It’s been a while since Fightstar have toured as a band. 2010 saw the post hardcore outfit take a four year hiatus, in which time lead singer Charlie Simpson (and others) took time out to concentrate on solo projects. But now they’re back with a new album, Behind the Devil’s Back, and are touring the UK once again. “It’s fun to be back on the road. London was awesome, and there was an amazing reaction to the new stuff as well actually. It’s nice to be back in the coffin bunk”, Dan, Fightstar’s bassist tells me with a wry smile.
I first listened to Fightstar at a time in my life when I had a long floppy fringe, and where listening to music was as much an expression of my pent up, teenage angst as it was something I did for fun. With this in mind, I wondered whether the band’s new material was being received as positively as some of their classics had been on the tour: “Usually with a tour with such proximity to the release date of the album there’s not enough time for fans to learn the material. But that hasn’t happened here, if anything the new stuff has been received better than the old stuff,” Dan quickly responds. Adding on this, Alex told me: “the amazing thing is that there are loads of people singing along already, they’ve learnt the new stuff in like three days, which is pretty amazing.” Certainly it seems that the dedicated fan base is still as strong as it ever was, despite the group’s four year break.
“I’m pretty confident that when we’re 70 years old the four of us will be able to get in a room and smash out a few good songs.”
But what about the new album? Was it hard getting back into writing a record after such a long absence? Dan had a simple answer to that question: “I’m sure you’ve got really good friends who if you don’t see for a long period of time, even years, you can walk back into the same room and it seems like no time has past. It’s kinda like that, just with the creative process.” Alex adds: “I’m pretty confident that when we’re 70 years old the four of us will be able to get in a room and smash out a few good songs. I don’t think the dynamics gonna change.”
So what new sounds does Behind the Devil’s Back add to their discography? “We always try and bring something new to the band dynamic with every album, with this one it was electronic equipment like synthesizers which I think has been an excellent match for us as we’ve always tried to create atmospheric music, with a palpable sense of place, time and character.” Listening to their new record, I completely understand where Dan is coming from. It’s this increased range that shows the growing maturity and diversity of Fightstar’s music, an element that emphasises how the band has changed and improved over the decade or so they’ve been making music.
“We could tell him about chaz’s papier mache donkey… But I’m not sure whether we should, it might end up in national news story…”
It’s this shift in dynamic that has prompted a lot of fans to compare the new sounds to metal giants, Deftones. “We’ve always said that Deftones are a huge influence on us, and you can definitely hear that, especially in this new album because we’ve got lower tuned 7 string guitars and stuff. We like to wear the Deftones influence on our sleeve,” Alex tells me. “The whole thing about the Deftones is the weight of them. They’re heavy as hell but they can also incorporate this beautiful melody. We all love that. One day maybe we’ll get to support them.” Dan laughs, “We actually presented them with their lifetime achievement award at the Kerrang awards. Charlie was too drunk and scared Chino [Deftones lead singer] off, he straight up fan-boyyed on him!”
To finish off, I asked whether the guys had any good memories of playing Exeter in the past: “We could tell him about chaz’s papier mache donkey…” Dan cryptically tells me. “But I’m not sure whether we should; it might end up in national news story…” Though Fightstar may not be the subject of a sensational national scandal, they most certainly are back on the scene, and back with a bang.