the AU interview: Chad Elliott of Funeral Party (California)

Sitting down at a café in Sydney, I received a call from Chad Elliott, lead vocalist and keyboardist for Californian four piece Funeral Party. He, meanwhile, was in Omaha, Nebraska, where they had just finished up a tour and were “hot as hell”.

Funeral Party released their debut record The Golden Age of Knowhere at the beginning of the year to decidedly positive feedback, from fans and critics alike. Though as Chad explained, “we kind of forgot about it…”

“…I mean it’s a blessing to read that people are accepting it, and it was received much better than we thought it would be… but by the time the album was released in January, we’d kind of forgot about it. These songs are three years old for us now. It took so long to get it out there. We’ve grown up since then, we already play the songs a little different.”

It might have been a long time to get the record out – but it was not without its reasons. Their first label, Fearless, wanted to push them in a direction they didn’t want to go. Thankfully, they remained resolute and RCA/Sony came to the rescue, giving them the freedom to go in the direction they always saw for themselves.

It was in this that The Golden Age of Knowhere was finally born. Produced by Lars Stalfors (Matt & Kim, The Mars Volta) and mixed by Dave Sardy (Band of Horses, LCD Soundsystem, Oasis), the record would see the band finally record the tracks they’d already been playing live for some time. But it would still be a while before the album would see the light of day.

“We never stopped touring, really, but for the most part we just had to sit on our hands and be patient… by the time it was released it was a huge relief. But it didn’t really change anything at first. We were keeping on touring as we always have, and already looking forward into the future.”

This future will see the band perform in Australia for the first time, “We can’t wait to get down there, man, I hear that you people know how to party.” And it’s this party that Chad says the band feeds off of, “I couldn’t really tell you what to expect because it depends on what the crowd gives us. If the audience gives us chaos, then we’ll give it right back”.

Indeed, they have been well known for chaos-inducing shows – someone even got stabbed at a show in the early days. But here’s hoping things don’t get THAT crazy.

Releasing your debut record some 7 years after you formed couldn’t be an easy path to take. Indeed, Funeral Party have never been ones to take the easy route. In the early days, they’d have to borrow equipment just to play a show. And in spite of things looking up for the band, you couldn’t say things are all that much better for the band financially: “Yep, we’re still in fucking Whittier. It just makes more sense than to waste money and live away from our hometown.”

They’ve been quoted in the past as saying that part of the reason they wanted to form the band was to get out of the “shitty town”, so it was easy to note the disappointment in Chad’s voice as he said this, though with a good sense of humour about it all. And, as he digresses, “…we’re on the road so much at the moment it doesn’t make that much difference anyway.”

With the last record so far in the past that it’s difficult to get Chad to get into details on it, we looked forward, “we’ll be going into the recording studio to get started on album number two pretty soon. Between now and when we come to Australia we’ll be demoing a bunch of new material, and then hopefully recording it once we’re back again… we’re aiming to get it out there by October next year.”

Wouldn’t that be a change of pace, I suggested. “You got that right”, he agreed. And as to whether or not we can expect new tracks at the shows? “Well we’ve never been down there before so we’ll be playing as much of the album as we can… but we’ll maybe throw in 1 or 2 new songs too…” Certainly couldn’t hurt.

Experience the intensity of Funeral Party live first hand when they tour Australia in August:

Tuesday August 2 Perth – Capitol, 136 100 or

Friday August 5 Sydney – Metro Theatre or 132 849

Saturday August 6 Melbourne – Hi Fi Bar, or 1300THEHIFI (1300 843 443)

Tuesday August 9 Brisbane – Hi Fi Bar, or 1300THEHIFI (1300 843 443)


Funeral Party’s Golden Age of Knowhere is available now through RCA/Sony Music Australia

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.