After years of extreme highs and lows, weak albums and so-so albums, despite the odds FFAF have soldiered on and finally found their stride again, releasing what most are calling their best since their debut. Well I caught up with founding member and axeman, Kris Coombs-Roberts for a chat about the new album and he in turn imparted some very wisdomous words on the music biz and what he’s learnt from his 10+ years of being in a successful touring band. Oh and I mentioned the weather as it’s British conversation etiquette!
AltSounds: I interviewed Ryan and Richard almost exactly 2 years ago for AltSounds! A lot has happened since then incl. of course Ryan’s departure. Did Pat Lundy’s arrival (former drummer of Rise To Remain) give the band a new type of motivation?
Kris: I think so. Pat is so enthusiastic about music and touring, it makes all of us feel excited about doing things.
AltSounds: You reached your sixth studio album milestone this year with Conduit. Did you feel a lot of pressure to make it something really special?
Kris: I feel that every album we make we strive to make it the best it can possibly be and something which represents us honestly at the time we write it.
AltSounds: It’s the third album that you’ve made with Romesh Dodangoda. Was it a quick decision to work with him again?
Kris: Definitely. He's a good friend of ours and an excellent producer. I find making an album easier when you’re working with someone who understands the band and where we're coming from.
AltSounds: It has been labelled by many as your best album in years. Why do you think that is?
Kris: I feel we've remembered why we started playing in this band in the first place. Over the last couple of records we fought what we do naturally in order to try and shake the tag we'd been lumbered with but I feel we've come to a realisation that what comes naturally is always best.
AltSounds: You’ve just released your new single ‘Nails’. The video looks very colourful but emotionally intense! Where did the whole concept come from?
Kris: We were discussing what we'd like as all the treatments we received were pretty negative “end of the world” type scenarios and we felt that it didn't really match the song. So the idea we had was to use the album artwork as inspiration and do something different.
AltSounds: There’s track’s on the new album called ‘Grey’ and ‘Sun-Less’...So where do you like to go when the UK is grey and sun-less?
Kris: I'm quite happy being at home with the awful weather! We travel so much sometimes I end up missing it.
AltSounds: I’ve seen a picture of your matching Conduit skull tattoos. If you could tattoo something on another member of the band, who would you choose and what would it be?
Kris: I'd tattoo a set of bus chairs with stench lines and the numbers 509 on Pat in homage of our bus commute to rehearsal.
Kris: Try and enjoy and take things in because time flies by. Also be honest with each other and always believe in your band even if people say you’re terrible.
AltSounds: Following on from that, is there one particular lesson that 10+ years in the music business has taught you?
Kris: Yes, don't fight the things that come naturally to you.
AltSounds: Do you look back and cringe at any particular moments from the band’s career?
Kris: I see the Hours (2nd album) campaign posters where we're dressed in red and black and think “what the hell happened there”!?
AltSounds: It’s the 10th anniversary of Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation this year. I’ve heard about an awesome double white vinyl release in support of Record Store Day...but what about on the performance front?
Kris: The vinyl is going to be sweet but there are no plans to do a show. We did it for Darran (Smith, former guitarist) when he left so it would seem a bit of a cop out.
AltSounds: And finally, what else is on the FFAF agenda for the rest of 2013?
Kris: Touring, touring, touring!
And indeed Funeral For A Friend are on a touring frenzy across the globe this year, so make sure you catch them at one of the following shows. A full set of dates can be found here.
Conduit is out now via Distiller Records.
- 13th - Live Musichall w/ Silverstein - Cologne, Germany
- 14th - Dynamo w/ The Tidal Sleep, Versus The World - Eindhoven, Netherlands
- 18th - Academy 2, Leicester, UK*
- 19th - The Welly, Hull, UK*
- 20th - Warehouse, Wakefield, UK*
- 21st - 53 Degrees, Preston, UK*
- 25th - University of Surrey, Guildford, UK
MAY - Australia (w/ Relentless)
- 8th - The Rev, Brisbane
- 9th - Surfers Paradise Beer Garden, Surfers Paradise Qld
- 10th - The Cambridge, Newcastle
- 11th - Manning Bar, Sydney
- 12th - The Basement, Canberra
- 14th - The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
- 15th - Pelly Bar, Frankston Vic
- 16th - Fowlers Live, Adelaide
- 17th - Amplifier Bar, Perth
- 18th - Prince Of Wales, Bunbury Wa