Tonight at Kentish Town’s Forum, Fightstar will play their first show in over four years. The band announced they were to go on a hiatus in late 2010 in order to work on separate projects before working on the follow-up to 2009’s Be Human, but it quickly became apparent that the band was over. Frontman Charlie Simpson picked up an acoustic guitar, releasing 2011’s Young Pilgrim and its follow-up Long Road Home earlier this year. Drummer Omar Abidi worked in the music industry, while bassist Dan Haigh and guitarist/vocalist Alex Westaway wrote music for feature films. So, with their live return only hours away, we thought it fitting to drag Dan out of their practice space to ask what prompted their return…
How are rehearsals for the show going?
“Well, it’s a lot like learning how to play bass guitar for me. We’ve got it covered. We’re ecstatic and everyone’s really excited. We’ve not played heavy music for a while. Al and I have been working on synth-driven stuff, so we’ve not done a lot of rocking out. It’s good to get it all out. All the amps are out, I’m dropping down to A sharp.”
**That’s low. What led to these Fightstar reunion shows, then? **
“Charlie and I have been hanging out socially since the last time we played. We were on holiday with our wives in Portugal and were on these off-road dirt buggies where we basically became the dudes out of Mad Max… have you seen the new trailer?”
“Well, visualise that, but without the death! We were out for the day and we both started talking about doing some Fightstar shows again. We got serious about it and booked the shows.”
Will you be concentrating on any particular album or will the setlist span your entire discography?
“We’re definitely playing a good mixture of stuff. A lot of the heavier stuff has made it to the final setlist. We’re doing a sneaky encore, too. It’s secret, though.”
If you’ve been playing synth-led stuff and Charlie’s been off doing his folky troubadour tours, is the setlist a reaction to that?
“It’s so much fun to play the heavier stuff. There’s something magic about downtuned guitars that you can’t get anywhere else.”
You were due to play Brixton alongside the Kentish Town Forum show. What led to postponing the Brixton show until next year?
“When we put these shows on sale, we had no idea what was going to happen. It could sell 300 tickets. No idea. We sold out the Forum in 15 minutes. We were like, ‘Holy shit’! People started to message us and ask why we weren’t playing their town, so we moved the Brixton show until next year and booked some more shows.”
If the shows are a success, is there a chance of new Fightstar music?
“I would say we’re certainly going to create some new material. But how and what that would be, and in what format is yet to be determined. In rehearsals, we’ve already written the basis for one track which is quite heavy.”
What’s in store at the Forum, then?
“It’s a behemoth set. It’s like an hour and a half. There’s a lot of pressure as it’s the first show…”
The Forum is pretty big. Did you not fancy doing a smaller secret show to iron out any kinks?
“You’re the voice of wisdom and that’s exactly what we should have done. We were chatting about doing something with Bring Me The Horizon at their Underworld show recently. Our times didn’t work out, but we’ve been rehearsing!”
Are you quietly confident then?
“I’d like to think so [laughs]. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. When you’ve not heard something for a long time, it’s potent and a fun experience. We’re in party mode and we’re going to have a good time.”
Fightstar play the following shows:
December 16 – Kentish Town Forum
February 23 – Birmingham Institute
February 24 – Glasgow ABC
February 25 – Manchester Academy
February 27 – London Brixton Academy (rescheduled from December – all tickets remain valid)