LISTED Interview with Funeral For A Friend

Ok, I promised you some of the interviews that I’ve done, and this was my first professional interview that ended up being published on the Listed website. Here, I’m interviewing Darran Smith from the Welsh post-hardcore band Funeral For A Friend before their 2008 UK tour last October and the release of their fourth album. Enjoy!

You’re gearing up to release your 4th studio album [Memory And Humanity] on the 5 year anniversary of your debut album Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation. What’s the atmosphere like now?

Darran Smith (guitars): Really excited! We’re really looking forward to the new record coming out and people hearing it.

On the new album, you focus on issues such as Rock and Emo music being targeted for teen suicides. How have you answered to these wild accusations?

Smith: Matt (Davies-Kreye, Vocalist) really approached it lyrically with how we don’t agree with people looking for scapegoats or something to blame it on. Ozzy Osborne, Judas Priest, even Elvis, all these bands have been met with accusations of their music being evil. It’s gone on for a long time when in actual fact music can be such a saviour to a lot of people. Music isn’t “evil”. Music doesn’t make people do things. People make people do things.

Gareth (Ellis-Davies, bassist) recently left the band to be with his family in America. How are you dealing with the departure of such a long term member of the band?

Smith: It’s pretty sad, we were all surprised but we understood his reasons. We’ve all been together for 6 years, and it’s been 6 really great, fun years! He’s still a great friend, and we’re still in touch, but we just have to look to the future.

Do you think your new bassist, Gavin (Borrough, ex-Hondo McLean), is going to have a tough time filling his shoes?

Smith: We had auditions originally, and we’ve rehearsed quite a bit since then. He isn’t Gareth, but then no two people are exactly the same! It’s the next step for us, you know? We’re just looking forward to carrying on from where we left off.

So, on the upcoming tour you have a very varied support line-up. What prompted such varied choices from your own style?

Smith: We’ve always been of the opinion of nobody really wants to watch a whole night of bands that sound exactly the same. We always like to have varied line-ups. It makes for an all-round more interesting show. Attack! Attack! are a great new Welsh band that we’re friends with, and Cancer Bats are kind of aggressive metal, hardcore band and their latest record is amazing! And In Case Of Fire are a new Irish band, who are about to break through fairly soon. They have a post-hardcore, At The Drive-In angst with a Muse edge. That kind of variation makes for an exciting bill.

Do you have anything different or special lined up for the upcoming tour?

Smith: There’s obviously going to be songs off the new record, but we’ll be digging into the Funeral vaults for some old songs that we haven’t played since the Casually Dressed days, so there could be a couple of those gems there as well.

What are the plans for the future after this big tour?

Smith: After the UK, we’ll do some shows in Europe, and we’ve got a bunch of Welsh shows in December. It’s pretty much work, work, work really! We want to promote the new album, and get as many people as possible listening to it and hopefully enjoying it. We’re proud of it, and confident that it will deliver the goods!

If you had to pick a song as your favourite to perform live, which would it be?

Smith: Probably Escape Artists Never Die (from Casually Dressed…). It’s a song we’ve been playing from day one, and I think it encapsulates everything that we do. I’ve always, and still do, love playing that song!

What song would you most like to perform as a cover?

Smith: ANY song? That’s quite a tough one! I’d really love to do Photograph by Def Leppard, but Matt has always shied away from it because the vocals in it are so high! But who knows? Matt might decide one day to say “Hell, I’ll give it a shot”!

As Pubslished on www.listedmagazine.com

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LISTED Film Previews – March/April ’09

Here are some more of the Film Previews I write for Listed Magazine, this time for March and April releases. As always, there are these previews and lots of other stuff at www.listedmagazine.com!

GRAN TORINO: It seems like a REALLY long time since we’ve seen good old Mr. Eastwood grace our screens with either direction OR his acting, but this looks like it might be worth the wait! This sees his return to the screen as leading man AND as director at the same time (so, obviously, making up for some lost time!), playing a disgruntled Korean War veteran who forms a bond with his young teenage Hmong neighbour after he attempts to reform him after he steals his most prized possession – his 1972 Gran Torino. Definitely expect some bad-ass attitude, but also plenty of Oscars worthy direction and scenes from Clint “Dirty Harry” Eastwood himself! Released February 27th

RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN: Another remake of a classic, this time by a slightly different name but altogether same storyline. However, on this outing, Disney has some things they didn’t have first time round: Special Effects, a better script, more special effects, a better audience and even more special effects. Oh, and The Rock, naturally (seems he may have a licence with Disney now!). Expect a family adventure film more along the lines of National Treasure rather than something like Bolt, what with all the explosions and aliens galore (as you’d expect from a Rock film!). Released April 10th

WATCHMEN: Definitely a film that carries enough potential to be the film of the year in a similar league to “The Dark Knight” last year. This is the adaptation of the classic graphic novel that all fans have been waiting for! Set in an alternate version of 1985, the sudden murder of ex-hero The Comedian drives hardened vigilante Rorschach to investigate the motives behind his death, reuniting him with his old team of colleagues. What they find, however, leads them to a conspiracy about their past and catastrophic events in the future. Directed by Zack Snyder (300), and boasting a trailer that re-creates a very firm sense of the graphic novel that has fan boys everywhere blogging their hearts out, this is a definite must-see – full stop! Released March 6th

As published in Listed Magazine Issue 16 – www.listedmagazine.com

LISTED Film Previews – January/February ’09

So, I’ve finally been given the Go-ahead by Listed Magazine to post up a selection of the articles and Film Previews that have been printed and put on their website! Here are the previews for films that have been released in January and February of this year:

BOLT: Canine star of Underdog-style superhero TV series, Bolt believes he really doeshave superpowers, and that everything going on is real. So when the storyline for the TV show sees his cohort get kidnapped, he goes on a crusade to get her back, not realising its all make-believe! Hilarious? Coming from Disney/Pixar Studios and boasting a cast including John Travolta and teeny pop-sensation Miley Cyrus in its ranks, you really should hope so! Any people needing to satisfy their “inner child” would do well to catch this, but for those too “mature”, this may be too Shrek-like for you!

