Into their second tour in support of the brilliant new record Be Human, London rockers Fightstar pull into Newcastle, and George catches frontman Charlie Simpson for a quick chat. They talk about Be Human‘s special edition re-release due soon, the idea behind the strange album art, and a whole host of other bits and pieces, without an Air Hostess or a Year 3000 in sight!
George: Can you say your name, and what you do in the band?
Charlie: My name’s Charlie, and I play guitar and sing in Fightstar.
George: How’s the tour been so far?
Charlie: Yeah, good, man! I think it’s our fifth show, and we had a wicked one last night in Glasgow, I think it feels like the best set we’ve ever done. We were kind of encapsulating songs from right across the back catalogue. One of the songs was one of the first songs we’d ever wrote and then we were playing a song that’s not even out yet, so it seems like it’s a good set.
George: Saving Aimee, Young Guns and Prego; talk us through them, why are you a fan?
Charlie: Well, basically we’re swapping between Saving Aimee and Deaf Havana as well who’ve been doing shows, and first of all Prego, is my brother’s band, obviously, my brother (Ed)’s singing in it and they’re just an epic band, man, and their music’s absolutely brilliant. I was wondering to begin with whether their sound would go down with our fans because it’s more post-rock isn’t it, but they seem to be getting on really good, and Young Guns, and Deaf Havana and Saving Aimee are just really nice lads and they write great songs, they’ve got a lot of good songs.
George: Be Human‘s been out quite a good while now, have the songs yet become songs that people really associate with the band, like Floods, Deathcar, etc?
Charlie: Yeah, I think so. I think The English Way, definitely, that seems to be one of the biggest songs of the night, and then tracks like War Machine have become set favourites, so yeah, I think, honestly you know, especially that it’s been about six months since our record was released, it’s given people a good chance to get to know it. It takes a while to put songs firmly into people’s minds, as a crowd favourite. This is the first time it’s happened, from the new album.
George: You guys made the record out of your own pocket, how important is it to you that people buy the album instead of downloading it?
Charlie: It’s really important, man, and I think that the problem is I don’t think kids see when they’re downloading it, they’re pretty much just stealing, like stealing anything else. It’s just an easy thing to do, so kids don’t really tend to make that connection between downloading music and the fact it’s stealing, but y’know, we worked very hard, and as you said, spent our own money doing it, so they’re only taking money out of our pocket, y’know?
George: Is it your favourite record that you guys have put out?
Charlie: Yep, yep!
George: What’s up with the cow on the artwork?
Charlie: It’s this Japanese artist called Ryohei Hase, and we’d used the same guy for the last two records, we wanted to change it up a bit on this album, and we came across this image and we just thought it was this really bizarre art, just a really striking image, and I really liked it, and it got to when we were talking about the name of the album, Be Human, so it was kind of ironic to have a cows head on a human body.
George: You always tend to take upcoming UK bands out on tour with you, like all the bands this time around, and In Case Of Fire and Laruso last time, who’s been your favourite band to play with so far?
Charlie: I think they’ve all been great, man, I mean, we took Brigade out, my other brother (Will)’s band, and Laruso, obviously we’re really good friends with Carl, who’s in Laruso and produced the record, and we always tend to go out with people we know really, really well, so I’d probably say one of those two because it’s just fun hanging out with friends and my brothers. Every band we take out have been super nice guys, and it’s nice to promote upcoming British bands to our fans.
George: Is there any you’d like to take out in the future?
Charlie: Let’s think, bands I like, I dunno man, I mean a band I’ve heard recently called The Plastic Rose are really good, and they’d be cool to take out. Oh, and The Xcerts, I’d like to take The Xcerts out, they’re really nice guys, and they’re really goo, too.
George: What was the last show you went and watched instead of playing?
Charlie: Would of been…[pauses] …Well, I saw Prego the other day in London, the last big show I saw was probably Coldplay at the o2 arena.
George: Can you see the band getting any bigger than it already is now?
Charlie: Who knows, man? I mean, we’re playing at the stage we always wanted to be at, playing these kind of venues, so anything else is a bonus, I mean, to go beyond this level, would depend on if we had a big radio hit, which is something you can never tell. I’ll be happy if it doesn’t, but to be honest, we’re not writing music for that to happen, that’s just a bonus. We’re really happy at the stage we’re at, in my mind this is the stage I wanted to get to, to basically just live off making music.
George: It’s your second full tour in support of the new album, have you started writing anything for another album yet?
Charlie: No, not yet. I mean, we’ve written a couple of new songs that will be on the special edition of Be Human, that’ll be released in February, so we were in the studio not so long ago, doing about four or five new songs, but we haven’t really thought about doing anything. I think it’ll be a long time before we go back into the studio again, obviously, we’re still very much promoting this record.
George: What’s in store for Fightstar in the near future?
Charlie: We’ve got this tour, and then we’re thinking when we come back from Christmas, we’re gonna take the record into Europe ’cause it just came out in Europe a couple of weeks ago, and we haven’t really ever been there properly to play there, so they’re gonna set up some showcases to go out there, and play like France, and Spain, and Germany, and just see what happens, we get to meet some different characters, and y’know, try our hand out there.
George: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Charlie: At the moment… [pauses] …New bands, or any bands?
George: Any bands at all!
Charlie: Well Deftones, for sure, if you haven’t heard a Deftones record, then they’re worth checking out.
George: A lot of people in our interviews tend to say Deftones!
Charlie: Yeah, I would say new stuff, there’s a Scottish band called Frightened Rabbit, they’re like a folk/indie thing, it’s really good, and then there’s singer-songwriters like Bon Iver, Bon Iver’s amazing, what else… [pauses] …Oh, I’ll tell you what I really like, the new Temper Trap album, you heard Temper Trap?
Charlie: It’s really good, man, amazing songs, go check out the record.
George: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Charlie: Just look out for the special edition of Be Human, to be released at the beginning of February!
– George Cannings.