Irish band Fontaines D.C. have called for more mental health support for artists working within the music industry.
Frontman Grian Chatten, who has been discussing the band’s hectic working schedule after achieving critical success with their 2019 debut album Dogrel, has opened up about the mental strain the work can put on artists.
“It’s dangerous, you know, even without the drugs,” he said in a new interview with Music Week. “The big killer for us was a lack of sleep. We’d have a flight in between gigs as our allocated sleep time. So that was rough and made us very bitter about the whole thing, and we started to see each other and everyone we worked with as the devil.
He added: “Then we started to realise that we were bringing it all upon ourselves, and we started asking ourselves again, ‘What exactly do we want out of it? A huge thing for us was just being clever about routing on tours and ensuring that you can get some time off, or that you’re not doing too many drives after gigs. These things add up and they can destroy [a band].”
Reflecting on how he and the band managed to reach for support during their period of work overload, Chatten explained that established artists such as Nadine Shah, Kate Tempest and IDLES offered invaluable assistance. “Kate Tempest has been really good and Nadine Shah,” Chatten said. “And Joe Talbot from IDLES, particularly around that [US] tour, he just really looked after me. When we toured with Idles in America, I think they had just come out of their growing pains, whereas we were just about to go into that. So it was good to have a band like them around. I loved touring America; it was hard but I loved it.”
“It wasn’t even the rise of the band that was head-spinning,” Chatten said. “It was the pace and the relentlessness of it. I really did feel like we were put into a chamber that spins around and you come out the other side. I don’t really know what’s gone on for the last year, I’ve been so focused on what we’ve been doing.”