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Grian Chatten: ‘I was trying to gag myself with my own self-indulgent, dark emotions’

Mr. Nimbus | 07/02/2023

Fontaines D.C. frontman Grian Chatten joins Matt Wilkinson on Apple Music 1 to discuss details around his upcoming debut solo album ‘Chaos For The Fly’, out today. Grian shares the inspiration behind ‘Bob’s Casino’ and ‘‘All of the People’, his fiancee Georgies’ feature on the album and some of the record’s darker themes. Grian also talks about letting the band know he was making a solo record, the reason he didn’t pursue a solo path earlier and fans connecting with his music. He also speaks on the new Fontaines D.C album and touring with Arctic Monkeys.

Grian Chatten on his inspiration behind his solo album…

The idea to do it came with the idea for the first song I wrote for it, which is Bob’s Casino. And I heard the whole thing at once. I heard the arrangement and it felt concrete immediately. And I didn’t really feel like there was much room for, I don’t know, navigation or compromise on it. I didn’t want to bring a really fully fleshed out idea to the band and demand that they play it in a particular way. I thought it’d just be easier if I did it myself. (…) I mean, look, I was looking at out at the sea in Dublin and it just hit me up. I feel like it comes in on the waves. I mean, it comes in with the tide because I was raised by the sea. It opens me up, it just cheers my entire body up and then the song just comes. It renders me sensitive.

Grian Chatten on the meaning behind track ‘Bob’s Casino’…

Bob’s the lad who owned the casino and the casino is in Skerries, but it’s just been closed apparently. But it’s a place that all my mates used to work, growing up. I have an image of a few of my mates. One of my mates, Johnny, he just used to roll rollies and smoke them and lean over the fence and chat to us. And not really pay attention to the clientele hopping on the dodgy equipment and sailing around the place. (…) I think it’s the most apparent departure maybe on the record from Fontaines D.C. Do you know what I mean? I think it makes sense that that’s the song that was the catalyst for it being a solo record.

Grian Chatten on his fiance Georgie featuring as a vocalist on the album…

I should probably start with my fiance, Georgie, as she’s guest vocalist on a few tracks. She’ll kill me for bringing it up though. She’s shy about it. I think her voice has the rare combination of fragility and strength. I don’t know. Like Sinéad O’Connor and all my favourite kind of singers really, they have a duality, got to be femininity and masculinity or whatever. She sings the chorus of Bob’s Casino. I think her voice just goes very well with strings. Her voice is similar textually to a string. (…) No, but I mean, no matter what happens at the end of it all, this is going to be a relic of intimacy and of relationships in my life. Anyone who plays on it is my mate or my girlfriend. They’re the kind of things that are valued at the end of it all.

Grian Chatten on the darker themes in the album and track ‘All of the People’…

When I’m in a bad place, I get incredibly suspicious and bitter. And I think it’s probably, it’s another way of putting up a wall to draw a line under humanity as a whole. And say, “Everyone’s full of shit and I don’t want to have any kind of dialogue with them,” whatever like that. And retreat entirely into your own head. And I think that I express that on all of the people. It’s like when you’re a kid and someone makes you smoke a whole pack of cigarettes to try and put you off for the rest of your life. I think I was trying to do that with that song. I was trying to gag myself with my own self-indulgent, dark emotions. They sound awful, I think when you’re just saying them. They sound like bad writing. I like to believe that it’s not because it was entirely valid at the time of writing it. And that’s the point. It nearly sounds to me that you’re in a song that was never meant to be heard. And that’s why I like it. It’s my favorite song of the album.

Grian Chatten on telling Fontaines D.C and the band about his solo album …

I think I talked to them probably the day after I wrote Bob’s Casino. I went back to the same beach. And I think I called Carlos, I called Trevor, our manager. Yeah, it’s weird. I mean, they still haven’t heard the album. I feel very shy about sharing it with them much more so than the general public. (…) No, because knowing that they don’t have a stake in it necessarily. They would maybe have the capacity to just be nice. I really, really don’t like asking for feedback from people who I think are just going to be nice.

Grian Chatten on the musical influences behind Chaos for the Fly and getting obsessed with songs…

Hey, Cowboy by Lee Hazlewood. That was a big tune for me. I wanted to go there a little bit with that song, Sunny, by Fontaines. And we ended up just pulling it all the way down into the gutter and getting it stuck to all the sewage, I think. I suppose there’s an element maybe, of the national. I think maybe I try not to be overly aware of what’s flicking the switches and stuff in me when I’m writing the tune. It’s only afterwards that I can go, “Oh, that’s probably because of last year I got into this artist.” I get really obsessed with one tune and I live through that for two, three weeks usually. And it becomes semi-responsible for everything I say or do.

Grian Chatten on fans connecting with his music…

I’ve never thought about it until you just said it there. I do find it weird. Yeah. I think I like it though. I mean, I like it because it makes me feel less lonely. I’m destroyed by loneliness every day and I’m constantly looking for things to quell my loneliness or whatever.

Grian Chatten on why he did not not pursue a solo path earlier…

I don’t know if I had the confidence really, the self-belief. I needed to mix myself in, in with the other lads. Much like we just said about applying a song to your life, like a coat or a rose-tinted pair of shades or whatever. That’s what they did to me when I met them. That’s what those friends did for me. I lived through them. And everything gained a new quality or value because I knew that it was something that could be shared with those people.

Grian Chatten on where Fontaines D.C. are currently at and shares details around their new album…

Already very, very, very far along, writing the next Fontaines album. Yeah. Yeah. I’m really enjoying the process. This is the first time that we’ve written the guts of the next album on a big break. It’s usually in between gigs or on the bus or whatever. And what I like about this is that there’s the opportunity to take the time to decide or decide not to make a techno ballet record or whatever. I mean we’re not going to do that. I’m really enjoying the process. This is the first time that we’ve written the guts of the next album on a big break. It’s usually in between gigs or on the bus or whatever. And what I like about this is that there’s the opportunity to take the time to decide or decide not to make a techno ballet record or whatever. Do you know what I mean? I mean we’re not going to do that.

Grian Chatten on touring with the Arctic Monkeys…

Met them briefly over summer. Yeah. Yeah. Really, really nice. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be good crack. Probably played six or seven festivals with them. And if we ever had a day off the next day and they were playing the festival that day, we’d stay in the festival and watch them every time.

This post was originally published on this site

Written by Mr. Nimbus

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