Footnotes

The Story Behind Every Song On Fontaines D.C.’s New Album A Hero’s Death

When we first met Fontaines D.C., they were already exciting. Between early singles like “Hurricane Laughter” and “Boys In The Better Land” and raw and exhilarating gigs in Dublin, everything seemed to point towards them being one of the best in a sudden swell of young guitar bands coming from the UK and Ireland. Still, nobody — perhaps least of all the band themselves — could’ve predicted quite how 2019 would go.

By the time their debut album Dogrel arrived in April of last year, there was already a good amount of buzz surrounding the group. But then the the cycles of runaway acclaim and festering backlash seemed to fuel an altogether more unexpected arc for 2019, one in which Fontaines D.C. experienced about as rapid an ascension a rock band of their ilk could attain in our times. Dogrel wound up landing on plenty end-of-year lists — ranking high on our own — and earned them a Mercury Prize nomination. But as told by the band themselves, their breakout year doesn’t sound victorious.

You hear the term “whirlwind” thrown around a lot when a young group enters some dizzying, successful phase, but Fontaines were, apparently, only worn down by the speed at which their lives changed. The band’s five members — frontman Grian Chatten, guitarists Carlos O’Connell and Conor Curley, bassist Conor “Deego” Deegan, and drummer Tom Coll — went through bouts of whiplash and disorientation. They’d made their name on cataloguing their surroundings at home in Dublin, and now they were unmoored as artists and as people. Aggressive tour schedules led to burnout, cancelled dates, and the band regrouping to repair their frayed relationships and rediscover their creative impulse.

In short, Fontaines D.C. collapsed a whole chunk of a band’s lifetime into one feverish and intense year, and it resulted in a sophomore album. That album, A Hero’s Death, arrives today, just a little over a year after Dogrel. And given how different it is, you can hear that lifetime transpiring between early 2019 and now.

Beginning as bleary snapshots from the road and completed in writing sessions between tour legs last summer, A Hero’s Death is an album of transformation and movement, but also of real heaviness. There’s defeat and world-weariness, and there’s haunting reflections grasping toward the faintest glimmer of resolution. The music strikes a somewhat miraculous balance. Fontaines once more teamed with their early collaborator/Speedy Wunderground mastermind Dan Carey, recording the album at his London studio. The pairing is even more effective than before. A Hero’s Death is ever so slicker and more produced and orchestrated than Dogrel, without the band losing their essence; it still sounds like them, but trades the rough-hewn anthems of their early days for music that throbs and warps and eventually sighs.

From song to song, A Hero’s Death is nastier and more foreboding, and then more transfixing and gorgeous, as if leaning into extremes only suggested at the far edges of Dogrel. As a sophomore album, it defies expectations of a quick followup to an adored and hyped-up debut that merely repeats established, tried-and-true formulae. It is retreat, refinement, expansion, and evolution all at once. A more internal and anxious work, but one that unveils an ambition within Fontaines, one that looks towards even bigger canvases than the vividly lived-in character studies of their debut.

On the occasion of A Hero’s Death finally making it out into the world, we caught up with Chatten and O’Connell via Zoom. They took us through the themes and studio tricks behind the songs, peeling back the dense layers that define them. Now that you can hear our reigning Album Of The Week for yourself, read along below for the stories behind A Hero’s Death.

1. “I Don’t Belong”

STEREOGUM: When this song came out, it was sort of positioned as an anti-“Big.” Like it was very intentional that it was a different message and tone as the first song on the album, compared to how Dogrel began.

CARLOS O’CONNELL: I suppose it wasn’t written as an anti-“Big.” We could’ve put something like “A Hero’s Death” as the first track. But I think any tune that was a bit like Dogrel would’ve given the wrong first impression to the listener. We just wanted to make sure, from the get-go, that this album is a different thing.

STEREOGUM: Grian, what were you reacting to when you wrote these lyrics?

GRIAN CHATTEN: I think the things that maybe felt like a threat against my individuality in my life at the time. I was stepping into a really serious relationship for the first time in my life, and there was that fear of losing myself in that. There was also the greater threat I recognized, the adulation and the feedback and critique of our music and our band, and the expectation of our music in a way. I think I’m very susceptible to people-pleasing. I often end interactions feeling kind of dirty because I’ve forced myself into saying things I don’t believe, or into acting happy or energetic or whatever. That sickness kind of built up and this tune came out of that.

