“A lot of the things we’re reading at the moment are [about] trying to find beauty in hardship,” explains Fontaines DC guitarist Conor Curley. “It’s expensive to live in Dublin now and as an artist you can almost feel pushed out because of rent prices, but then you look at the [River] Liffey and you see the divine beauty in the skyline and that’s where we wanted to push it - to make people see the art around the city.”
Though sonically his band might find reference points in the careering punk of The Pogues or, more recently, the likes of Partisan labelmates IDLES, it’s in this romanticising of their hometown that the quintet - completed by vocalist Grian Chatten, guitarist Carlos O’Connell, bassist Conor Deegan III and drummer Tom Coll - really find their true lineage. Influenced by the poetry and writing of lauded natives Yeats and Joyce, it’s through this literate lens that the band are filtering their niche of ramshackle punk rock.
“Ireland is almost a living thing and has so much character in it. All these writers were touched by the country and by the culture and they wanted to represent these feelings towards where they live and where they’re from in their art,” Conor continues. “Dublin and city life is that topic that keeps coming up in all the songs [we’re writing].”
“We just want to try and express the viewpoint of common people.”
— Carlos O’Connell
Rather than mere doe-eyed love letters, however, the likes of recent single ‘Chequeless Reckless’ - “A sell-out is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money / An idiot is someone who let’s their education do all the thinking” - ring with a politically and socially-attuned bite. “We just want to be self-aware and aware of what’s going on in the world. It’s more liberating and it provokes conversations,” says Carlos of the band’s outlook. “I think we just want to try and express the viewpoint of common people and maybe an anxiety and a stress that comes from your surroundings and the overloading of media and social media commentary. To take it back to common ground.
Currently recording their debut album, slated for release early next year, Fontaines DC are cementing a mission statement that should solidify this mantra of beauty and unity among the bleakness. “We like to use our music to be vulnerable in a certain way,” summarises Conor. “Before this band, poetry was the outlet for that, but I think there’s a certain vulnerability to this which is, in my opinion, the most beautiful aspect of it.”
As featured in the September 2018 issue of DIY, out now.