INTERVIEW: Funeral For A Friend’s Gavin Burrough

IK Multimedia's MODO BASS

ConduitFuneral For A Friend’s sixth and latest album is Conduit. It’s one of the heaviest records the band has ever done, yet as always the brutality is tempered by some rather complex, almost jazz-like chords. Okay, maybe ‘jazz’ is stretching it a bit but they’re certainly more intricate than the voicings employed by most heavy bands. “It’s funny how other people interpret it,” guitarist Gav Burrough says. “When you’re writing it, it’s organic and it just comes out. So what we try to do is to not think about it. We just think about whether it’s a match, and we’re quite self-critical. So that’s what comes out! When we write them we never really try and go for a particular sound. It’s just, if everyone likes it, that’s it!”

Conduit is the band’s first album to feature former Rise To Remain drummer Pat Lundy, who stepped in after drummer/vocalist Dyan Richards decided to leave. So how did the drummer change affect the band dynamic? After all, Richards left after the material was written but before it was recorded, which isn’t the easiest situation to introduce a new member into. “The drumming is the backbone of the band and it creates the whole feel behind all the songs. So when Ryan said he was going to leave it was really important for us to get someone in who we thought would be able to bring something into the band and maybe something different as well. So when we asked Pat to join the band we knew what he was capable of. He’s a bit of a prodigy on the drums. He’s really talented. And he’s brought more energy and aggression to the songs. It’s pretty exciting to be playing with him, to be honest, because he’s such a good drummer.”

Gav says the heaviness that infuses Conduit is a natural progression, rather than a conscious decision to bring back some of the more extreme elements that powered earlier recordings. “We took a bit of a U-Turn after we did Memory and Humanity (2008). We took a long look at ourselves. And I think those two albums, Tales Don’t Tell Themselves and Memory and Humanity didn’t strike a chord with fans, and they didn’t strike a chord with us either, to be honest. We did a bit of soul searching. So I think with the last two albums we’ve tried to bring back elements to the band that were missing before. We’d consciously made the decision to take some of those elements out which were elements that people really liked us for, so we tried to bring them back. So this album is a natural progression from where we left off with Welcome Home Armageddon (2011), but we’ve gone one step further where it’s very direct and cohesive.”

Framus Panthera Custom

Gav’s guitar of choice is the Framus Diablo. “It’s sort of a Stratty, Ibanez-like shape,” he explains. “I also play Pantheras [that’s one in the pic above, and you can see more here], which are a little bit unique. It’s got kind of a Gibson sort of shape. They’ve been kind enough to give me a load of custom-made guitars. I get to choose the whole spec of everything that went into them. They’ve got so many options you can go with on the custom shop side of things, and they’ve been really supportive. The guitars sound great and I’m really happy with them.” His pickup brand of choice is generally EMG, but he’s not averse to trying other brands too. “I’ve gone through loads and loads of different pickups. I’ve also got a few Seymour Duncan Customs and JB Models, and I’ve got a Bare Knuckle Warpig. One of my friends kindly lent it to me so it’s in my guitar at the moment and it sounds great. I get a little bit restless: I put one in, get used to the sound for a bit, then, ‘Ah, I’ll try something else.'”

Funeral For A Friend

Amp-wise Gav is a strict Peavey 6505 man. “They do the job for what we want, really. Just good heavy-sounding amps.” His only pedals are a noise suppressor and a TC Electronic tuner. “No messing about. We’ve got some delays in some songs, but I’ve got a knack of breaking my delay pedals. At one point we had TC Electronic G-Systems and you needed a doctorate to use it so we got rid of it in the end. I just use a Boss digital delay, nothing fancy.”

Funeral For A Friend Australian Tour 2013

Wednesday, 8 May – The Rev, Brisbane (18+)

Thursday, 9 May – Surfers Paradise Beer Garden, Gold Coast (18+)

Friday, 10 May – The Cambridge, Newcastle (18+)

Saturday, 11 May – Manning Bar, Sydney (18+)

Tuesday, 14 May – The Basement, Canberra (18+)

Wednesday, 15 May – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (18+)

Thursday, 16 May – Pier Live, Frankston (18+)

Friday, 17 May – Fowlers Live Adelaide (Lic.AA)

Saturday, 18 May – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury (18+)

Sunday, 19 May – Amplifier Bar, Perth (18+)