Funeral For A Friend – Taste Of Chaos Interview
6 November 2005
Taste of Chaos was one of the biggest and most sought after tours that the UK has seen this year. I went to speak to Ryan Richards and Kris Roberts in their dressing room before their slot to find out the latest on what the guys have been up to and what we can look forward to in the future.
E. So how is the tour going so far?
R. Yeah, got a bit of jetlag and stuff. Australia and Japan were amazing you know, they are probably the furthest away you could play and it is very different. It was the first time we’ve played in Australia.
E. What was the reception like for you there – was it very different?
K. That was kinda weird actually…of all the places we’ve been the reception we had in Australia was probably closest to what we have in England. Which kind of surprised me, yeah. In Australia it feels like – it’s the furthest place you could possibly go away, and you’re so far away but you feel really close to home. It’s just so strange.
R. It’s probably because you’re underneath!
E. So how do you think that Taste Of Chaos is going to compare to Give It A Name? Although it’s a similar set up isn’t it.
R. It is kind of, yeah, there’s the fact that it’s touring around and Give It A Name was just a one off whereas this isn’t. It’s definitely had time to gel, and it would be wrong to say it’s been better organised, but it’s been tried and tested and its a bit of a smoother-running machine which I’m sure Give It A Name will grow to be in time, but there was a few teething problems. We still had fun though.
E. Will you be watching any of the other bands tonight, do you get time to do that?
K. Well I have pretty much watched every other band that we’ve been on tour with so far. I particularly enjoyed watching Killswitch. Considering they are playing with only one guitarist…it’s absolutely ridiculous. All the bands on this tour are great you know they are all different in their own unique and exciting way.
E. Yeah, Rise Against have just started playing and they are sounding really good tonight.
R. Yeah Rise Against are amazing…so are Story Of The Year.
E. What do you miss most about home when you are away touring?
K. Probably my family, and next to my family a toilet and shower.
E. The Kerrang Awards this year were a bit of a triumph for Welsh Bands?
R. Yeah definitely
E. Are you proud of that?
K. Yeah, we definitely didn’t expect to win, especially being up against Feeder and the Stereophonics which are both massive bands.
E. There are quite a few welsh bands that have crept up into the spotlight over the past 12-18 months.
R. People are starting to give them a chance.
E. Definitely, yeah. Are there any smaller welsh bands that you have heard lately that you think may be about to burst onto the scene anytime soon?
R. There are lots, there are so many, I mean Hondo McLean have been doing it for a while now and they are really cool and have got their own following and we’ll see what they do with their next record, that’ll be exciting.
At this point Kris started talking but was rudely interrupted by one of the other band members bursting in singing and jumping around the place – The Used’s Bert McCracken, calling in to say Hey!
K. What was I saying…oh yeah, it seems like a couple of years ago, Welsh bands had to constantly go to London to try and get discovered and this year people are actually willing to travel to Wales.
R. It always has been a good scene but now people are giving it a chance.
E. As a group, what is the writing process that you go through – do you all get together and thrash it through?
R. We rip each other’s ideas apart basically!
K. On the last record some of the songs we would sit down and come up with an initial idea together, and with Monsters and History, we wrote in the studio didn’t we?
R. We sat down and wrote those together, and just a couple of songs we did like that.
K. So it’s kinda different depending on the situation we’re in.
E. Matt has been involved in other projects…
K. Has he?!! Well, they have got names, but I think that’s as far as he has got! I am sure he’s probably sat down and he has collected some ideas, but this isn’t the right moment, it’s the same for the rest of us, he has no time to do anything!
E. That ‘s actually where I was leading…are any of the rest of you interested in doing anything aside from Funeral For A Friend?
K. Definitely, I mean, both of us are big metal fans and that would be something that I wouldn’t mind doing, but I don’t know, this is my first and foremost band.
E. Plus I guess it’s difficult anyway when you have been on the road for two and a half months!
K. It’s the last thing that you want, you don’t think ‘what am I gonna do with my spare time, oh I know, I’ll start another band’!
