Fightstar have just released their third Studio album ‘Be Human’ which debuted in the album charts at number 20, selling over 8,000 copies in it’s first week. We caught up with Charlie and Al from Fightstar to talk about the new album, the Fightstar corporation and the music industry.
Be Human is the first album on your own label. What difference did this make to the writing and recording of the album? Was there more or less pressure on you because of this?
Charlie: It made the whole thing more relaxed. On one hand it took the pressure off, but on the other it added more on, because we didn’t have to answer to anyone. We had to answer to ourselves, so the quality control was coming from ourselves. It made us work harder, but in a more relaxed way.
Al: It also allowed us to have more time to record. We recorded it in a friends studio, and spent a few weeks longer recording this than the previous albums. We had more time to work on ideas and add things.
Charlie: We had more time to do this than we have ever had before, and we had a break in the middle of recording when we went on tour with Feeder. That gave us time to reflect on what we had done. The album is everything I wanted it to be, and more. I’m so happy with the way we managed to incorporate the orchestration in to the record, which is an ambition we’ve had for a long time. I think we executed that very well. I think the songs are a better calibre, our writing has improved during the time we have been a band. It’s a well rounded album, it sounds like a piece of work, one complete body of work. People tend to go to itunes and buy individual tracks but that’s irrelevant to us. We are believers in the CD, in the physical product. I always have believed and I always will. Although digital music will take over, in years to come, I’ll always perceive an album as a body of work, not a collection of songs. I think younger bands coming through now, and kids who are 14 will probably lose that, because it won’t be instilled in their brains.
I still like looking through the artwork and getting the whole package, an albums meant to be a complete package, the music and the artwork, and that is being lost and it fucking pisses me off. That’s the heritage of music and that is what I love.
Al: Real music fans will still collect the physical package. The proper muso’s will.
Charlie: We need to take the power back. We need to make people want something tangible, something you can hold, feel, live and breathe. We care about the whole package, we were involved in the artwork 100% from start to finish. We worked with a guy called Dan Conway very closely, talking about the lyrics, what the album meant, the things we were feeling at the time. Our artwork very much represents us as people. It represents what we do and what we think about. This album was the same, Al did all the inlay stuff.
What is most important to the band?
Charlie: It’s everything, it’s just being able to do this for a living. Doing live shows and recording albums means so much to us. It’s nice to get critical acclaim and be recognised with awards but that isn’t what we do this for, and if you do then something is wrong. To be able to sustain a living, is amazing, and we are glad we can do that and make the records we want to make and to go out and play shows like this. What better life is there?
Al: I’m the same. The main goal with this album is to be able to fund the next album and progress for here.
Charlie: The other thing is we are doing it ourselves. It’s like we’ve started our own business. That’s what’s really exciting, we aren’t working for anyone else, just ourselves. We’re not working for some schmuck in the legal department. We are building a new company ourselves, it’s an exciting prospect. It’s not just how we do as a band, it’s how the whole Fightstar corporation works. (Al laughs at the Fightstar Corporation comment).
What is currently influencing you?
Charlie: We are really into a band called M83, that’s influenced the way we work with synth sounds, and electronic sounds. The idea of using an orchestra dates back to Neon Ballroom by Silverchair. That was the first time I heard strings done together with rock music and it just blew me away. Since I first listened to that album I always wanted to work one day with a big orchestra. There’s a band I’m listening to now called Frightened Rabbit, who, lyrically are genius. I still listen to lots of film soundtracks like the Bladerunner soundtrack.
Al: I’m into DJ Talent, who I saw last night on Britain’s Got Talent (jokes).
How has the band progressed in the last five years since you started touring?
Charlie: I think we’ve become a much better live band, I think we always had a very energetic show but I think we are tighter now. I think especially in the last six months we have got even better, with the making of this record.
What’s next for Fightstar?
Charlie: We are going to work this record here, and then go to Europe. We have never really had the chance to push our albums in Europe. Purely because the labels we have been on have been fucking useless. They never wanted to push the album in other territories, but it all adds up. Look at Bullet For My Valentine, you start selling 50-100,000 records in different parts of the world and before you know it you’ve sold a million copies. Now we are in control of ourselves we can license the album wherever we want. We are in control so we decide the plan, we don’t have to answer to some suit in an office who is just crunching numbers. Now it’s all about us, and what we want to achieve.
We had dinner with our manager the other night, and he asks us about going into the studio at the end of next year. I was like ‘Fuck off’. The idea of going back into the studio is just too much to think about at the moment. I think we have exhausted our creativity almost to the point of insanity. I’m so proud of this record, I’m in no rush to head back into the studio. I’m just sitting back in the satisfaction of what we have done and I’m just going to enjoy it for a while.