Funeral For A Friend’s Darran Smith talks to Catriona Gray
Funeral For A Friend are back with a new album, Memory and Humanity, and a new change to their line-up. Earlier this month, it was announced on their MySpace page that bass player and backing vocalist Gareth Davies had left the band and had been replaced with Gavin Burrough. When asked why Davies had left, guitarist Darran Smith explained: “Gareth wanted to bow out, his situation and circumstance had changed a lot, he’d got married to his girlfriend, who was from Vegas, so he was commuting back and forth from there. Then, when we were writing and recording the record, he was spending months and months away from home and… he just found it a bit of a strain really, and decided that he was ready to call it quits at that point.” The band seems to be fine with the change. Smith said that Burrough “is an old friend of ours, someone we’ve played shows with, been good friends with, we’re from the same area, same sort of sense of humour. He’s a great player and a great singer: he’s slotted in perfectly. We’ve been rehearsing with him and we’re sounding great, I think, stronger than ever.”
FFAF have had a turbulent year: as if losing Davies wasn’t enough, they also left their record label, Atlantic Records, deciding instead to go it alone. “We didn’t leave on bad terms or anything, the fact was that the music industry was changing and developing and major labels were losing a lot of money on CD sales because the download market had become so strong” said Smith. “It was just one of those situations where they wanted us to do it [renegotiate], but the contract they were offering didn’t fit right for us, so we just decided to leave it there and give our own label idea a crack. It’s quite an exciting situation and we’re looking forward to seeing how that pans out…..It gives us a lot more control, obviously it’s a bit more time-consuming, but it’s not as difficult or as daunting a task as you might think.”
To coincide with the release of the new album, FFAF are embarking on another UK tour. “We’re looking forward to coming to Ireland, we always include Ireland when we’re doing our UK tours” says Smith. “We’ve got amazing fans over there and the Irish shows are always really excellent, so we’re pretty excited.”
With any luck, frontman Matt Davies will have a couple of drinks while in Dublin. “Matt very, very rarely drinks” explains Smith, “but when we were in Omaha, he decided to have a few Jaegermeisters. Seven or eight shots later, he’s totally lost his mind and is just running around the carpark outside and our tour manager’s chasing him, trying to get him back on the bus. In the end, he runs into the back of a trailer and knocks himself out, and our tour manager proceeds to carry him back into the tour bus, almost unconscious.” Sounds less like Funeral For A Friend and more like Funeral For A Frontman. FFaF play the Academy on 14th October.