STEREOGUM: Musically speaking, it was rather striking the first time I heard it. Not just that it was mellower — I feel like the album has this clarity, this orchestration and cleaner production, but also this gloominess to it. How early did this song arrive in the writing process?

CHATTEN: It was relatively early I think. I made a demo before our tour with IDLES [in the spring of 2019]. I remember listening to the demo of that tune while I was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and deciding we should do that song for the album.

O’CONNELL: Musically I remember that was the first demo that was done that had a lot of improvisation through the recording. Parts weren’t set in stone, the dynamics weren’t set in stone. We just played it through and recorded, then listening back to it there was a certain magic that happened in the moment of recording that and with the reality that there was a bit of uncertainty while playing the song. I think it’s that magic that happens when you don’t know what you’re doing.

STEREOGUM: I know in the moment you might not think so concretely about it, but as you kept coming back to this demo was there a spark of like, “Oh yeah, we’re tapping into something different, we need to keep exploring this”? How intentional was the stylistic shift?

O’CONNELL: I definitely felt the excitement of this being something new as we were walking around and listening to it. I think that’s what happened more on this record than the other one; there’s more space for improvisation. Not necessarily melodically or harmonically, but in terms of dynamics and extra sounds and atmospheres. There’s a lot more that happened in the moment of writing and recording.

2. “Love Is The Main Thing”

STEREOGUM: This is another where I was surprised by the aesthetic — to me it almost has this goth sound.

CHATTEN: What I wanted to do musically on that tune was build the ceiling really high. There’s this sense of fluorescence about it with the tremolo guitar. It’s sort of bombastic and strobe-y. I wanted to create a feeling of a whisper or a worn-down voice at the center of this big, glittery cathedral. When we were recording it as well, I remember Dan described it as a party that’s next door that you’re not really invited to. That “Love is the main thing” mantra being the thing — you want to be there, you want to join in with the rest of the happy people. He made the bass drum sound like [gestures like he’s hitting a neighbor’s wall] “Keep it down in there!”

STEREOGUM: That’s interesting, I hadn’t thought about it that way — like sound reverberating from within a club while you’re outside. Thematically it seems related to a kind of isolation that runs through parts of the album.

CHATTEN: I’d definitely describe this song as being fairly dark. I wouldn’t really agree with anyone who saw it as a positive message. The sense of isolation when you come home from tour is … remarkable. You come home and you’re so not used to asking people how they are, or being able to listen to other people talk about how they are. Because all you do is talk about you, and if you’re not talking about yourself directly you’re talking about your schedule or something. It just puts a gulf between you and the people you return to. I think that sense of distance and isolation definitely influenced the album. What I feel like I’m channelling as well is a desire to be able to accept love.

STEREOGUM: I was going to ask if it was connected to “I Don’t Belong” in that sense, reckoning with the early stages of a big relationship.

CHATTEN: I definitely think that they’re akin. There’s a few tunes on this album that have that. I think “Sunny” is one of them as well. Being estranged from a society which is capable of love.

3. “Televised Mind”

STEREOGUM: You debuted this over a year ago, before Dogrel even came out. At the time it kind of felt like it was a bit more related to Dogrel, it just had this different groove to it. The finished version is this much darker, more intense thing. And it was influenced by the Prodigy and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, right?

CHATTEN: The Prodigy, but I was also listening to a bit of Roni Size at the time as well. Curley wrote the chord progression as a sort of Brian Jonestown chord progression.

O’CONNELL: I was listening to a lot of Spacemen 3. I was looking at guitars a lot more like that, which I hadn’t before. A lot more psychedelic.

STEREOGUM: Grian, you’ve talked about how this song was about echo chambers. Were you speaking specifically about a digital era context or general day-to-day life?

CHATTEN: It wasn’t specifically the digital era. I think one kind of breeds the other, you know what I mean? They both generate a culture of an echo chamber. They both allow you to drive down your separate holes. I think that’s why votes and referendums of late have been so incredibly shocking in terms of the outcomes. Nobody expects the outcomes. How could they if they see no evidence of contrary thought, you know?

STEREOGUM: Dublin is not a concrete place on this album like on Dogrel, but you’ve mentioned you wanted to keep it in your language and thoughts. So the refrain here, “What ya call it,” it’s a thing people say around town.

CHATTEN: It’s a buffer. It’s like saying, “What was I talking about?” It’s supposed to reflect a culture of distraction, I suppose, not being able to maintain a focus or commit to an idea. A mind that is easily swayed or bought, you know?

