Interview with Funeral For A Friend guitarist Kris Roberts and bassist Gareth Davies
Skate & Surf Festival 2004
Asbury Park, NJ
S&S: Your songs are very raw and emotional. Does it normally take a long time to write a song or is the process a relatively quick one?
Gareth: It depends.
Kris: Yeah. Sometimes, some of our songs seem to come together in a matter of hours.
Gareth: Some a couple of months. One took six months for everyone to be perfectly happy with it. That’s probably the main key when it comes to us writing. If one person’s not happy with a part of the track, then it has to be changed. We want to write songs so that when we put them on the album and we listen back to it, we don’t skip them.
S&S: You’re releasing “The Art Of American Football” as a download only single on May 3rd. How do you feel about downloading music – should it be free or cost money?
Kris: We’ve had this discussion a couple of times. I think the outlook we have on it is that it shouldn’t cost money. Downloading music is a really great way for a lot of people to hear your music and a lot of people to get a hold of it. But if you download it and you like it, you should literally go out and and buy it, because if you don’t go and buy it, even though you like it, the band is not going to [have enough money to] do a next album.
Gareth: That’s one of the problems with the mindset of the person downloading, I think. I download music to find music. It’s quite ironic, really. If you love a band, you should actually go out and buy the CD, because at the end of the day, bands need to sell records to keep making music.
Kris: You don’t make records off selling nothing. You could produce an album and sell 100 records, but there could be 100,000 people that have downloaded your music. You’re not going to get to your next album. Downloading and not buying is weak shit (laughter).
S&S: When you’re on tour, do you keep to yourselves and rest or hang out with the other bands?
Gareth: Hang out with other bands.
Kris: We kind of do both. Today was cool because we got to hang out with a lot of bands. Yesterday was the last day of the Coheed and Cambria tour, and we’re all here tonight. We all finished at a reasonable time. In the UK, it’s easier to do it. At every show, we hang out with other bands because every day it’s only like two and a half hour drives. Here, we have like 10 hour drives, and it’s impossible. As soon as a show is finished, we have to pack up and leave, and we don’t get to hang out as much.
S&S: When you’re not on tour, what do you like to do?
Kris: Me and my fiancee desperately try to plan my wedding.
Gareth: I basically sit down and listen to all the CDs I bought on tour.
Kris: You get home, and the first thing you do is sleep for a week. Then, you wake up and you’re like, “How many more days do I have off? Oh, one. Great.”
Gareth: I’m the complete opposite. I get home, have two days of rest, and if it’s anything longer than that, I end up sitting on my ass in the house doing nothing, thinking about when I’m going to go back on tour. I get so fucking bored. My girlfriend is in the same kind of business. She goes on tour all the time. She works with The Rapture. So, when I see her, I’m not bored, but when I’m home and she’s away, it’s horrible.
Kris: My fiancee’s at home, and every moment I get to spend with her is precious. Last year, we played probably 200 shows. Then, we had three months of recording the album, and we also recorded an EP which took a month. We had one month off last year.
Gareth: This year’s looking the same, but I’m not complaining. This is the fucking best job in the world. A half hour’s work, it’s amazing. (laughter)
S&S: Do you have plans for any side projects?
Gareth: We’ve got ideas.
Kris: Matt’s pretty much setting up something called Playground Anthem. He’s going to play guitar in it. Me, Ryan, and Darran are talking about starting a really, really extreme metal band.
Gareth: I’m going in the opposite direction. My girlfriend plays piano, and we’re going to start doing a Postal Service kind of thing.
S&S: What are your feelings on drug use and premarital sex?
Kris: We’re hypocrites pretty much. (laughter) I have my own morals. I don’t fuck around. I’ve never cheated on my girlfriend. I don’t believe in just fucking anything. Anybody, I mean anybody (laughter). I don’t do drugs. I have smoked cannabis and stuff like that. It’s an ambition killer.
Gareth: At the end of the day, it’s somebody’s choice. When I was a kid, I went through a period where I did anything people put in front of my nose, just to try it once. When I was 17, I just tried anything I could get my hands on in a period of two weeks, tried it and stopped it. End of story. There was no peer pressure. It was just my decision.
Kris: Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never done heroin, LSD, or cocaine. I just smoked cannabis because I think everybody does it in Germany at some point. Even when I drink now, I very rarely drink.
Gareth: I very rarely drink on tour because there’s nothing worse than going on stage with a hangover. I’m the only smoker in the band as well.
Kris: I quit two months ago. Life is about making your own choices. Live your life the way you want it. You learn by your own mistakes.
Gareth: Live your life the way you want to, but we’re not encouraging you to do this shit. Drugs will fuck you up. End of story.
S&S: What’s the worst thing about ending a relationship?
Kris: I’ve been with my fiancee for ages. One relationship I’ve ended. In other relationships I’ve been in, the other person has ended it, much to my relief.
Gareth: The worst part is breaking the habit of ringing that person – ringing that person just to talk about anything. If you’re living with someone, moving out is a fucking killer. My first girlfriend that I lived with, I broke up with about two and a half months ago. Moving out was fucking hard. There were a lot of memories in that place, and it was the first time I had lived away from home.
Kris: Just breaking the habits of what you get used to is the fucking hardest part. I know people that have been together for seven years and then split up. People who break up and try to stay friends, I don’t understand. The whole reason you’re not together is because you don’t get along with each other.
Gareth: Not at all. I completely disagree with that. It’s not that you don’t get on at all. You either love someone or you don’t. I still get on with my ex-girlfriend, but I just didn’t love her anymore. It’s two different things completely. It all depends on the situation. If it’s a clean break, then that’s cool. The hardest part about breaking up is coming to the realization that it is over, definitely. That you don’t love them anymore, and it’s not meant to be.
Kris: That’s why I’m getting married. I will love the girl I’m with for the rest of my life.
S&S: What’s the best thing about starting a new relationship?
Gareth: The complete unfamiliarity. Just learning things. Falling in love again.
Kris: You learn good things, and you learn bad things. I think, in some respects, it’s just kind of not knowing what will happen, which is just really cool.
S&S: If you could change places with any celebrity in the world, but you had to remain that person forever, who would you be?
Kris: No one. Absolutely fucking no one.
S&S: Well, how about just for a day?
Kris: Probably President Bush. I’d be a complete cock and just fuck everything up.
Gareth: I don’t know much about politics.
Kris: He fucking started a war, man, for no reason. Iraq, come on? “My daddy didn’t finish it.”
Gareth: I’m gonna be a guy and say a girl so I could look at myself all day long (laughter).
S&S: I guess they don’t have to be alive or famous.
Gareth: I’d be Einstein.
Kris: Einstein? You want to build the atomic bomb and start the Cold War? (laughter)
Gareth: No, just to have that mentality, just to have that kind of thinking for a day. Just to have a theory for everything.
Kris: I don’t know. I’d probably be my fiancee. I’d like to know exactly what she thinks of me (laughter).
Gareth: There’s only one person in the world I’d like to meet and that would be myself, because I would blow my mind. Imagine sitting there on a date with yourself. That would be fucking weird.
S&S: What is music to you?
Gareth: My life.
Kris: I wouldn’t say my life. If my life was music, and for some reason I wasn’t able to do it anymore, I don’t think it would stop my life. You know what I mean? I think music helps me understand myself and people better.