Throwback to a time, the word “Emo” was met with dirty stares all around. Being an “Emo” had a negative connotation to the uninitiated – wearers of an all black ensemble, the teenage angst, and most notably, the fringe over the eye and the bleeding red mascara. Musically, there were a host of bands that followed suit, bands like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, their heavier cousins Silverstein, Hawthorne Heights and the band in the centre of it all – the emo progenitors, the OG – Funeral For A Friend (FFAF).
Kris Coombs-Roberts, lead guitarist and founding member of the Welsh post-hardcore stalwarts FFAF, shudders at the thought of his band’s teenage angst-driven connection. “I don’t think we were ever really comfortable with the whole emo tag,” he says, in an email interview with Popspoken. “We always felt that our influences are drawn heavily from the hardcore music scene.” FFAF has been long considered one of the pioneers of the genre, paving way for bands such as My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, and Panic! At The Disco.
To his chagrin, an emo-revival has been made in recent times. Often in amalgamation, emo has been alive and kicking in other genres such as hardcore, indie rock, pop-punk, math-rock, and punk over the past few years. Internationally, we’ve seen bands like American Football, The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die and the entire Topshelf Records roster prevail, while locally, we’ve seen bands like False Plaintiff, Caulfield Cult, and our recently-hailed three-piece outfit forests leading the charge.
Asked if he was familiar with these new emo-revival bands, Coombs-Roberts says that “he tries to listen to music from what we’re associated with” and candidly admits that the “the Jurassic Park theme tune is quite big in the van at the moment.” The band was formed in 2001 by Coombs-Roberts, and FFAF‘s iconic line-up was completed when vocalist Matthew Davies-Kreme and drummer/unclean vocalist Ryan Richards joined the band in 2002 and 2003 respectively.
Coombs-Roberts turns slightly defensive when probed if the demise of the band started after the departure of drummer/unclean vocalist Richards in 2012. “No. We’ve done two albums since (Richard’s departure) and nobody has forced us to make this decision, so absolutely not,” he says.
He also recalls his 15-minutes-of-fame moment on local national television, when he was called to become a punter – a footy punter, if you will – when they last performed here in 2007. “I remember being a guest on a television show to talk about football,” he says.
After producing acclaimed post-hardcore hallmarks such as Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation (2003), Hours (2005), and Tales Don’t Tell Themselves (2007) and winning two Kerrang! awards in the process – what’s next for the band, career-wise?
He says, “I think we intend on taking some time off and then evaluating where we are. Who knows what the future holds – so we’re all just go on enjoying these final shows and living in the here and now.”
Thanks, Funeral For A Friend, you’ll forever be in the creases our hearts.
Want to relieve those teenage emo days again? Funeral For A Friend will be performing their final “Last Chance To Dance” tour at the *Scape Ground Theatre, Level 2. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.sistic.com.sg/events/friend0216.
Where: *Scape The Ground Theatre
When: 19 February, 2016, Friday
Ticket Pricing: Standard Ticket, $108