With the release of Funeral For A Friend’s live album Hours – Live At Islington Academy we caught up with guitarist Kris to chat about life in FFAF, the original album and how the music scene has changed since its release. Order Hours – Live At Islington Academy here, read our review of it here and whilst you’re at it get our thoughts on the band’s last studio album Chapter & Verse and the recent gig in York.
You’re about to release a live version of Hours, looking back on that album how proud of it are you? How was it playing the album live?
I personally feel it’s our best album, it represents the best period of time and best memories for me. We weren’t as green as we were with our first release, we recorded it with one of my all time favourite producers Terry Date, and the songs are like a map of all the countries I visited for the first time. I wrote the main riff for “All The Rage” in Berlin while on tour with Iron Maiden, “Recovery” I wrote while over looking Shibuya square in Tokyo, “The End Of Nothing” I wrote in America on Thanksgiving and “History” I wrote in the kitchen of studio X in Seattle after listening to Terry tell me stories about Dimebag Darrell and his funeral. Every single song has a significance or a first experience for me.
Playing it live was great, after almost 10 years it was like reliving those moments it’s always going to be a special record for me.
The music world has changed a lot in the 10 years since Hours was first released, what changed have effected FFAF most?
Well we’re not headlining Brixton academy anymore haha. But seriously I think music has become such a single use commodity that people have lost the appreciation of what it takes to make a record. Anyone with garage band can record a song these days so the whole romanticism of music seems to be slowly disappearing. Everyone seems to have A.D.D The idea of asking people to spend 40 to 45 minutes of their time listening to an album is like asking the earth to reverse its orbit around the sun. There’s still good music out there but if a band exists in the modern alternative rock genre there sadly seems to be no longevity for them. So I guess we were lucky to have been found at the point we were.
Hours – Live At Islington Academy transports me back to my early twenties and reminds of what I consider to be the golden age of UK rock music in the early/mid 2000s. What bands from that period stand out for you?
There’s a whole heap of bands, we spent a lot of time in the states and made a lot of friends so there’s the obvious American bands. From the UK I loved Days in December, Million Dead, Hundred Reasons, Hell Is For Heroes, Hondo Maclean, Cry For Silence, Shaped By Fate, Raging Speedhorn, Viking Skull, Johnny Truant. There’s also the obvious Welsh bands. From Germany I loved Waterdown. We always tried to bring out bands that we liked.
From the album it’s apparent that the new stuff sits perfectly alongside your older songs, you’ve progressed as a band but kept a distinct FFAF style. How has the progression been, and is there anything you would change?
I don’t think there’s any point looking back over what you would or could change. At the time it felt right and we went with it. Be it good or bad, everything we’ve done we’ve always done it with the utmost belief that what we’re doing was right for us. Obviously hindsight is a wonderful thing but in that moment it seemed perfect so I’m always proud of that. If mistakes were made, it was us who made them nobody else.
I guess as a sound, Matt is the focal point and he has a distinctive incredible voice so as long as he’s singing it’ll sound like ffaf.
There’s been a few line-up changes since Hours, how has it effected the band? Has it helped to keep things fresh?
I think when somebody says they don’t want to be in a band anymore it’s like a work colleague telling you they’re leaving their post in any line of work. Just because they decided it’s not for them you’re not going to quit your job over it. I think Gav and Rich came in with a level of honesty we desperately needed and we rediscovered ourselves as a result.
Personally, Hours is my favourite FFAF album. Do you have a personal favourite or one you like the least?
Hours is definitely my favourite for the reasons I stated above. Probably my least favourite is Memory and Humanity. We got into an almost factory like set up for writing songs and I think we tried to correct things that weren’t wrong in the first place and were probably guilty of thinking we could do no wrong and people would love us anyway.
You close Hours – Live At Islington Academy with two songs that “are synonymous with this band” in Juneau and Escape Artists Never Die. Do you tire of playing these tracks, does the praise for CDADIC and its “hits” get frustrating?
I don’t think I’ll ever tire of playing my own music. I could be desperately trying to get people to listen to my songs while spending every weekend playing the “Summer of 69″ and “Brown Eyed Girl” just to make ends meet. So for me it’s still every bit as exciting to play those songs to people who love them now as it was to play them when nobody knew them.
I think CDADIC was the soundtrack to a lot of people’s teenage years and as a result will always hold a special place in their hearts. I think it came out at a time when the British music scene wasn’t exactly flourishing and it was something fresh and new. I can’t possibly be angry or frustrated for people feeling so close to that album.
What does the future hold for FFAF?
We take it a day at a time these days. I think a band’s life span is similar to that of a dog so every year is 7 years in reality and we’re nearly 15 years old. So at this stage we’re grateful for the occasional belly rub, a walk on the beach and a bowl full of good food. What will be will be. I stopped worrying about concurring the world and what tomorrow will bring when I was in my early 20’s.
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