INTERVIEW: Steven King – Fangclub

With the release of their self-titled debut record, Irish rock trio FANGCLUB are hoping to make their mark in the mainstream rock world. The band have rapidly gained popularity since the release of their first EP Bullet Head just a year ago, and Distorted Sound recently sat down with the band’s frontman and guitarist Steven King to discuss the upcoming record, as well as their ever-growing reputation.

Steven, the debut album is coming out very soon. It must be an exciting period for you guys?

Steven: Yeah it is really exciting. It’s a bit of a weird feeling as well to finally have the album come out now. We’ve been sitting on it for a while now and it’s a bit surreal, I don’t think it will hit me until about a month after that we’ve got it out.

Are you amazed at how quickly things have progressed since the release of the band’s first EP?

Steven: Yeah, after the release of Bullet Head we’ve been looking to progress bit by bit, and it’s been pretty intense. We’ve already had some fantastic opportunities, like when we went on BBC Radio 1 it was an incredible experience for us, and the support slots that we’ve had on tours has just been amazing.

Looking at the upcoming album what sort of things can we expect from the record?

Steven: I think it’s a compound of a grungy, immature punky album. We’ve tried to keep it a bit more softcore, we don’t really care too much about gimmicks or anything like that. It’s more about the energy of the record, but whatever people get from it is cool.

What were the writing and recording processes like?

Steven: It was really cool. We went to a small house in Kerry which had a recording studio attached to it, and lived there for a little bit. We recorded something like 25 tracks, which was a surprise because we thought originally we’d go there and record a couple of songs but it turned out we recorded everything there, which worked out well. The recording process has been quite good, as it was before we had anything, and we’d played one or two gigs, so it was great that we were able to record all of the material in one place.

Is there anything specific you’re looking to achieve with the new record?

Steven: I think we’re just looking to put it out there and see what happens really, if people like it then they like it. We just want to tour as much as possible so putting out an album is just going to help us with touring, and maybe even help us tour around the world hopefully.

You’ve signed with Vertigo Records prior to the release. How much of a boost is it for you to be working with a label of that stature?

Steven: It’s huge for us! We had the album done and ready to go and then they stuck their hands up and asked us to come to them. When we were approached by them they asked us if we had any more songs and we took a few off the album and gave them that; we thought maybe that we would have to re-record the album but they loved what we did so when the record comes out in August it’s all what we did and had ready to go originally which is pretty cool.

Obviously FANGCLUB are an upcoming band so for those who don’t know about you how did the band start?

Steven: Me and Kev have been in the band because I was demoing quite a bit, and because we live in quite a small town it was that typical thing of everyone crossing paths. We met Dara at a house party and we were playing a show there, then when we lost our drummer I asked Dara if he’d join us. It was just that typical thing really, and it was kind of organic that we just gravitated towards each other really.

Which bands do you look up to the most and who have been the biggest influences on your music?

Steven: I’ve always been a massive fan of THE OFFSPRING, Dara listens to a lot of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and then Kevin will be into NOFX and MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE. I’m a massive fan of NIRVANA as well, so our music is kind of all of that together; we wear that on our sleeve, and when you listen to the album you can hear different elements of all those bands.

FANGCLUB are looking to break into the mainstream rock scene. What do you think of the current rock scene in the UK?

Steven: I think it’s awesome. Coming from Ireland we’re always looking at the UK’s rock scene and there’s so many amazing bands here. We’d definitely like to be a part of it, that’d be the dream for us and we’re starting to meet other bands from that scene that we’re looking to take inspiration from.

And one of those bands is TWIN ATLANTIC who you’ve recently toured with?

Steven: Yeah we did a tour with TWIN ATLANTIC and we’re absolutely massive fans of them so to be on tour with them was a bit of a crazy thing but it was amazing as well! We turned up to the first show and the venue was gigantic, and we felt that we were a little bit out of our depth but they came into our dressing room, had a chat with us and just made sure that we were comfortable and had everything we needed. The whole tour they were really cool and we’ve definitely learned a lot from them.

Sticking with touring you’ve just finished your own tour, what’s the reception been like already?

Steven: It’s been really, really good. We got lucky with those support tours and then we’ve finished our own tour last night. Every night we’ve been playing somewhere we’ve never been before, and after the shows people have been buying the album and merchandise. All we care about is the album and touring, and the reception we’ve had already has been incredible, and we just want to reach out to as many people as possible.

Even though you’re a relatively new band FANGCLUB have already gained a sizeable fanbase. Is that something that’s come as a surprise to you?

Steven: Yeah it has been a bit surprising – you can’t really plan that! You have to put yourself out there and see what happens really. It’s weird for us because we’re trying to build things up bit by bit and the way things have started off for us is really exciting.

Now that you’ve finished your first tour how different is it compared to being a support act?

Steven: Well we’ve done a few DIY type tours in Ireland and stuff, but we’ve yet to do a big tour really. We’ve got a UK tour coming up very soon and I imagine that’s going to be a different experience but we’re ready to go, we’ve got a good show ready. We’ve just got to try and pull it off now, see what happens and hope we don’t fall apart hallway through!

Looking ahead to the future, what’s the ultimate goal for you as a band?

Steven: I think mainly we just want to tour as many places as we can and keep on making better and better records. We don’t have massive career based plans, and it’s quite scary thinking about what could happen! At the same time though as long as we can keep on touring to new places and can go back to the recording studio to improve and record new albums that’s all we want to do.

Fangclub is set for release on August 4th via Vertigo Records.

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