If you’re unfamiliar with Fangclub they basically sound like if Weezer tried to make a grunge album in the 90’s but couldn’t quite get rid of their underlying Weezer-yness. A lot of bands nowadays are dipping their toes into the 90’s sound, it’s having a massive resurgence, and Fangclub are definitely leading the charge. From the American grunge influences, to the alternative 90s rock, this sound is something that seems to come naturally to them.
We caught their set at Sea Sessions a few weeks ago and they did not disappoint. They looked comfortable and focused on stage, playing with relaxed precision. Vocalist Steven has a lovely range of rough and grit with a softness to balance it all out. Bassist Kevin carries the catchy dimensions to the songs, and drummer Dara’s hard hits brings everything together. We were treated with a new song ‘Bad Words’ that the crowd loved, but ‘Bullet Head’, the title track and lead single from their EP was the real winner of the set.
They’ve achieved great things this year including playing Canada and appearing on Kerrang TVs Fresh Blood show, but they’re staying humble and taking everything in their stride. We caught up with the trio before their performance on the Saturday afternoon:
O.M: Is this your first at Sea Sessions?
Yes… first time in Donegal for some of us too!
O.M: Congrats on the new EP – what have the reactions been like so far?
Good reactions, we didn’t really know what it was going to be like, to be honest… It’s strange to hear people talking about and singing back the tracks to us other than “Bullet Head”; even tracks we’d nearly consider ‘B-sides’. I think the EP is a good opportunity for people to absorb it, as opposed to hearing it live.
O.M: The EP has been out a few weeks now and you’ve had the opportunity to play it live – what song do you find gets the crowd going more?
“Role Models” is very ‘chanty’. And “Psycho” gets great reactions at gigs too.
O.M: How was your recent tour with The Academic?
Really good! Last night was our last show with them and we actually got to hang out after. They’re really wild… a little younger than us but definitely beyond their years. They nailed every show every night, and they have a really good team behind them.
O.M: What is it like working with Universal?
It’s great, we clicked straight away. For such a well known name, they’re actually a really indie-style label. They backed the whole aesthetic of the band and the confidence they have in us is really nice.
O.M: And they approached you?
Yeah! We recorded the EP DIY, and then we were approached by Universal – it kind of all happened backwards. But it’s great, they seem to trust us to just do what we do.
O.M: You were on Kerrang TV, in Rock Sound and played Canada which is a big deal – were you able to take it all in or was it just a blur?
I still can’t believe we were on Kerrang! We came on after Weezer! After we watched it, we were like “Now what??” It was like a dream come true.
O.M: You seem to be hitting up a lot of festivals this year – is there one in particular you’re pumped about playing? Other than Sea Sessions obviously
Yes, Sea Sessions of course, and Indiependence as we’ve never been… Knockanstockan is also great, it’s getting bigger and bigger every year.
O.M: Is there any band you’re hoping to see over the weekend?
Raglans, and Ash! Also, we’ve never seen Bitch Falcon. And we played with Daithi in Toronto, he’s good.
O.M: Does your punk/grunge sound come naturally when you’re writing songs or is it something you aim for?
I don’t think we know how to play anything else! It’s great that the whole 90’s sound is coming back in… sure we grew up on the Beatles, Beach Boys and of course, Weezer.
O.M: Is there anything specific you want people to take from your music?
Just have a good time and let go. Just enjoy yourself.
O.M: Do you have any advice for anyone who is finding it hard to fit in and find their place in the world?
Keep doing it. Yeah just keep going, and be true to yourself. Actually, if you listen to our song “Role Models”, it’s kind of about not needing anyone else. Just trust yourself.
O.M: What do you have planned for the future?
Festivals. Lots of festivals. Just playing more live gigs, hopefully in the UK too… We just want to do the work. Keep at it, onwards and upwards.
Catch Fangclub in Whelans on August 4th, tickets on sale now.
Photos and words by Lissa Breen.