Have you heard? Funeral For A Friend are amazing again. Yes. They've expelled the crappy-album-elephant from the room and it now feels safe to talk about it. With one listen to 'Welcome Home Armageddon', a huge sigh of relief can be expelled and you can once again feel safe in the hands of the Welsh masters of melody. We caught up with new bassist Richard Boucher while FFAF were gallivanting across the UK on their Spring tour. As he's come in on the tail end of all the experimental backlash, we wondered if he'd got sick of one much repeated question...

R13: On a scale of one to ten how annoying is it having people keep asking why you've changed your sound over the course of ten years?!
Richard: I think with the band- speaking for the others- it's about sticking to your guns and not get in the trap of repeating yourself. The band have always done what they love and try new things. They might not have always played to their strengths and they know that- but we've got a great new record that is playing to our strengths and it sounds great! So on a scale of one to ten... it is a bit annoying... so I guess a five? Its nice that people are interested. They give a shit and they give an interest in the band. I'm an optimist!

R13: 'Funeral For A Friend' as a name has been knocking about for the best part of a decade- do you think reaching that point has made the band come together and reinvigorate that sound they had at the beginning?
Richard: Yeah I think you're in a little bubble sometimes when you're travelling the world and writing music. People don't tell you to your face what they think of you. They'll lie and stab you in the back. But when you're in that little bubble you just don't realise what the vibe is from everyone else. The good thing about myself and Gareth joining, who were friends and fans of the band, we could tell them what we thought. We said they weren't playing to their strengths or doing what Funeral For A Friend do best- we gave them a few home truths.
R13: I think that's what the press and the fans were trying to tell them too... do you think it had more gravity coming from people like yourself who were able to have an impact directly on the music being produced?
Richard: Definitely- we were able to go back to what we love about making music and I think that shows on the record really. Were just guys having fun making the music we love.

R13: 'Welcome Home Armageddon' has had a lot of giddy talk around it saying it's a return to the 'Casually Dressed' era. Do you want people to consider it as a revival of that sound, or a case of it being a result of the trial and error approach of growth through the albums that might not have been so well received?
Richard: A lot of people have compared it to 'Casually Dressed' and I often think the reason is just because its a bit heavier I guess? I wouldn't say it was exactly like 'Casually Dressed', it's basically going back to the start really. It's 'Casually Dressed' but exploring more of that- the heavier aspects and the technical aspects. We're pushing ourselves really and that's what making a record's about- just having fun and trying your hardest. There's been many bands who have been culprits of writing the same record over and over, I'm glad the band has never done that!

R13: What do you think it is about FFAF that's given you the longevity over your emo counterparts circa mid 2000's?
Richard: I think what makes Funeral great is that no matter how heavy or quiet things get, its our amazing sense of melody- that's what I like. That beautiful sense of melody no matter how heavy or crazy it gets.

R13: As a band you've seen your presence and therefore venue and stage sizes fluctuate quite a bit... where to you is most fun to play? Cos of course there's festival stages too...
Richard: Festivals are great 'cos you think, 'Wow! We're playing in front of so many people!' and don't get me wrong, I enjoy playing festivals. In fact we've just come back from South Africa and played in front of about 10,000 people and that was amazing! But there's something so intimate and beautiful about being able to see the whites of people's eyes and the expressions on their faces when you play a particular song they really like. People are stage diving and sweat is dripping off the walls- it's just fun. It's where we all started as bands and where it all began. It's really good to be able to go back to it with this tour. I love sweaty little venues... the dirtier the better! Feet sticking to the floors!
R13: I never understand when people complain about the grottiness- it's great!
Richard: I actually put a tweet out the other day asking what people what people think when they go into a venue and the floors are all sticky... do you think 'dirty bastards they should have brought a mop'; or do you think that people have obviously enjoyed themselves and they're spilling their drinks because they're dancing and enjoying themselves!? Be an optimist- not a pessimist! (Laughs)

R13: Was there any one track from the new album that when you finished writing it you couldn't wait to get out and perform live?
Richard: Well they're all great live tracks. I thought 'Man Alive' was great when we were rehearsing it and it had a real bounce to it and I thought the fans would connect. I think the band's got a really punky feel at the minute that I really enjoy. They are all great though and we try to keep it like that though- stuff that would work really well in the small clubs and that people could dance their asses off to so to speak! (Laughs)

R13: I always thought you could go off and franchise a chain of Funeral Parlours under the band's name. But if you weren't in the band right now, what do you think you would you be doing?
Richard: (Laughs) Well, actually before I was in the band I was running a shipping department...how bloody boring! I was basically organising photomasks- if people know what they are- to be sent globally.
R13: ...photomasks?
Richard: They're panes of glass with blueprints of chips burnt into them. Incredibly boring stuff!
R13: I'm sure you're a lot happier to be touring instead!

R13: Armageddon isn't something that everyone would necessarily welcome home... but you apparently do. So what would the Funeral For A Friend style hospitality involve when you do welcome it?
Richard: We look after everybody! We'd say 'Stick with us! We know what we're doing!' (Laughs) I love the album title I think it's a great play on words. As soon as Matt said it I thought yep, that's the one.

R13: And on the subject of Armageddon, would FFAF ever consider doing a cover of 'Don't Want To Miss A Thing' from the film? I think you'd do a cracking cover...
Richard: Funny you should say that because actually our opening music we come on to is actually the theme tune from 'Armageddon'! Unfortunately Bruce Willis couldn't make it... but we are playing the theme music to start.

R13: Is there anything you would really fancy covering?
Richard: Ooh, that's a hard one. Maybe some Queen? Matt is actually trying to grow a moustache at the moment so he'd probably do a quite good Freddie Mercury cover. Queen's one of Ryan's favourite bands as well so I'm sure he'd love to do 'We Will Rock You'. I'd love to cover Pink Floyd just cos I love them but that'd be quite hard because Gilmour's a legend and Kris can't bend as well as him. Sorry Kris. (Laughs)

R13: So what have been the highlights for you thus far?
Richard: It's hard really because I've only been with the band just short of a year; but since I've joined we've done some of the most amazing things they've done. We came back from Brazil just before Christmas and the band got a chance to see South America. We got looked after really well. And we've just come back from South Africa having played Ramfest over there. That was amazing. They give most of the festivals over here a run for their money in terms of organisation and they took us out and let us do tourist things.
R13: Really? That's good and not something you must get to do much!
Richard: Yeah! We were there for ten days and we did three shows. Went on safari and to Table Mountain. We also went to Moyo which is like a traditional African restaurant where you get to eat up in these big tree houses. It was amazing. We were going to do shark diving but unfortunately Matt's scared of the water and they've got a pretty high death rate over in South Africa so he was dead against that! Yeah...losing a limb. Not too good while you're on tour. (Laughs)

Thanks to Richard for taking the time out to have a chat with us. Remember to go track down 'Welcome Home Armageddon'...it really is the return to glory we've all been waiting for.