Welsh rock band Funeral For A Friend seem regretful they are so popular in Australia… well sort of. They’ve only been to the major cities and feel like they’re missing out on experiences from rural Australia. “Dopamine, who are from Wales and supporting us, drove through some town which spent $700,000 on a 90 metre submarine for the middle of their town,” says bassist Gareth Davies. That’s the landlocked south-western NSW town of Holbrook on the Hume Highway, for those keeping score.
Why is it that the UK hardcore scene hasn’t taken off like it has in the US? Gareth: Indie music has always dominated the charts but there are plenty of hardcore bands in the UK. A lot have jumped on the bandwagon but we were touring with hardcore bands before we started touring the US and they were all UK bands. Darren: I guess a lot of bands just don’t gain the international notoriety. People aren’t aware of them. It’s been stronger in the last few years. Bands never broke out internationally. A lot like Australia. You’ve got great bands but not many have made it overseas.
Who should we be looking out for? Darren: Gallows are on Taste of Chaos tour and they’re amazing. They are total upstarts, we’re friends with those guys. Alex Carter the front man, you never know what he’s going to do. Gareth: He’s the only frontman I know of that can walk onto a stage in Germany and say “Hi, we’re Gallows and I fuckin’ hate Germany”. Darren: You don’t say that to German crowds. They are a really exciting band. Also, Shaped by Fate from south Wales, Architects, Johnny Truant. Gareth: Then on the flipside you’ve got pop rock bands like Kids in Glass Houses with great hooks and melodies. We’re taking them out on tour.
What is it about Wales? Gareth: Fucking boredom I think, man. Darren: There has always been bands outta Wales, in the 90s it was indie bands like Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers. People sort of ignored the harder rock but when Lost Prophets came along it opened the doors. It’s been band after band really. It’s one of those things where you see your friends in bands getting out there and doing stuff and it inspires you, and makes you realise it is popular.
It’s something you can nurture, as opposed to London, which is more of a gamble? Darren: Yeah, totally. There’s a lot more bands in London where people are like “we’re from London, fuckin’ ‘ave it!”. Wales is a humble place with humble people and attitudes. But they are very determined people with a good work ethic.
So how would your career have gone if you upped stumps to London? Darren: I don’t think anyone would have noticed. I don’t think we even had this in our heads. It was just a hobby to start with and before we knew it, it had taken off. There was no conscious decision of “let’s go get a deal”. Gareth: They came to us. We recorded a demo that was just meant for us. It filtered into the rock press and before we knew it we were playing showcases to English and American labels. Darren: We didn’t get a chance to be around for a while. The first four songs that were written were released. We were in the public eye as we were looking for a unique sound.
I was watching Funeraltube and noticed there is a road rule: You snooze you lose, to go with a video. What’s that about? Gareth: Well the rule on the bus is, you fall asleep anywhere on the bus other than your bunk, you’re fair game. What happens happens and you can’t complain. So Glen, our front of house guy, got shitfaced and fell asleep on the front lounge so I drew all over him. I coloured half his face and was actually going for his entire left side, then Ryan started to do his eyelid when he stirred and rolled over. I thought perfect I can do the other side, but he woke up. You can see the fruits of our labour at http://www.youtube.com/funeraltube.
Tales Don’t Tell Themselves is out on Warner.