Interview Death or Glory: Fontaines DC
In-fighting. Self-doubt. An entire scrapped album recording. This is the story of ‘A Hero’s Death’, and how it helped piece Fontaines DC back together again.
Grian Chatten, coffee in hand and sat next to bandmate and guitarist Carlos O’Connell, is recalling a time mid-way through one of Fontaines DC’s many European jaunts in support of ‘Dogrel’ - the 2019 debut that propelled the quintet from buzzy Dublin newcomers to one of Europe’s most in-demand bands in the space of barely a year. It’s objectively a successful time; one that was categorised by endless sold-out gigs, constant radio play, and capped off with a slew of ‘Album of the Year’ plaudits. Or so it looked from the outside.
“Everyone was at a point where we were carrying a litany of resentments against each other,” the singer recalls in a strong, slightly mumbled Irish brogue. “Nobody [in the band] represented a friend, everyone was a business partner who was fucking you up a bit. Me and Carlos were pretty bad at one point in Europe but we just really, really fucking addressed it. It’s those moments that I’m probably the most proud of, more than selling out Brixton [Academy] or anything - our ability to turn things around with our friendships.”
For, more than a simple tale of doubling down on the hype and riding the success of their debut into the ring for a second run, the journey to new album ‘A Hero’s Death’ is one of watching things edge towards the precipice and clawing them back. Of - aptly for its title - letting go of certain expectations, and learning to prioritise what matters the most.
“I’ve come to realise that I didn’t deal with anything last year. I just went through it and forgot to take a step back and make sense of everything around me. I just kept going,” Carlos nods. “I always thought of it like the album got more successful than us, so you’re always chasing that success. We were always a step behind, and things were already ahead.
“We weren’t ready for that.”