The post-hardcore genre has had quite a shift in dynamics across its now extensive history. Of more recent times, this field of music has suffered through tragic loss and unfortunate expansion, the latter due to the glut of mediocre acts that refer to themselves as post-hardcore (Attack Attack! anyone?).
Rewind a decade or so and post-hardcore bands were part of a global phenomenon emerging from the punk and hardcore worlds. As major labels moved to sign any outfit previously popular in the club and basement scene, the post-hardcore explosion saw the rise of many bands being redirected and marketed for commercial cut-through. For example, can anyone remember Thursday being touted as “the next Nirvana”?
It’s enough to cause a band to fold, but not UK natives Funeral For A Friend, who have just released their sixth studio album Conduit. From vocalist Matthew Davies-Kreye’s point of view, to be even considered in the same breath as bands like Thrice, Poison the Well and Thursday is more than an honour, negating the fact his own band are still going strong while those acts have since disbanded.
“Not that I would really label us any specific genre per se, but to be considered amongst Thrice and Thursday as a band of that significance is pretty amazing to us,” Davies-Kreye says. “Thursday’s Full Collapse is a record that influenced us and one we still hold in high regard and it’s sad that those bands are no longer around today – we do have some amazing memories of that time, that’s for sure.”
Given such humility, it’s easy to forget that just how big Funeral For a Friend have been, definitely one of the most hyped post-hardcore bands in the world, accomplishing tours with Iron Maiden, top-twenty singles, international festival appearances and a spot on a major label. Still, Davies-Kreye remains overwhelmingly polite and thankful for any attention.
Conduit does find FFAF returning to a previous sound, to a degree, but this writer is not referring to the Hours or even Casually Depressed And Deep In Conversation days. No, the urgency and intensity found on record number six is similar to the band’s EP days, namely Four Ways To Scream Your Name.
“We have had a lot of member changes and when we lost Ryan [Richards, drummer and heavy vocalist] we had to really consider what the future of the band was going to be,” Davies-Kreye explains. “When we found Pat [Lundy, drummer], it was a rejuvenation and it felt like a restart in a way, so we got back to our beginnings and we were inspired by the hardcore bands we used to love when we were writing.”
Did this affect the recording process?
“I don’t think we approached recording too differently,” Davies-Kreye says. “We have always recorded with a live feel, and that comes across in Conduit really well. Even when we recorded with Terry Date, we still made sure it had a live-sounding approach, because we want to be able to play our songs in that capacity. We are just excited to be back to the intimate nature of club shows.”
A more exciting prospect is that these five Welshmen will be undertaking their longest Australian tour yet, in May, a tour Davies-Kreye says has him more excited than any stadium tour or festival experience the band have experienced prior.
“Every time we have toured Australia, it has been with a festival or just for a quick-fire visit – six shows in five days and then back to the UK,” he says.
“This time we are visiting more cities in different venues to what we have done before. I’m so excited to see more of the country and play longer sets to people
who want to see us; it’s going to be really special.”
On hearing his description of the upcoming tour, Matt sounds like an excited teenager. Amazingly, his physical appearance is still remarkably youthful, and the question begs of how the vocalist still appears to be not one day older than when Funeral For A Friend began a dozen years ago.
“That’s really funny and I actually do get asked that sometimes,” he laughs. “I am actually the oldest member of the band too. I have no idea, I guess in a way I still act young too; we all do. I mean our latest film clip for Nails, it was our idea to have people throw sponges of paint at us. I have done many film clips before but this was by far the most painful. It was freezing and those wet sponges actually really hurt upon impact – it took forever to get the paint off as well. Even though it looks great and we are really happy with how it turned out, it probably wasn’t the most mature decision for a film clip.”