ARTISTdirect Funeral Party Q&A
Tue, 04 Jan 2011 16:58:39
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Funeral Party make danceable art punk. What the hell is danceable art punk, you ask? Well, I'll tell you one thing. It'll latch onto your brain like a grey matter parasite due to its clang and clatter, yet melodic bluster. The style is big in the UK, where this LA-based band has been happily received! It's impressive that a band that formed late one night while drinking in a park outside of Los Angeles has made its mark across the pond so soon, but so the story goes for Funeral Party. Even the popular music rag NME christened them one of the "50 Best New Bands of 2010." That's British high praise, no doubt.
Golden Age of Knowhere, the band's RCA debut, is due out March 29th and it comes hot on the heels of the band's Reading and Leeds appearances last September!
The band will release an EP called "Live at the BBC," showcasing exclusive remixes and live tracks recorded for the Zane Lowe Show in August on January 25, 2011!
ARTISTdirect.com contributor Amy Sciarretto spoke to vocalist/keyboardist Chad Elliott several weeks before the album's release to get the lowdown on the band's UK buzz, the ghosts he is battling (and no, I don't mean metaphorically) and the unconventional and unusual recording process the band undertook for The Golden Age of Knowhere.
Funeral Party are bound to catch on in the US. Remember: You read about them here first.
Tell me everything we need to know about Funeral Party?
We're growing up. We're in our mid-20s and we are still young at heart. We try to capture feelings that we had growing up in our music. Everyone's dreams and desires is to stay young in their hearts. We want something to latch onto, like our youthfulness, as a band, and to try and relate to people and that feeling that people have.
You're like Peter Pan, trying to retain the essence of youth!
I guess so. It's not so Michael Jackson-creepy, though. [Laughs]
Why is there such a big Funeral Party buzz in the UK?
We don't understand it ourselves. That's just the way it happened. You go there, get bigger and come back here with a buzz. I don't get it. They appreciate music more over there than here. We're more interested in celebrities here, as a culture.
American culture is obsessed with reality shows and everything in the entertainment world is so fickle and bite-sized. It's substance-less and all about celeb culture. Ugh!
It gets in the way. They listen to radio over there. It's cool to go there and be a band. You can be taken a little more seriously. It sucks. I remember the time, when we were kids, like real little kids, music was played on TV. The radio was the main source of new music, like when the whole grunge era was happening. I would watch my brother who was into grunge. I thought, 'I want to be in a band, look how cool people are who are in bands.' Now being in a band is like dressing like you're in a band. It's all about image.
Let's talk about The Golden Age of Knowhere.
It took a year to finish it. We finished the music fast, and I had to go in and do vocal takes. I was going through a break up-slash-getting with someone else, so at that point, my voice was more 'raspy sounding.' Later on, my relations were going fine, so it had more of a soothing sound. Our producer, Lars Stalfors, was a cool, patient guy. He got that. My voice changed. I was there in the studio the most, since the band finished quickly.
What are your favorite studio memories?
The really late nights, getting out of the studio, seeing the sun rise at 5 or 6 AM when we got out. We wanted to do things separately, rather than as a band for this album. With the next one, we'll do it as a band, so we can work faster. It was like, 'So and so didn't like this part!' and the response was, ‘If I was there, we could have done this yesterday.'
Why did you decide to conduct yourselves so separately while in the studio?
I don't know. It was more our producer. He works with The Mars Volta and that's how they work, I guess. They have years behind them. He was used to their style and we weren't sure what we were doing, so we did what he was used to. It was a learning experience, and now we have ideas about how we want to do it. All experiences are bittersweet, right?
I am still trying to process this - so all the band members were not at the studio together?
It didn't see them for a month. We would only see each other when we practiced. We recorded and then went on a tour. We all hang out as friends, so I would see them probably during the weekend. Our producer wanted to capture the individuality of each member and get them to put their passion into their parts.
What about Funeral Party will appeal to US audiences?
In America, bands follow trends so much, as opposed to the UK, so it's hard to say. It's the people who look cool. What music you play doesn't matter. We needed cooler friends in America.
Tell me something about you that's not related to The Funeral Party?
I am into the spiritual world. There is a ghost haunting my room where there is this weird banging on my roof. It's crazy. It's creepy. I live in the back of a house in a shanty shack deal and at weird hours of the night, I heard it. I thought it was an animal, so I hit the roof, but then it hit back with three bangs. That's not an animal; animals don't hit back, so what the fuck was that? I have been exploring more of the spiritual world, so I can see what it is or how I can I get it away.
I wouldn't want to mess with it!
I know. I don't want it to be there. I am not fucking around with things. The more I go into it, the more I thought about who lived there before.
Go on tour and get away from it!
Yeah, I guess so!