4. “A Lucid Dream”

STEREOGUM: This one was originally called “A Lucid Dream Of 1916.” Did you actually have a lucid dream about the Easter Rising?

CHATTEN: I think it was that. I was definitely in Dublin. The GPO was there. I wanted to capture that sense of a storm, disorientation. I decided to take the “1916” out of it really because… Well, to be honest, I’m probably afraid of it being too controversial.

STEREOGUM: Why do you think it’d be controversial?

CHATTEN: I didn’t want to say anything like, “I was there.” I think it would’ve been controversial in Ireland. Not in Britain, I’d almost like to be controversial in Britain with that kind of thing. But it reflects poorly back at home.

STEREOGUM: Had you experienced blowback to the way you had written about Dublin on the first album?

O’CONNELL: We definitely experienced a little bit. People have this notion that… we represented a Dublin that doesn’t exist, or whatever. But it’s just because it’s not the way they see it, or the way they experienced it. It happened to us, it’s not a big thing but there definitely was a bit of a… I think a lot of it comes from a place of resentment towards success.

STEREOGUM: I know a lot of this album came from very specific aspects of your lives in the last year, but was that ever a conscious thing like, “Let’s not write about this right now, people don’t get where we’re coming from”? Or you naturally had to talk about these other things?

CHATTEN: I really wanted to try something else. I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself lyrically, either, as well as musically. I wanted to push the boundaries. I think it’s good to almost become comfortable with disappointing people early on in your career. I think not writing about Dublin was almost like a… a mental fortification. I wanted not to feel personally trapped.

STEREOGUM: I know there was an actual dream in your head, but this “sense of a storm” seems to describe a lot of the album. This song, “Televised Mind,” “Living In America,” these came out of a very surreal, bleary time being on the road.

CHATTEN: Yeah, I think it felt good to replicate the sense of rush and noise that we felt in our day-to-day lives. It felt good to recreate how that sounds, impressionistically, and then almost singing through that. Like if you were confined to your gaff, you were under house arrest, then drawing pictures of you outside the door. It just kind of felt good to recreate that feeling.

5. “You Said”

STEREOGUM: Carlos wrote this song in a Brussels hotel room with Curley.

O’CONNELL: We wrote the guitars for it, yeah. That was real Brian Jonestown-inspired as well, musically, I think. We had the bones of it musically from that hotel room and we kind of ignored that little recording we did for a long time, and then toward the end of the summer we decided to play through it. It was one of those songs that just kind of happened, I think. We had everything set up in the room and we decided to jam on it and record it.

Everything that happened — the dynamic changes, all the swaps — all that kinda stuff happened real naturally as a way of trying all these different ideas. It had the best flow it could’ve possibly had. There were certain moments, like when Grian changed the melody at the bridge and I instantly changed the one riff I’d been playing over and over again to this more melodic bit. None of that was planned, but I think we were completely in the flow of writing in the summer and we got to that point where we just had the bones of a song and could see if it lives in the room.

STEREOGUM: When I first heard it I was taken aback by how pretty and sort of spacey it is. And Grian’s truly singing on it.

CHATTEN: Definitely, I’d never used that — I didn’t even really sing on the first album. I can sing when it’s soft, a lot more than I can when it’s loud.

STEREOGUM: Where did this one come from thematically?

CHATTEN: The lyrics were written really, really quickly and they weren’t labored over. There wasn’t a line where I really sat down — much like the spirit of the rest of the writing of the song, what came out initially, that was it. So I think I wrote all the lyrics on the spot when we first played it. The one line I can talk about, I wanted to drop one more profound line in the middle of the lyrics. “All bears/ meaning to the freaks who/ Dare live life not as a climbing stair.” That line was just me going, “Oh, so this is what this is about.”

6. “Oh Such A Spring”

STEREOGUM: This one sort of reminds me of an old folk song.

CHATTEN: There’s a great perfectness to a lot of that kind of music. I think I did want to show that we could write a perfect song as well as just interesting songs that were proudly idiosyncratic. But I wanted to show we could write an old-school, Beatles-esque, classic kind of tune. Most of the melody and the chords, I came up with years ago, but it took a really long time, a bit of living I think, to have the kind of subject matter to justify it.

STEREOGUM: What do you mean by that?

