Fontaines D.C. might not necessarily sound like The Rolling Stones, and they are certainly very different people, but they share a singular kinship that pairs them and has done from the very start for one of music’s most exciting bands for decades.
Speaking to So Young Magazine, frontman Grian Chatten was asked about the artists that have influenced Fontaines D.C. One band he mentioned was the Rolling Stones. “The Stones harnessed the Blues which gave them a corner to fight and I reckon we do the same with Irish trad to a degree,” he said. While both bands are neither blues nor Irish traditional on the surface, there is an undercurrent of those roots in everything they do.
As Keith Richards told Under the Influence documentary regarding the blues, roots and reggae music that inspired the band: “It’s all so natural, there’s none of this forced stuff that I was getting tired of in rock music.” He then goes on to clarify, “Rock & Roll I never get tired of, but ‘rock’ is a white man’s version, and they turn it into a march, that’s [the modern] version of rock. Excuse me,” he adds humorously, “I prefer the roll.”
This championing of an influence in your own work while remaining very much your own thing is at the heart of both acts, and for Fontaines D.C. it goes back to when the band first formed. In an interview with the clothing brand Fred Perry, the Irish group were asked about the songs that bonded them.
“The first track we played on repeat?” they muse, “Since we all started getting into the same bands together a track that really stands out is ‘Street Fighting Man’ by The Rolling Stones. The simplicity of the arrangement and the revolving chords moved our focus to simplicity in our songwriting.”
While simplicity and riff-based music is at the centre of what we have come to expect from the band, the blues has evaded them so far, but that is not to say it won’t feature on their forthcoming album. Although frontman Grian Chatten has been rather reticent when it came to specifics, he did drop a few potential hints, or possibly red herrings about what to expect. “We wouldn’t want to ruin it for you, you know — or for us,” he told NME.
Later adding, “The period between the initial conception of a piece of music and when you release it is quite sacred. It’s really important for us and our relationship with our own creativity not to mess around with that. Anything we say can and will be held against us.”
That being said, he was willing to venture that there’s a couple of “disco” tracks on there, stating: “There are definitely a couple of disco tracks on there, you know?” he said. “We’ve got a few ’70s collars in the band, so why not?”