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE: Danny “28 Days Later” Boyle brings us the story of orphan Jamal Malik, who grew up in the slums of Mumbai, only to appear on the Hindi version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” at the age of 18, not to win the prize money but instead to prove his love for his friend and fan of the show Latika. When he’s arrested during a break on suspicion of cheating for knowing so much, he retells the story of his life, showing that each chapter taught him the answer to the shows “impossible” quizzes.

FROST/NIXON: Director Ron Howard brings us this political insight into the post-Watergate interviews held between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon. This looks to have very eye-opening retellings of the events, and those studying or have interests in politics (or even the US elections!) should add this to their “must-see” list!

THE SECRET OF MOONACRE:With a fairly confusing and frankly uninteresting plotline that sees Dakota Blue Richards (The Golden Compass) starring as the main role (without an audition!) of a luxurious London-based girl whose father dies. This means she has to move to a manor house with an uncle she never knew she had, only to discover she is the last Moon Princess who has to stop a feud with another, more sinister family before the 5000thmoon rises and Moonacre gets lost to the sea forever. Needless to say, expect plot-holes!

FRIDAY THE 13TH: Horror film remakes are a very touchy subject sometimes, and horror films in general aren’t for everyone. Not me though! Remaking what was arguably one of THE greatest horror films ever is the director of the 2003 remake of Texas Chainsaw MassacreMarcus Nispel (also, a fine remake!). Early trailers for this film see it staying very true to the original, and “Jason” Vorhees being a more brutal predator of a killer than ever! My advice? Buy LARGE popcorns – they’re easier to hide behind! Fans of horrors and the originals unite – and hold on tight to the edge of that seat!

As published in Listed Magazine Issue 15 – www.listedmagazine.com

The Best Is Yet To Come!

Ok, I know its been a bit of a while since I put anything up here (even though my original plan was to put up about one post a week on here after I’d made this site, and it turns out I want to do a lot more than that!), I’ve decided to give you people that generously take some time out of your day to read this a little glimpse of the future. No, I’m not really Professor X (or am I…?), but I would like to tell you about some stuff that’s coming up soon, or later this year, that I’m looking forward to which will be going up here.

Firstly, some music demos will hopefully be posted here soon, and they’ll be easy to spot as I’m going to put them all in a page of their own! There may only be one to start with, and that’s providing that it is any good and I decide to actually put it up, and there wont be any of my guitar on there because I don’t actually know enough to play any of the songs I’ve been using to practise my vocals with! Needless to say, there will eventually be something here to drape your ears in sound with. They would be up sooner, but my vocal lesson this week had to be put aside since my tutor had a prior engagement that needed his attention, so we’re not going to be recording anything this week.

There are a few albums on the horizon that I may well be tempted by, should I find I have the money and the opportunity to buy them. Firstly, In Case Of Fire‘s debut album Align The Planets is due for release on May 11th, but its changed a lot since it’s been announced. I’ve only heard the single This Time We Stand so far, but if that’s the sound they have on this entire album, its definitely worth a listen! Madina Lake have been back in the studio recently, and have produced their second album titled Attics To Eden. If it’s anything like their sound from their debut album From Them, Through Us, To You then again, it will be worth listening to. However, Madina Lake have said that they’ve gone for a slightly different sound (hopefully one more like their cover of Caught Somewhere In Time on the Kerrang! Maiden Heaven Tribute CD – very much a heavier, bassier sound with a splash of keys to break that apart and let the melodies flow a lot more easily), and some more progressive concepts which are obvious for their somewhat “odd” new artwork by artist Vic Lee a.k.a. Lynden St Victor. If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing the artwork for Attics To Eden, you’ll probably have seen the conceptual threads that are in it – the shape of the robot implying that time is cyclical, the dichotomy of the female character… it’s all sounds like a Sci-Fi film really, but if that’s just the album art then that speaks a lot for their new direction. Attics To Eden is due for release April 27th.

Also, Paramore (*cheers*) are heading back into the studio very soon (according to their online blog) and plan to release the follow-up to 2007’s Riot! album later this year towards the end of the Summer period, so that’s definitely something I’ll be anxiously looking forward to! 30 Seconds To Mars are also in the process of recording and releasing a new album, after the success of their second album A Beatuiful Lie. Although no release date has been confirmed by the band, Jared Leto has revealed that the working title for it is rather ominously called This Is War, so keep a look ouot for that later this year! In other news, Blink-182 have announced that they will be reforming, and hopefully touring the UK eventually. This means that I’ll FINALLY be able to see the band that I was so into when I was 13-16 in a live venue!

I’ve also been told by Listed Magazine that I can put the articles I’ve written for them up on this site, as long as I credit them in the appropriate way – this means that there will be some proper Film and Music articles heading onto here very soon as well!

On that note, there are some films due for release that I’ll probably be reviewing and posting here, including X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Watchmen, and a one night only screening of My Name Is Bruce at the cinema I work at! Also, a friend of mine is in a band and they’re putting on a big show on the 6th March at a local venue called The Talking Heads. They’re called Today’s Eden, and I’ll be giving them a write up here around the time of their show, so if you’re interested in unsigned bands then keep watching for that!

Basically, a lot of stuff is going to be put up here soon, so keep on checking! I know I promised this a while ago, but I REALLY mean it this time… promise!

Until the Next Post! -Drew-