Do you know Fangclub?

Photo: Dara Munnis.

Appropriately for a band fronted by a man called Steven King, I catch up with Fangclub at Universal Ireland head offices just before Halloween. They’re on a short break between two legs of their UK tour with Twin Atlantic and Pulled Apart by Horses.

“It’s like the dream tour” guitarist Kevin Keane says. “We love those bands already.” It makes sense – both are from the same hard-riffing, no-nonsense rock genepool as Fangclub, who love The Offspring, Nirvana, The Vines and Queens Of The Stone Age, and love what they do.

“It was really cool to be on tour with another proper rock band,” Kevin says of their tour with Pretty Vicious, immediately before Twin Atlantic. “We’d never been to the UK before,” adds Steven. “It was quite a big learning curve”.

The curve’s been steep for the trio, who formed “organically” just three years ago after Steve joined forces with “local punk rocker” Kevin and found drummer Dara Coleman at a house party they played at.

“For us it felt like a snowball,” Steve says, “because we’re just like a small garage rock band and then we did Toronto (they played the CMW festival there) and then we got this offer (with Universal).

Did they envision it moving so quick? “No,” they all exclaim. “We kind of focused on just playing the gigs… I think that’s an important thing to do” says Dara. “It’s important to have a plan but like, think about why you’re doing it.” “Never lose sight of the fun of playing,” Kevin adds.

They don’t seem like a band without a plan though – even debut single “Bullet Head” is a sharp two minute shock. Kevin agrees – “it’s like hey, we’re here.” “It really encapsulates us as a band,” says Dara.

New single “Dreamcatcher” from the Coma Happy EP will “appeal to a more general audience,” Dara thinks – “but it’s still pretty heavy.” Steve grins in agreement. “Bullet Head was sort of the no-brainer, Dreamcatcher I put a little more thought into when I was writing – but it still has that huge stupid riff over it. You have to keep it a little bit stupid y’know?

They’ve played some convention-style festivals, from the aforementioned CMW to Dublin’s own Hard Working Class Heroes, which they agree are a great help when you’re up and coming – even if they don’t pay. “I think you should be willing to sacrifice the lack of pay because you love it so much,” Kevin says.

“Once you know what you’re going in there for – hopefully meet some bands, there’s usually industry people floating about too. I think it’s the best way of doing it.”

Listen to the lads pick their top 5 riffs of all time: 

Fangclub’s new EP Coma Happy is out Friday November 18th. They headline Whelan’s next February 4th.

Stephen Keegan

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