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Interview: Funeral For A Friend

Currently riding on the wave of success following the release of their fifth studio album 'Welcome Home Armageddon'. Funeral For a Friend have gone from strength to strength, and we recently had the chance to speak to guitarist Kris Coombs-Roberts just as the prepare to play numerous festivals throughout the UK including Download and Hevy.

Kris spoke about ex-guitarist Darran Smith’s last shows with the band, touring plans for 'Welcome Home Armageddon', the reaction from the album, a possible return for FFAF to the US and more.

Alter The Press: When Darren announced he wanted to leave the band, what was the reaction in the FFAF camp? Was there at any point any thoughts of ending the band or was it always a case of carrying on regardless?
Funeral For A Friend: It came as a bit of a shock at first but when Darran gave his reasons we all understood and supported him with his choice. It's hard to lose someone you've traveled, worked and achieved so much with for so long and who's a close friend but making music is what we love and we can't stop doing it because Darran has left I know that he feels the same way. He wished us the best and we're all still friends.

ATP: How did you find his last shows with the band?
FFAF: They were very emotional and a great way for the people who've supported us to say goodbye and for us to say thanks for all the good memories. It was amazing hearing the people at the shows chanting his name and letting him know how well loved and highly thought of he is. They were very special shows.

ATP: I know you’ve been in bands with new bassist Rich Boucher before, but how has he settled in the FFAF way of things? Has it just been a seamless transition?
FFAF: It's been a very easy experience we've all been friends with Rich for years and know he's a very talented musician and he just fits with us so it's worked out really well.

ATP: Has the influence of Rich and to an extent Gav coming into the band, inspired you back to your heavier roots?
FFAF: Rich and Gav both came into band as fans of our music and were honest about what they feel we as a band do best and we all agreed. We've missed the heavier side to what we do but the idea was always to push forward and if we were going to do it then we'd push it further than we ever have.

ATP: You brought out a four track EP last year, of which two songs have found their way onto the album, what was the reasoning behind picking 'Sixteen' and 'Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don't' over 'Vultures' and 'Serpents In Solitude'?
FFAF: We felt that the two songs really belonged on 'Welcome Home Armageddon'. When we recorded the EP we chose the four most complete songs that we had at the time, and by the time the album was written we felt that those tracks belonged on the album. Sometimes when you write a group of songs you feel that one needs the other and that's how we felt with 'Sixteen' and 'Damned If You Do,' the album makes more sense with them.

ATP: I don’t think it’s a secret that while you’ve gained a hell of a lot of new fans, like any other band out there, FFAF have always had a hardcore fan base that have longed for a return to the sound of the early EPs. With 'Welcome Home Armageddon' it seems as if you’ve hit a medium that’s pleasing all of your fans, was that a conscious decision, or did it all just come naturally?
FFAF: I think that we've always been a band who divide opinion even to the extent that our fans may sometimes seem divided about which of the musical directions we've taken has been best but we've always been honest about what we do. We all believe you can't force something to happen. We may try to write in a particular style but if it's being forced it becomes quickly apparent as the idea just doesn't get off the ground. We've experimented a lot with our sound and I think as musicians we have a right to do that. Everything we've done has been whole hearted and unapologetic. All we ever do is try to make the best music we can as we have to play it night after night.

ATP: How happy have you been with the positive reaction that 'Welcome Home Armageddon' has received so far?
FFAF: It's been amazing it's great when you spend so much time working on something and people understand it it's very satisfying.

ATP: What's your personal favourite song from Welcome Home Armageddon?
FFAF: I can't pick one to be honest because it changes all the time I love them all as together they make what I feel is a great album.

ATP: You took Rise To Remain and Tiger Please on tour with you earlier this year, what made you pick those two bands to support you?
FFAF: I feel that both those bands, as different to each other as they are, represent the best new and upcoming bands in their style of music. I've been a massive fan of Tiger Please since I heard their first demo a few years ago and they've gone from strength to strength with every new thing they do. We played with Rise To Remain and the musicianship of the band blew me away and it's nice to hear a band who play technical heavy music who still love melody. If there's any justice they'll both be playing their own headline shows soon.

ATP: How much had you been looking forward to going back out on tour, are there any particular places that you're looking forward to hitting?
FFAF: It's always nice being at home but after a while you start getting the itch to go play shows and I think that we've hit that point. I can't say there's one place more than another we're just looking forward to playing as much as possible.

ATP: After the Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation headline shows, you said that from now on it's all about looking to the future, what can fans expect on this tour?
FFAF: We've released a new record so our priority is to get it to as many people as possible and the beat way of spin that is by playing live, however being a band for the best part of a decade and having 4 previous albums we have a pretty hefty back catalog so people should expect a mix of new and old and a jolly good time when they come along.

ATP: A lot of our US readers are eager to see you back in the States soon, have you got any plans to get to America at some point this year?
FFAF: We're looking into getting over there and hopefully we'll be able to work something out, it's been a while since we were last there and I think we're due another tour soon.

ATP: Finally have you got any messages for your fans that are looking forward to your return?
FFAF: Thanks for your support. It means everything to us as without you guys we wouldn't be able to do this.

''Welcome Home Armageddon' by Funeral For A Friend is available Distiller Records(UK) and Good Fight Music (US).

Funeral For A Friend will be appearing at several festivals in the coming months:
Sun 22nd May Hub Festival, Liverpool
Sat 28th May Focus Wales, Llangollen Pavilion
Sun 29th May Volume Festival, Crewe
Sat 11th June Download Festival – headlining Pepsi Max Stage
Sun 3rd July The Rumble Down South, Amersham
Sat 6th Aug Devon Rox, Powerdam Castle
Sun 7th Aug Hevy Music Festival, Port Lympne Wild Animal Park

Official Website
Funeral For A Friend on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

Words by Chris Marshman

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