Its weird when you find yourself disliking a band intensely for
several months and therefore dismissing everything they do in that time
as total tripe. I did that with Funeral For a Friend, and was convinced
they were some kind of evil prank for some time. However, upon receiving
my review copy of She Drove Me To Daytime Television something
inside me, I dont know what, inspired me to give this five piece
a fair crack of the whip this time around. I was surprised, because
not only did I not hate the CD, I actually quite liked it. So I was
intrigued to hear what the album was like, and that, really, is where
the turning point came. Its a magnificent record and I felt very
foolish for having spent six months of my life ignoring them! Still,
at least guitarist Darran Smith was gracious enough to forgive me for
my previous misdemeanours and chatted freely with me for the following
AD:Congratulations on your excellent debut album. But how did you feel
about being outsold by Daniel ODonnell on the week of release?
DS: (laughs) Oh we were disgusted! And distraught! I mean, whats
the world coming to?
AD: I know, it was shocking. Anyway, let me be honest with you, when
I first heard Funeral For a Friend I wasnt exactly blown away,
and its taken this album to convince me that the band is brilliant.
In other words, the more Ive actually bothered to PLAY your stuff,
the more I love it. Why do you think your music has such a growing
quality to it?
DS: Well, generally I do think we spend a fair bit of time trying
to create more depth in our music, rather than just saying Yes
that sounds ok and just going along with it. For instance, weve
got two guitarists in the band, and we could so easily both play the
same things, but we rarely do. One of the worst things you can do is
think youve got it right the first time and never try anything
different because of it. We just try to make things as interesting as
possible for ourselves and the listeners.
AD: I gather you had a bit of trouble getting into the States for
DS: Yeah! I was just waiting for my visa. US Immigration and the
Embassy werent in any hurry to get it done I think really
they just like to show you whos the boss. It was just a red tape
thing really, I mean Im not a terrorist or a criminal or anything
Ive never been in prison or had any trouble with the law.
Its just that I left it too late to apply. Ryan nearly didnt
go too he had to get a new passport so he was in a mad panic
as well. It was more frustrating than anything but I was just so pleased
and relieved when I DID eventually get there.
AD: Why did you choose to release She Drove Me To Daytime Television
as a single so soon after it had already been put out as a track on
the Four Ways To Scream Your Name EP?
DS: Partly because it was such a strong song, but it was more to
do with coming to a compromise with the label, who desperately wanted
to put it out. We were a bit against it at first, because wed
already released it before, but then they agreed to let us put it out
with Bullet Theory as a double a-side, so even though we
werent too pleased, there was still a perk to it.
AD: And you also re-recorded a new version of Juneau
for the album
DS: Yeah, well it was always the plan to re-record that, because
it was such a good song and it WAS just a demo originally. We thought
we could do it a lot more justice with a real big production and we
were really pleased with it. Its funny though because there seems
to be a split down the middle with the fans half of them like
the old version better and the other half prefer the new one. So we
play a mixture of the two when we perform it live. That way we avoid
AD: Youve toured with some illustrious names already
Lostprophets and the Juliana Theory to name but a couple. Whats
been the highlight for you?
DS: Thats gotta be the festivals we played. Theyre the
sort of things you dream of doing when youre struggling, so treading
the hallowed turf of places like Reading and Donington was such a buzz.
Then of course we played with the prophets at Newport Centre,
and weve seen so many bands there in the past that, from a sentimental
point of view, we feel really cool and lucky to have been able to do
AD: And youll be touring with Iron Maiden soon
and thatll be shit your pants every night
of the week for us. Well it will be for me anyway! Its gonna
be amazing. Were really blown away that were on the tour
at all, let alone as the main support! Its great because Bruce
Dickinson is a big fan and has played us on his radio show loads of
times. Steve Harris also loves us and thats just mindblowing because
Iron Maiden have definitely had an influence on this band. In fact,
if you listen to some of our harmonies, or some of the vocals on the
verses, you can probably tell.
AD: So, what do you put your seemingly meteoric rise to fame down
DS: Honestly? Complete and utter luck! I dont know, I guess
its because we all totally believe in what we do. I dont
think were any more great and amazing than plenty of other great
and amazing unsigned bands. Theres some brilliant groups
out there, so its very flattering to get all this attention and
so many Best Band nominations. But its just as much
of a headspin for us as it is for anybody else. Its as though
the ball started rolling, and now we cant stop it. Not that wed
WANT to stop it, mind
AD: Whats all this malarkey about your studio being haunted?
DS: There were a couple of things that freaked us out when we were
recording the album. Things like the hi-fi being turned down on its
own twice! Then Gareth shouted at it and it was ok! Then there
was a big puddle of water in the bathroom and nobody knew how it had
got there, because there was nothing leaking, no hole in the roof and
nobody had even used the bathroom that day!
AD: Hang on a minute, so youre saying that, if you have ghosts,
all you have to do to get rid of them is to
.SHOUT at them?!!
DS: Oh yeah. Youve gotta control those spooks
.so, do you think this whole supernatural experience
added to the recording of the album?
DS: Haha! NO!
AD: Do you think youve increased the pressure on yourselves
to make the second album even better than the first? Because thatll
DS: It could be if we wanted to look upon it that way, but the most
likely thing would be that well ignore that pressure and angle,
and just try to write the best we can. We all have strong enough personalities
to be able to overcome that. One thing the second album wont be
though, is a carbon copy of the first. I always think its really
unfair on the fans when bands do that, so the next album will be more
about us progressing. Well still stroll along at our own pace
AD: Ok, which celebrity would you most like to punch in the face?
DS: Oh. Um. Good question. (pause). Oh I know Tara Palmer
Tompkinson! Not that I advocate hitting women, but she really deserves
a smack in the chops. I mean, the womans got not one ounce of
and shes famous! Yes. I think thats a good choice!
AD: Talking of famous people, I hear youve been seeing a bit
of Paul McCartney recently
DS: That was weird! We were recording at Rack Studios in St. Johns
Wood and we were told he lived around there somewhere, but never in
our wildest dreams did we think any of us would see him walking around
in broad daylight with a jacket draped casually over his shoulder! We
just bumped into him. It was really strange, but pretty cool too, cause
I quite like The Beatles.
AD: Careful. You know what happened to Glen Matlock?
DS: Shit, yeah youre right. Scrub the last bit!
And I wouldve scrubbed it too, but it made me laugh so its
staying in! Plus of course, the FFAF guys seem like a really nice bunch
of lads who deserve every moment of success they have achieved so far.
Fingers crossed that this is one Funeral that lasts a long time.
Interview and transcript by Tone E