R. We’ll see what happens over Christmas.
K. And hopefully we might get some presents! You’ve been a good boy this year!
R. Yeah, you got my list!
E. The video for History has been released…did that concept come from any family history or personal background?
R. Yeah, various members of the band as a matter of fact. It was something that was very close to us and very personal to us and I think most of us have had family members who have worked in the mines and who were involved in that. I live in the village where the tower colliery is based, which is the last open-cast mine in Europe. That was a big part of the village, so it’s very close to the communities we grew up in and our families. And it’s come out great, you know, just the way we wanted it.
E. If you were given the choice, would you rather play a small indoor venue, or a huge capacity arena or festival?
K. I think that they all have their pro’s and cons if you know what I mean, you know the small shows are always really cool and they are always really lively, they feel quite special. At the same time there’s a lot of fucking horrible things you have to deal with when you do small shows, like usually small stage space and terrible sound. It’s enjoyable to play to the audience, but the actual enjoyment of playing is probably a lot less. Big shows are less personal, but everything tends to sound better.
R. I think I’d quite like seeing a couple of thousand people jumping up and down, and to hear a couple of thousand people singing back at you is amazing.
K Probably one of my favourite shows actually, saying that, it when we did an acoustic session at Reading this year, and that was like, a hundred and twenty people, and that’s possibly one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done.
E. What was the best gig that you have ever been to see?
R. Certainly one of them is from the first year we played Donnington, and Metallica did a secret set that ended up being not that secret, and I basically, Metallica had been my favourite band, growing up they got me into metal and I started losing all faith in Metallica, and then St Anger came out and I was just totally done with them. And then they came out and did all of their classic songs that I always loved and it was just amazing.
K. And I didn’t get to see that because I was in hospital with my wife at the time, so they got to meet like, fucking, Metallica, and the guys in Iron Maiden (who I met after luckily), and Chris Cornell. Of course I would rather have been with my wife, but they (looking at Ryan accusingly) weren’t very nice!
R. She could have picked another day!
K. I don’t know, for me, probably the best show, the show I have most enjoyed going to watch would possibly be when I saw Pantera at the Ozzfest, it was the first time I saw them and I had been waiting for about six years to go watch them, so that was probably my favourite show ever.
E. How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard it before?
R. Oh fucking hell…that you would probably have to listen to at least five songs to get it, because there isn’t any one song that sums us up really.
K. What do we sound like? It’s kinda weird ‘cos we sound like Funeral For A Friend, so to describe to someone how you sound is quite difficult, you know?
R. I would call it five different personalities worshipping our heroes.
K. I like that one! We’ll have to use that more!
E. Of all the songs that you have written, which is your own favourite?
K. It’s like trying to pick a favourite child! Probably for me personally I would have History as the song that I am particularly proud of. It was something of an idea which I initially had probably about eight years ago, but I could never get it right. Then we sat down and pulled it apart and suddenly it worked, and probably to me that is the most satisfying, because I haven’t got to fucking think about it ever again!
R. I think I’m kinda the same way about that, History, probably because of the way it came together. it was one of the most natural things we have ever done.
E. If you could record any song at all, what song would you choose?
K. I wouldn’t pick anything, because we wouldn’t do it the same as what they done it…
R. We have already done enough covers, to be honest!
K. We did The Boys Are Back in Town – that’s a classic
R. Yeah and we did Sunday Bloody Sunday. We did a Bryan Adams cover once upon a time.
K. Yeah…Summer of 69, which no-one will ever hear! Everybody can search the fucking web all they want but they will never find that!
E. This will be my last question…what is going to happen with you guys in 2006?
K. World domination!
R. We are hoping to do another tour to wrap up the album early next year and hopefully bring some really cool bands with us as we always like to do. Then we’ll probably be doing the same in the other places we have been, like the States, Japan. We can think about the new record then over the summer!
E. And hopefully get a bit of time out between, this time!
K. I don’t know, it didn’t happen last time!
R. Yeah, we’ll see about that!
On that note we thanked the guys for their time and wished them a good show and went back out into the venue to enjoy an excellent show, impressed by Reggie & The Full Effect, Story of The Year, Rise Against, Killswitch Engage, The Used and of course Funeral For A Friend were on fantastic form, as always.