Interview: Fontaines D.C. – “getting ready to do it all again…”

The biggest and best breakthrough band of the year, Dublin’s Fontaines D.C. built on their early self-published poetry collections to bring their literary side out in the brilliant, impossible to pigeonhole drama of Mercury Prize-nominated debut Dogrel. As guitarist Carlos O’Connell tells John Earls, it looks like the quintet are ready to do it all again – with added sunshine.

Image: Daniel Topete

What’s been the best moment of 2019?
It’s so non-stop that it’s all a blur, but it was probably at the start of the year when we toured Europe. It was just the five of us, with no crew. Everything went wrong, but we put it all to one side and rolled with everything that came us. From that, we learned there was no point in getting stressed. If something wasn’t going to work, it wasn’t going to work, and there was no point worrying about it.
Did Dogrel achieve everything you wanted it to?
As a record, yeah. When we finished it, I was completely satisfied as it represents everything we wanted it to. And what it’s done commercially, that a was lot more than we expected.
What’s your relationship like with Partisan Records? With bands like IDLES, Cigarettes After Sex and Eagulls, it seems like a community there…
Yeah, it’s very much like that. We’ve got a great relationship, especially with the owner, Tim (Putnam). They’re people that I love and trust, we like being around them and that’s important. If we didn’t have that, it would have been very difficult to get as much done as we have.
Dogrel is specific to Dublin. Will that still be the case in the new songs?
No. The new record is very different, both musically and lyrically. It’s strayed a lot from being based in a time and a place. We don’t have that experience anymore, because we just aren’t based in one place and time. There’s a dreamlike atmosphere to the new record, as that’s what this year has felt like. The record feels like a dream that sometimes goes into nightmares and fairytales. It’s been a very up-and-down year. There’s been no time for any break, so it’s been madness at times and we’ve felt quite lost. But it’s been magical as well.
When will you get chance to record the album?
Well, we did it all in October. That’s been my real favourite moment of 2019, making the new record. I don’t know how we’ve found time to do it all, but we have. We’ve made it in LA, as this record is a lot more influenced by The Beach Boys, so we wanted to go to California. These songs are much more considered, in the details of the song arrangements.
Did you get any time to live the LA rock star lifestyle?
No. We were in the studio for 12 hours a day and slept the other 12. Working with Dan Carey on Dogrel, his home became our home, his family became our family and he became a very caring person in our lives. This one was a bit different. We were very invested in our time and it was all about the record for those couple of weeks.
Who’s the biggest vinyl fan in the band?
We all enjoy buying records and we all love the way you listen to records. Our drummer Tom (Coll) and I used to share a house together. We never had a TV, just a record player, so the first thing you’d do when you got home was put a record on. That’s how I spent my days, and if I get a break I’ll do more of that.