Interview: Chad Elliott (of Funeral Party)

Emerging from East L.A., the members that make up Funeral Party have become local heroes for their suburban fans. They embody the classic punk vibe, yet have achieved a sound that “encapsulates the experiences of contemporary youth.”

Beginning with wild backyard parties (stabbings included), Funeral Party is now touring internationally with the likes of Surfer Blood and ex-Strokes vocalist Julian Casablancas. Consequence of Sound had the opportunity of chatting with the articulate lead singer Chad Elliott before Funeral Party’s European tour.

You’ve already started the first leg of the tour. Has it been hard touring in Julian Casablanca’s shadow?

At first it was pretty insane, just who the guy is and what not. Suprisingly people would come up to us telling us how they originally came for him, and ended up liking us even more!

As you continue to play more shows out of your hometown of Whittier, have you seen the fan base grow?

There have been people behind us since day one, so all we can say is thank you to them. The newcomers have been so supportive- they seem to just be glad that we come from nowhere and cant wait until we come out with more material. That just puts smiles on our faces.

On a lighter note,  it must be hard leaving the Los Angeles food scene. What’s missing on the road?

Not to be cliché that we’re Mexican, but the places that we’ve traveled to can’t live up to our Mexican food.

Speaking of which, do Funeral Party fans bond with your Mexican heritage?

Some people do, and some fans could care less. We get approached by the hardcore Mexicans who only speak Spanish, and then we’ll get asked if we’re Indian on the same night.

So when you’re playing shows, do you try to identify as a stereotypical L.A. punk band, or is the audience relying on hearing something new?

We definitely don’t want to be pigeonholed into anything. On stage, we’re not gonna be pretentious and stand there- we’re giving a live show and that’s still the punk feeling about it. As far as the three chord punk structure- we’ve definitely grown up from that. When we started the band we were pretty young, adolescent. Now that we’re getting old, our influences have changed and we’ve changed as people. I think everyone will gladly accept that. Were not trying to keep at the same punk idealistic.

The first and only Funeral Party EP came on Fearless Records. What was your relationship with the label and what became of your contract?

They really wanted us to be the next At the Drive-In. They saw us – the energy, the rawness. We were never keen to that idea, and we didn’t find out their intentions until after we signed to them. We don’t wanna be the next anything, we just wanna be us. They had all these expectations that we didn’t want to live up to. So the relationship just kinda died out. Luckily we got picked up by someone else (RCA Records).

So what can we expect from Funeral Party in the near future?

We’re releasing our debut full length in August on RCA. Everything is going great. The recordings are done, just some little details on the artwork need to be worked out.

The Bootleg EP was just a taste of what FP has to offer. What’s been the biggest difference on this album from your first release?

We definitely have a lot of artistic freedom on this one. The Bootleg EP was the kind of stuff that we already had recorded and were just sitting on for a while, waiting for something to happen. They (Fearless) packaged it how they wanted to, and we didn’t really have a say on it. This time around we got to record, edit, and really make it our own.

Feature photograph by Heather Kaplan.


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