"We decided that if we say and believe we’re the best in the world, then we will be": Fontaines D.C.'s Grian Chatten on the Dublin rockers' early days

Fontaines D.C. in 2024
(Image credit: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns)

In the early days of Dublin indie-rockers Fontaines D.C., a friend of frontman Grian Chatten gave him some advice on how he thought the band might able to make it. “He said, ‘I reckon you could do something but you might have to go a bit fucking mad for a while’,” Chatten told this writer back in 2021. The singer took it to heart – going a bit fucking mad was a key reason in the quintet becoming one of Dublin’s must-see bands as they emerged in the city in the mid-2010s. “It spurred me on towards that arrogance, and that feeling that whatever we do that is in any way daring, at least to me, is still down to that one bit of advice.”

Looking back to those early shows, Chatten saw a band who were “ridiculously cocky and arrogant”. “All of the artists around us at the time were very self-deprecating,” he said. “That was in vogue, to be really self-deprecating. Some people say that’s an Irish thing, but just through talking and having pints – it felt like plotting, really – we decided that if we say and believe we’re the best in the world, then we will be. We were pretty annoying!”

Chatten said those formative gigs were chaotic occasions. “They were a bit mad, our early gigs,” he stated. “We could probably drink a lot more back then than we can now – we’d have 10 cans before a gig each, really push the boat out. We were probably compensating for a lack of substance.”

There are no such worries when it comes to the material these days, though – over three ace albums, Fontaines D.C have established themselves as one of the most exciting breakthrough bands of the past decade. They recently released their snarling, Korn-influenced Starburster as a precursor to what promises to be a brilliant fourth record. Watch the video below:

Fontaines D.C. - Starburster (Official Video) - YouTube Fontaines D.C. - Starburster (Official Video) - YouTube
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Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.