Funeral For A Friend - Article


So, here’s a little about me… I hate to think back to how generic I was.

Well, as generic as a “tomboy” rebel can be. Ergh tomboy, I wish someone would dare to call new woke me that now… Anyway, as much as I purposely avoided femininity, (I lived in black, baggy tracksuits and caps, tucking my hair away and living for the new fad of trainers) I was the biggest boyband “fangirl”. I would scream and swoon, sing and dance. Go crazy when a new song came out, be waiting outside VIRGIN MUSIC (wow) at opening time to get the latest NSYNC record release (that they had to special order in from America for me!!) and I would play it until it would work no more. I was heartbroken when Take That split, and I knew every dance move to all of Boyzone’s songs…  I was the ideal of what the Pop Music Industry was aiming for…obsessed. 

Having said all that, I did have an older brother who introduced me to the likes of Offspring, Beck, Eminem, Nirvana, Reef, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, etc, so I was definitely already tiptoeing on the alternative path. But I’m almost embarrassed to admit, that it was Charlie Simpson, of Busted fame, that truly changed me… In an interview he had a Funeral For a Friend shirt on, the host asked him what inspired him and he named FFAF as well as a few others. I was intrigued and so followed this down the rabbit hole.  

Obviously for lil old me, who thought ‘Pretty Fly For A White Guy’ was the most wild music could get, Funeral were an absolute epiphany, but it was a similar awakening for the rest of the world. Starting with the UK, FFAF were the first Post-Hardcore of this nature we’d ever seen, and pretty much straight away, they were a hit: 

This from BBC Wales (Feb 2011) shows how the band smashed into the mainstream with their ground-breaking sound:

“Released on Swansea’s Mighty Atom label, the EP was a remarkable debut - confident playing, striking vocals and some classic songwriting. Indeed, one of the songs, Juno, was later re-recorded and renamed, and put out as their third single Juneau. When the single crash landed into the top 20, it looked to some like an overnight success. But really it was the result of months of hard graft by the band, on the road and in the studio.” 

Image that went with that article is just giving me life, so had to show you. Stolen from the BBC Wales Website, credit to them for this masterpiece. 

It seems that the guys themselves didn’t even know what genre they were, until they were out in the world and people started to recognise the threads their sound was woven from. Some people dubbed them Emo, which again, if they were they would have been the first of their kind on our shores, but people calling FFAF Emo are wrong, so let’s move on. Their debut album ‘Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation’ had THREE top twenty singles, which for a modern rock band is practically unheard of. The alternative scene at this time was so fresh and new and it was a time before streaming, downloads and tiktok, so the pickings were ripe. 

For me, Funeral For A Friend found me a new group of friends, cool folk who I seemed to have a lot in common with, those different to us, we called the “townies” would call us “grebs” but we wore this label with pride. Shame to all those that don’t know the depths and emotion of rock music and put weight in brand labels! As cliché as it is to say, this band helped me to find my true self, and I’ll be ever grateful for that. Funeral lead me on to other bands in similar and differing veins, two equally as notable in my life to the welsh legends; Green Day and Reel Big Fish. This scene gave me confidence, I fit in somewhere, I could identify with this music so strongly, I found how much joy music could give, and this carried me through school and into sixth form, where I truly found my people and this music created the connection between me and my partner, and is still an important part of our relationship. 

I had terrible anxiety at university, leading me down a path of agoraphobia and aphasia, I shunned my studies to stay home and hide, in my mind any outside person or activity was a threat to my very survival. But! My uni had an amazing students union, and they had proper decent shows on every week. FFAF played there. I’d not been to many rock shows in my life at this point, and never a small only standing venue, but the love for this band carried me through, and I fucking loved every second of it. From that moment on, a show would always be too tempting to listen to that scared anxious voice, and through one show at a time (and some shitty life events I had to overcome) that cloud of doubt shading my life, got smaller and smaller. 

To complete the circle for me, I became a live music photographer. I have photographed Funeral four times, and I met and interviewed lead singer Matt Davies ( I got a tattoo to commemorate this, a lightening bolt on my finger, committing my life to photography) who was an absolute treat. I was even lucky enough to photograph one of their very last shows in 2016 before the band retired. It was an amazing night, see the cover photo of this article for proof. I cried, we all cried, it was spectacular.  

So after this lifetime rollercoaster I feel like I’ve had with this band… THEY ARE BACK! Matt has said publicly, that they’re not planning on making new music, they’re just doing a few shows for fun and seeing where it takes them. The absolute joy they emanated this past weekend at Slam Dunk Festival was so apparent, we’re hoping to see lots more of them… Music is the best drug afterall. 

To close, I’d just like to thank Funeral For A Friend and every other band out there making music. How it entwines into every individual who listens to it’s life, is fundamental to how that life plays out. Music isn’t the cherry on top of the human experience, it is the soul, the life essence, the drive and heart. I for one could not survive without it. Thank you all.

As bad as the pain of being kicked out of Lime Wire ‘Rock’ groups was, I am proud of my musical journey and the breadth of my taste. I love how my playlist can go from Stray From The Path onto the Moana Soundtrack, then to Celine Dion with Slipknot and Ho99o9 with a strong finish from N’sync. Own your journey, love what you love and be you. 

 Check out our interview with Matt from the Hush archives (2015) HERE

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