CHATTEN: I had to live enough to have a life to look back on. When I wrote the melody and the chords, what was I going to look back on? School? I think I had a greater reason for nostalgia when I actually wrote the lyrics to this song than when I wrote the melody and the chords. The sense of nostalgia probably came from when we first started as a band and we were incredibly fecund and prolific and excited. And just youthful, you know? I think that was my experience with a sense of longing for the past, but I wanted to make it more universal than that. I think I ran it through other filters in my life, like decaying relationships with people I’m really close to. You kind of run this theme through those other experiences to enhance the feeling of it and in that way you project more.

STEREOGUM: You used the word “nostalgia.” I feel like there is a complex relationship with nostalgia in your music so far. There is this sense of yearning romanticism for these old things that are dying or not around anymore on Dogrel. On this album, I don’t hear a lot of nostalgia. “Oh Such A Spring” feels a bit of an outlier. Almost like a reflective daydream in the middle of all this more frayed material.

CHATTEN: I was actually going to say that — it’s more like a daydream. There’s more stock being taken in this tune than there is in probably any other tune on the record. The rest of the record is kind of more inarticulate.

7. “A Hero’s Death”

STEREOGUM: In some ways this is the genesis point of the new album, with Grian writing these lyrics down during the first playback of Dogrel. And as you were hearing it you were fearful of not being able to repeat it, right?

CHATTEN: We met our manager in a club in Dublin called Workman’s. He used to put on nights there, he used to book us for our first few gigs, and that’s how we met him. Since he worked there, he was able to get the room where we used to gig, he was able to open that up during the day. We went in with the album and we listened to it on the speakers they use for gigs. I don’t think we even looked at each other through the whole playback.

I feel incredibly uncomfortable glorifying the past, even if it’s an immediate past — maybe especially if it’s an immediate past. Because I’m fearful of … having my life be over, or whatever, if I look back on it too much. So I just started writing and writing and writing [as I sat there]. It’s sort of similar to “Chequeless Reckless” in a sense, just a succession of lines and some sort of thread. I think I actually wrote down the words “Life ain’t always empty” over and over again. Quite manic, you know? I just kind of wanted to have something to show for that 40 minutes or whatever it is that Dogrel takes to listen to.

STEREOGUM: When I first got the album. “I Don’t Belong” felt like one major statement, but then that line “Life ain’t always empty” kind of became the other big mantra for the album. You’ve spoken about how it could be seen as sarcastic or sincere.

CHATTEN: I really don’t… I really don’t want to personally stand on either side.

STEREOGUM: Why did this become the title of the album?

O’CONNELL: We were running through a few different ideas for titles that were very abstract.

STEREOGUM: What were some of the other options?

O’CONNELL: Nothing very good.

CHATTEN: I think it was basically describing the album cover.

O’CONNELL: Yeah it was almost like Kind Of Blue.

CHATTEN: It was definitely influenced by Miles Davis, jazz titles.

O’CONNELL: I think we started just looking at the lyrics of the album and thinking, “Is there any one lyric we can pick up?”

CHATTEN: As soon as somebody said A Hero’s Death — I think somebody said it half-assedly. I fell in love with it as a title. I thought it was kind of hilarious.

O’CONNELL: It’s kind of dramatic as well. It has that Shakespearean drama about it.

8. “Living In America”

STEREOGUM: This song originated as a big chaotic jam with everyone playing in different tempos and keys.

CHATTEN: This is a lot more honed-in when we first started jamming it. I don’t know if we explicitly said it, but it was like, “Everyone play whatever the fuck they want.”

O’CONNELL: I remember there was a few arguments when we were working on it. I had an argument with Deego about the lack of form and shape to the song. I was like, “I love that that’s the essence, but we have to finish it and make a song out of it, we need limits.” He didn’t want to put any sort of limits, and I really thought we needed to do that. There was no harmony to the song or anything in the beginning, and eventually we found that way of introducing harmony halfway through the song and to allow the song to resolve in some sort of way at the end. To go somewhere else.

But it took a while to do that, to rein it in, and still allow it to feel quite wild. It is just noise. A lot of the influences musically are early electronic noisy bands, like Suicide or Cabaret Voltaire. Again, that was another tune where I was really inspired by Spacemen 3 and the way they use real noisy guitars that aren’t trying in any sort of way to be beautiful.

There’s no bass in the song. Deego is playing the Bass VI and he’s making the highest-pitched noise you can make with that instrument. There was a complete lack of low end when it came to recording it. With Dan, the whole low end of the song was done around my guitar being put through a bass amp, as well, with all the effects. Then we created a massive low end with this old instrument — it’s quite organic sounding. It’s called a clavioline.

