Over the past ten years, Welsh post-hardcore band Funeral For A Friend have continued to release records which inspire fans, both old and new. Winning Kerrang Awards such as Best UK newcomer in 2003 and Best British Band in 2005 alongside their introduction into Rocksounds Hall of Fame in April 2011, confirmed that they are "living legends" in today's music industry.
We caught up with singer Matt on the band's tour bus to ask him a few questions on the second date of their UK headline tour with support from Escape The Fate, The Amity Affliction and The Bunny The Bear.
Air3: So Glasgow is the second date on the tour, how was Wolverhampton last night?
Matt: It was good, you know somewhat trying to work out the kinks of playing again, like in a headline set for the first time in about six months, so it was fun.
Air3: I noticed that Glasgow is the only Scottish date on the tour, was that a deliberate move?
Matt: Glasgow, every time we've played it in the last 10 years has always been fantastic.
Air3: So was it the obvious choice for the Scottish date?
Matt: Pretty much. You know we've played places like Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee and Edinburgh before but you know Glasgow is the place that I think we kinda get the best response.
Air3: I noticed that the tour is only about 6 or 7 dates, was it always your intentions to have it as such a small tour?
Matt: Yeah it's kinda deliberate. Basically because you know we've got a lot of cool bands with us and we wanna make the tour as concise as possible. We're not gonna drag it out, we did one extensive for the album back in March and this is just to kind of round off the whole album cycle.
Air3: Over the past ten years you have released a number of albums and EPs, I understand that you're now working with the same label that put out your first record.
Matt: In the States, yeah.
Air3: So how has that been?
Matt: Good. It's always nice to work with people who kind of understand you and understand the concept and the ideas of what the band are about. Having a label run by people who create music.
Air3: Do you find that you have more creative freedom?
Matt: There's a lot more mutual respect and a lot more understanding and a lot more room for ideas to be discussed. Whereas if you have somebody working for you who's never even picked up a guitar or never wrote a song, sometimes it's hard to take their attitude and their advice towards music and what they think you should do. I've always had that issue with like A&R people who have not got any musical background creatively whatsoever. It's like they tell me to do something and it's like, you've never written a song in your life. If you learned how to play the guitar and you come up to me and said can we try this then I'd be like okay. We spent years and years in our bedrooms, just growing up learning to play instruments listening to songs and trying to better ourselves and that's what we put our belief in, our ability to continue to create music that we enjoy.
Air3: What has been your favourite release?
Matt: Oh God, my two favourite things we've done are 'Welcome Home Armageddon' and 'Hours'. Those two rcords pretty much sum up, to a degree, what Funeal For A Friend is for me anyway and they're my personal faves.
Air3: Obviously the bands that you grow up listening to are going to have an influence on the music you make, what kind of bands/music did you listen to growing up?
Matt: I grew up listening to everything that was in my Dad's record collection when I was younger, like The Beatles and The Beach Boys and stuff like that. Then I got into kinda Punk Rock and stuff when I was a teenager, stuff like Bad Religion, Penny Wise, Lagwagon then Hardcore bands like Gorilla Biscuits and Youth Of Today - pretty much formed my musical experiences from then on and from the age of 16 up until well, now really. I've always been very much emerged in Hardcore and Punk Rock so that's pretty much kinda been the music and the attitude that I've lived by since I was 16 years of age.
Air3: So, what's your favourite record at the moment then?
Matt: There's a few that I've got that I really like, which is unusual for me because sometimes I am a bit of a music-phobe, I don't listen to a lot of music unless it's really old. The last couple of records that I really liked were 'End Measured Mile' by a band called Make Do And Mend, a phenominal album! And, 'Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me' by a band call Touché Amoré.
Air3: Oh yeah, they went on tour with La Dispute.
Matt: Yeah, the new La Dispute album is incredible and the new Lower Than Atlantis record is phenomial. Also, 'This Polar Noise' EP by a band called POLAR, they're really cool guys.
Air3: What's the set list like for tonight?
Matt: It's just good [laughs].
Air3: So is it a mix of your old and new stuff?
Matt: You know after playing for ten years and doing things you kind of come to realise that you've gotta really try to put your best foot forward when it comes to playing sets now. I think ten years of being a band, you kinda wanna play what you wanna play and the songs do kinda reflect our attiude at the moment and there's a lot of new stuff in there but there's also a lot of touchstones that people recognise, so it's not as if we've just decided to literally dump all the songs that people will know. We've incorporated a lot of the new record and like the new song from the EP (High Castles) and stuff to kind of make it an exciting set, both for us and hopefully for the audience.
Air3: Do you feel that there are songs that the fans expect you to play?
Matt: There are. I think when you release an album, especially ten years in, songs stop being your songs and they become the people's songs.
Air3: They become the fan's songs?
Matt: Yeah, you gotta treat that with respect and you just kind of gotta do what you gotta do and you know those songs are still fun to play. There's been moments in the last decade where we've felt like, shit do we still have to play this? But, when we do get to play them to an audience you understand the reason why we play them.
Air3: So over the past few years, you've played festival like T in the Park, Download, Reading and Leeds. What is the major difference between playing a gig and playing a festival, considering the fact that a gig you know everyone is going to be a FFAF fan whereas at a festival that's not always the case?
Matt: The festical is a bit more chaotic to a degree, it's a bit more kind of - like you said - you kind of know the people are gonna want to watch you but it's also an opportunity to maybe get new fans. But with a headline show and touring your own stuff you are playing to fans who know what you're doing. But it's also the reason we release records every couple of years, is that hopefully somebody new who might not have seen us before might come along to this tour now and check us out for the first time ever, even after ten years we're still bringing new people in so it's kinda weird.
Air3: Yeah, this is my first Funeral For A Friend gig.
Matt: It is? Oh, brilliant.
Air3: Do you have any advice for bands who are trying to make it in this industry?
Matt: Have belief in what you do, do it for the reasons of making music with your friends. I think if you try to achieve success and that's the sole aim of you wanting to be in a band then I think it's gonna be a hard ride. There's gonna be disappointment, but if you're in it just with your mates and you wanna make music that you love to play then that's all that should matter regardless of what people say, just continue doing what you do, if you have conviction and belief in your music then that's what's important.
Air3: Do you still have those raw emotions in regards to the music you make even after ten years?
Matt: Yeah that's why we write new music, if we didn't have that then we wouldn't write any new music. We're always finding stuff to inspire us and to push the boundaries of what we do and even if we do kind of find ourselves feeling a bit down or in a reflective mood about where the band is creatively, we play shows and see the audience and their reaction to what we do. I don't know anything else, ten years I've been doing this - I don't know anything else to do and it's the best job in the world.
Funeral For A Friend's new EP "See You All In Hell" is available now.