Interview: Fangclub

Dan O’Connor chats with Steve King from Fangclub about starting out, earning cash and sleeping like a rock.

When talking about up and coming Irish rock bands, there seems to one name on quite a few people’s lips: Fangclub. The three piece have had a pretty busy year or two under their belts. Between signing to Universal Music Ireland, shooting music videos and international touring, they’ve barely had time to squeeze in the recording of their new album. That said, songwriter and frontman Steve King assures me that they are well rested and ready for what the new year may throw at them, “We actually get our best sleep when we’re out on the road. We have all this pent-up energy you’re releasing every show and then at night we’d just crash. It’s great”.

Hailing from North County Dublin, which is not exactly known as a hotbed for grunge rock, King says it was pure chance that brought three lads with such a similar passion together, in what seems a cliché ‘how the band got together’ story. “I came across Kev (bassist) in school, and we had a band that used to play house parties, and that’s how we met Dara (drummer). We just started it for fun, we never thought it would turn into anything.”

At first glance you may think that you can nail Fangclub on as yet another run of the mill, head banging, fist raising, mosh pitting grunge band, but King argues there is more depth to their music than that.

“A lot of our influences would be Nirvana, Wheezer, The Offspring, stuff like that. It’s really about the melody along with the music. That’s something I spend a lot of time on.”

King admits that many of his songs do stem from just him and an acoustic guitar. “Dreamcatcher for example was an acoustic song at the start. I write most of my songs on the acoustic. It kicks hard with the full band but stripped back to just guitars it’s really nice as well.” The amount of time and thought given to pairing the vocal melodies with the guitar is evident in the acoustic session Steve and Dara did for XS Radio in Manchester while on tour, which is available to watch on Youtube.

When asked about signing onto Universal Music Ireland, King is quick to praise how much freedom the label assured them of. “Straight away they let us know they didn’t want us to change anything, which was great. We were so big headed at the time that we thought we were the shit, just like every other band does I suppose. That gave us the opportunity to do it on a bigger platform. It gave us more ambition, more drive”.

King also insists that due to the fact that they have a great manager whom they can trust, the money side of a deal like that isn’t something they have to keep a close eye on. From an outsider looking in, there is always the misconception that signing deals makes you instant, cold, hard cash, but in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just look at the case of Ian Brown, who was living on his friend’s couch when the Stone Roses released their first album. King seconds this: “Nothing really changed for us, though people we knew thought we’d won the fucking lottery”.

Having played numerous historical venues internationally, including Glasgows famed KingTut’s, and crowds growing ever greater, live shows are where Fangclub are really at their peak. “We put a lot of work into our live shows recently to make it into a big rock show”, King says. “Cause I don’t really see that many of them around any more, especially in clubs. We’re really proud of how our live shows have developed”.

There is no rest for the wicked, and that is certainly true for Fangclub, who King says are rehearsing everyday and constantly in and out of the studio, cataloguing and recording everything they do. With some big gigs coming up including a support slot for The Pixies in July, and a new album release in August, expect to hear a lot more from these lads in the near future.