It’s like an organ that’s played with a bar that you push sideways so it creates a note that swells in and out. If you play the lowest register — it has a speaker in it, and it’s quite old, and it creates this amazing sub. We actually used that instrument for “Hurricane Laughter” as well. This extra low end that swells in and out in the recording of “Hurricane Laughter.” I remembered using it then and I thought it would be the perfect way of filling in that bass without adding in anything that sounded like a bass. That allowed for keeping the lack of harmony; it was just a rumble. That was one of the songs we did quite a bit in the studio to create that wall of sound.

STEREOGUM: There was quite a bit more of that on this album than on Dogrel.

O’CONNELL: Yeah, a lot of fun doing that actually. Dan had a big part to play in that as well. I always think of Dan and the way he approaches our recordings — he’s just able to capture that glue that happens between all the parts. Usually, at a gig, that glue happens because of the human energy and the physicality. In the studio it doesn’t happen like that, and Dan can create it in a really abstract way. He did that with Dogrel, but on this one he’s done that in a way that might be more resonant.

STEREOGUM: The phrase “Living in America” was something Grian just blurted out during that jam right?

CHATTEN: It probably came from that James Brown documentary. He’s off his head, and they’re asking him about being charged with assault or something. And he just goes “Living in America!” It’s terrifying, you know? He’s got this big grin and he goes, “There’s nothing wrong.” I think it landed in my subconscious from watching that video. The hysteria of the music that was going on around me in the practice room, that just came out. That’s a really nice area to play in lyrically, that kind of Pixies — they’re saying something that’s so ridiculous that it can’t possibly be taken seriously, but it requires seriousness.

9. “I Was Not Born”

STEREOGUM: This is one of the earlier songs on the album. Was Dogrel finished when you wrote this one?

CHATTEN: I think so, I’m not 100% sure. It’s one of the earliest for sure. I think it was a jam that happened onstage, maybe even before the lyrics to “A Hero’s Death” were written. It was never really thought of seriously as a tune before and we were afraid to touch it for a while because of how powerful it sounded.

STEREOGUM: It does feel, to me –

CHATTEN: Like an outlier?

STEREOGUM: A little bit. I’d say this is the one that’s closest to your past work. It almost feels like there’s this contrast to it, being the one moment on the album where you do that raw, anthemic thing again but then the message of it seems counter-intuitive to the idea of, “We’re going to give you another Dogrel song.” Does that make sense?

CHATTEN: Yeah, totally. I think we were still buzzing off the idea, to an extent… there was that growing sense of defiance. We were still interested in anthems that were easy to sing along to in a sort of “arms around shoulders” manner. But I think the lyrics came a bit later.

STEREOGUM: So at that point they’d be more in line with something like “I Don’t Belong.”

CHATTEN: I think I wanted to serve the song as it had been initially conceived. I didn’t want to plaster my new ideas all over it. If I had graced that tune with lyrics that were more in line with the rest of the album it’d be kinda like telling a kid that Santa doesn’t exist, you know?

10. “Sunny”

STEREOGUM: Carlos didn’t think this should be on the album at first.

O’CONNELL: I always appreciated it as a song, but I found it hard to see it as one of our songs. It was something Grian wrote, and he worked on it for a really long time. He worked on it in the middle of a tour and it was never entertained in the rehearsal room that much. He persisted with it and was quite obsessed with it. He just kept working on the arrangement and the different sections and more and more melodies he could stack up to create something bigger. He just did that at his own pace. I never really saw it as one of our songs, but by the time it was all finished and it was all there, all the strings and vocal arrangements, I couldn’t really… I couldn’t ignore the genius in it. It would be a bit of a sin to rid the album of that. I suppose I learned to accept it as one of our own.

STEREOGUM: I think this is my favorite on the album right now. Why was this so important to you Grian, that you were working on it so long?

CHATTEN: It wasn’t that long in comparison, with the other stuff. I think it was labored over in the sense that I kept it a bit of a secret. I didn’t bring it to the band to write with them. It was conceived… a lot of my ideas are conceived with platonic conceptions — they’re just fine the way they are before you pick up a guitar or touch a piano and try to harness it. The vague notion of the song is always, in a sense, what it should be. So, it’s a challenge to try and perform on something like that. If I could let the lads read my mind and feel what I was feeling, then I would’ve done that. But obviously that’s what songwriting and arrangement is, that’s what Brian Wilson’s so good at… See, the excitement with which I talk about this tune, it echoes the excitement I had about writing it.

