They may not have appeared much on the UK festival circuit this summer, but Funeral For A Friend are very much back following the release of new LP 'Tales Don't Tell Themselves', which peaked at number 3 in the album chart in May.

The promotional trail has, thus far, seen the band play a number of UK dates, mainly smaller venues,
Bristol date reviewed herewith them currently passing their time out in the States on the Warped Tour, which guitarist Darren Smith tells us is "good, just very very hot. Coming from the UK we're just not use to it!"

On the tour itself he adds "it's been great so far, can't complain. It's our second time around so we know what to expect, we also got moved to the main stage which is a major plus so its going well. Everyone's having a good time."

Warped, like most major festivals in Europe, has many stages, with it's other main attraction being extreme sports. Initially it began as a predominantly skater punk festival, but has diversified to include many forms of rock and metal. This year joining Funeral For A Friend from the UK are Gallows and The Automatic amongst others, which gives an idea of the variety on offer.

The annual traveling festival is the ideal place for UK acts to gain much needed exposure as they try that long slog known as breaking America. On FFAF's own fan numbers Darren explains "it's not as big as the UK but it's growing. The States are considerably bigger than the UK so it takes a long time to get around it and play to people. We have a load of people watch us everyday so it's definitely growing."

The US is considered the toughest nut to crack, with high profile incidents like the cancelled Oasis tours in the early part of their career contributing to this stigma. Then there's headline grabbing factors like the small number of UK acts to dominate on US hit music radio, with the poppier end of the spectrum tending to do better in the form of Coldplay and Snow Patrol (the latter having taken off with 'Chasing Cars'). But plenty of acts give it a fine shot and grind out a reasonable amount of success, something Darren believes is a trend that is building.

"The fact that ourselves, the gallows, the automatic and biffy clyro are on this tour shows that there's definitely a growing interest for British music here. I think the perception of it being a rough deal is that when a band goes from headlining shows in the UK to supporting in the states or playing small clubs some people feel it's a step backwards but it's just that you have to start all over again. It's just harder because it's so much bigger."

Aside from Gallows and the Automatic, who he says are "both great live bands", the rest of the Warped Tour line up is looking strong.

"I'm a big fan of Killswitch Engage, we toured with those guys before and they're amazing live and awesome guys. I'm also looking forward to watching Coheed and Cambria and bad religion, pretty much most of the bands on this tour."

Once Warped and the FFAF American adventure is done for now, it's back to the UK for Rip Curl Boardmasters and Main Stage appearances at Reading and Leeds, with a bigger UK tour to follow?

"I think so. Now the album is out I think we'll step it up a bit and do more shows. I know we're all looking forward to it as we love playing in the UK."

The new album, 'Tales Don't Tell Themselves', was described by Gareth Davies in
this interview in Aprilas "our attempt at a concept record, using the word as loosely as possible."

He elaborated by saying "We don't like the term concept record because it usually makes peoples spines shiver. It's our attempt at adapting our music to a story, which is completely new to us and something that gave us inspiration while writing. We'd written a bunch of material prior to the concept idea, which seemed like we were walking over old territory. We felt stagnant doing it. When Matt brought the concept forward, songs just seemed to flow a lot quicker, writing seemed more invocative and before we knew it we had them all written. It excited us for the first time in about four years."

Now Darren offers this assessment of the success of the album, be it a "concept" one or not.

"It's been good so far. It's a different record for us so it's taking time for it to sink in but it's going well so I have no complaints. It was a massive deal for us when it went in at number 3 in the UK."

Not only did it chart well, but prior to it's release, when the band debuted the album on an exclusive MySpace player, the record received an impressive 646,443 plays in just one week.

The first single, 'Into Oblivion' got the band off to a flier, with massive airplay from the likes of Kerrang, X FM and Radio 1, with even Virgin picking up on it. The next single, 'Walk Away' is now out,
watch the video hereand is proving just as popular as it's another example of Funeral For A Friend turning on the pop rock style. This is something that appears to come naturally, but is it intentional?

"It was actually mainly written by our drummer Ryan. He came up with most of the parts and then we pulled the song apart and put it back together, we never write with the intention of anything being a pop anthem or crossover hit, we always just aim to do what's best for the song."

...and the next single? "We all have preferences, we'll just have to see who wins. We'll toss a coin or something."

As well as a new album of their own, Funeral For A Friend recently released a compilation called 'Back to the Bus'
reviewed hereand it doesn't take a genius to work out what the concept behind this one was.

"We basically sat down and went through the most selected songs on our Ipods and just chose them so what you have is honestly what we listen to while we're on tour. Right now Matt can't stop playing the new Silverchair song. We're all feeling Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes 'Love Lift Us Up', I've recently gotten into Tom Mcrae but can't pick a favourite yet! and pretty much the same songs as we put on the 'Back to the Bus' compilation, the classics never go out of style! We are creatures of habit."

Darren may be referring to the habit being listening to Queen, Black Sabbath, Faith No More and Boston while on the road, but it seems that producing albums packed with big anthems, whether intentionally or not, has also become second nature.

Many previews for the new record suggested this was the band moving on a stage, and this is certainly the case up to a point. Where as their sound may have moved on to an extent, having hit the ground running right from 'Juneau', via 'She Drove Me To Daytime TV' and the massive ballad 'History', quality and variety have always been two words that can describe what Funeral For A friend do.

Darren Smith hints at something of a British rock invasion on the other side of the Atlantic, but with Biffy, Gallows and Enter Shikari among many to be having great year's back here in blighty, not to mention the enormadome filling Muse, 2007 is turning out to be a memorable year for the louder side of British guitar music.

Prior to Download, BBC 6Music ran a report questioning the amount of UK acts appearing at the countries premier rock and metal festival. They did seem to overlook the absence of Funeral For A Friend this time round, and you'd think it's a certainty that they'll be there in 2008. In fact they must surely be a good bet to be in contention for a headline spot, as the latest chapter in the tale of one Welsh rock quintet moves on a pace.