much heavier and fast and furious.
E. How have your family and friends reacted to some of the new tracks, there are some really personal songs.
R. The album really reflects what has been going on in our lives over the past two years so they already knew what we have all been through, so I don’t think they were surprised to hear it coming out in the songs. I think that some of the lyrics are quite obvious so everyone will get them and know what they relate to but then there are a lot of cryptic lyrics in there too which some people including some of the fans will get, and some won’t.
E. How have you enjoyed touring with Bullet For My Valentine so far?
R. It’s been great, we have all known each other for about ten years, back in Wales we all played within different bands in the circuit so it’s really good to all tour together and to see them doing really well after all this time. They have been working really hard for years so they deserve it.
B. Has there been a lot of craziness, are there any funny stories from being on the road?
R. Oh there is always something crazy going on…It’s mad enough when there are five welsh men together on the road, never mind when there are nine!
E. Did you enjoy the Give It A Name show? Did you get the chance to hang out with any of the other bands?
R. Yeah it was good to see some of our old friends. We had just flown in that day so we were all a bit tired and we had to just get straight in there. Some of the other guys are good friends of ours – Coheed and Cambria, Finch, and Alexisonfire are good friends of ours.
E. What are your planned once the UK tour has ended – will you get any down time or are you taking the tour overseas?
R. Oh no, we won’t get any down time at all! We are doing the Warped Tour, then we have Leeds and Reading Festivals and the Taste of Chaos tour which we are doing all over, including Japan. Then we’ll be doing a US tour and going to places like Germany etc.
E. You’ll be absolutely knackered by the end of the year then!
R. Yeah, yeah we definitely will be!
E. What happened with you guys being the mystery guest at Download this month – were you pulled in at short notice and did you replace Motley Crue?
R. Ha ha, I think the Motley Crue thing was just a product of the rumour mill! We always knew that we wanted to play Download and so we made sure we could do that, and we got to see some other great bands there too.
(At this point Kris came sneaking into the room on tiptoes mouthing ‘sorry” and grinning as he looked for something on the table between Ryan and us).
E. I know that Matt has been doing some publicity for the Kerrang and Samaritans Rock For Life Campaign – is that something that you have all been involved with?
R. Yes, we all thought that it was something great that we could all get behind, there are a lot of celebrities supporting the campaign. We have all designed some wristbands for the campaign, I think it’s a great thing to get involved with.
E. Finally, what music do you like to listen to – do you have a favorite band at the moment or are there too many to choose from?
R. Oh there are loads that I like! I think it would be hard to choose an actual favorite as it changes all the time as I see and hear more bands. I think we all really like the old classics – Metallica, Pantera, ACDC.
B. What do you think of Trivium? I think they are brilliant.
R. Oh god yeah I think they are really great. When I first heard them I though they were technically brilliant and then Ii heard how old they were! They were only sixteen at the time and they were amazing! I know the Bullet guys really love Trivium and they have met them quite a few times.
Cue more Trivium appreciation between Ben and Ryan…we then thanked Ryan for his time and let him go as the interview was an hour behind schedule anyway. Ryan thanked us and we had a couple of cheeky photos before shaking his hand and saying our goodbyes. On our way downstairs we bumped into a surprised looking Matt Davies who was just coming onto the bus, and exchanged ‘ello’s as we passed.
(This also appeared in August 2005, issue 9)