STEREOGUM: You just mentioned Brian Wilson. When you had that one pure thought of the song in your head, did you have all these vocal parts? This is the one song where that touted Beach Boys influence seems to come through strongly.

CHATTEN: They were all part of it, but none of it was really arranged. I just had all these melodies haunting me. You’d almost be like “Shh, come on now,” you know what I mean? “Wait until I’m ready.” I had scraps of loads of different ideas and melodies and stuff, and I wanted — tons of ideas weren’t used. Loads more strings, a few more vocal melodies. But I wanted to make sure that… I don’t know. I didn’t want to ground it too much.

STEREOGUM: It is already so big and lush compared to what people might expect from you guys so far. It’s strikingly pretty and, to me, it’s a deeply sad song.

CHATTEN: The song is a story, but I wasn’t trying to write that story. I was trying to express a sentiment, and that story contained that sentiment. The sentiment existed before the story did. I was just trying to write a scene that might occur in the world that… so, the story itself, it’s a letter. It’s an unsent letter written by a man, to his child that he fails to be around for. Within that story, he’s captured the essence of meaning of life and responsibility and purpose, vs. him rejecting all responsibility and floating and being isolated and alone without loyalty. All of those things are essential to most of the songs on the album. That’s why I felt that the heart of the album would be on this song. This song has everything coming from it.

STEREOGUM: I was thinking of this song as a sort of moving conclusion to the album, a final word, and “No” as an epilogue. Without being too over the top, it’s like this big emotional climax.

CHATTEN: It’s hard not to get carried away. I’ve never really undertaken anything with — I’ve been writing more and more with using different elements. I’m writing with more freedom. And I didn’t want to get carried away with that freedom. One more thing about “Sunny.” I played the knives on that tune.

STEREOGUM: Knives?

CHATTEN: Yeah, yeah. If you listen, on the passage between the two major chords, there’s these steak knives going click, click, click. I liked that it was a little sinister.

11. “No”

STEREOGUM: Do you see there being an arc from “I Don’t Belong” to “No”? The album goes through all these haunted places and then it ends with these very pretty, meditative songs, but they are not quite a resolution. Like, is there a destination in “No”?

CHATTEN: I think a decision has been made, to go to a destination. I don’t think it’s necessarily there but a decision has been made to try. That’s the way I feel about it. That’s how I justify that being at the end. I think the whole album, to me, are about whether you try or do you not. I think “No” is a song written at the bottom of a mountain and it ends with a decision to try and climb it.

STEREOGUM: I think you’ve called it an ellipsis before.

CHATTEN: Exactly, yeah.

STEREOGUM: Now that you’ve made that album and that decision what does that destination, or mountain, look like?

CHATTEN: That mountain, to me, looks like buying my own ingredients from the shop and cooking myself a meal at home and not going out on the piss. Getting up at 11AM and trying to take in some fresh air. That’s an aspect of that. The song is…. I don’t know if I should really… It’s about a member of my family who’s living with guilt. The song was partly kind of written as a letter to them to forgive themselves. That’s really where the power of the song came from.

STEREOGUM: Is this another one you worked on a lot on your own before bringing to the others? Because this is a track you insisted had to be on there when some of the others didn’t want it to be.

CHATTEN: Me and Deego both did. We all arranged it together. Deego started jamming for the chords, and then I came up with the lyrics. Then it was that notion… how can we distill the essence of the tune. I think it worked out well. To be honest with you, I had a slightly different idea as to how it would sound and how it would be arranged. I’m glad the way it came out. It’s a bit uncomfortable for me to listen to. The whole thing was recorded live in one take, in a little room doing the vocals.

STEREOGUM: You guys have talked a little bit about trying to redefine what people might expect from Fontaines with this album. As the album’s making its way into the world, what would you like people to get out of it, or think about this new chapter?

CHATTEN: I suppose I’d like to establish a sense of trust between ourselves and the people that like our music. We might want to go to other places, you know? We don’t necessarily want to stay the band that people liked, or to be any of the things that people liked about our fist album. It’s kind of like, we’re saying, “Look, we’re going to change and we’re going to develop and there’s many other aspects of ourselves that we want to express.” I suppose I’d just like people to be understanding of that, in a way.

CREDIT: Ellius Grace

A Hero’s Death is out now via Partisan.