The Irish musician and Fontaines frontman, who released his debut solo album ‘Chaos For The Fly‘ this week, reflected on how his attitude to touring has evolved over the years in a new interview with NME.
“Around ‘A Hero’s Death’, I was really struggling to reshape myself to fit this new kind of lifestyle, and I was dealing with fatigue… and mental illness; the depression that occurred,” he explained.
“The anxiety was pretty intense as well. I was just sick of not fucking living anywhere for five years. I didn’t even think about the fact that half a decade had passed without me feeling like I belonged anywhere outside of a tour bus.”
He went on: “I was having fits of anxiety and rage, and was locking myself in rooms mid-soundcheck. I’d sing two lines of a song like [‘Skinty Fia’s] ‘Nabakov’; the level of intensity that the song demands means you would be exhausted by 4pm in the afternoon. To realise my disconnect with that song really, physically upset me. I had to fuck off, I had to run away. [The fits] started happening a lot on the last tour.”
Asked if his healing process impacted the sound of the album in any way, Chatten said his “perspective has changed so much, so I can’t really speak for how I will feel later down the line”.
He continued: “At the moment, I’m dealing with such a strange nostalgia for being on the road, even though it was tough.”
The frontman previously opened up about his mental health struggles with NME in a 2020 cover interview. “I’ve struggled to an extent with depression, as a lot of people have. Loneliness and a sense of meaninglessness about life,” Chatten said.
“Every day I feel like I’m faced with a crossroads as to whether I should see what I could get out of life if I really engage fully. I’m basically not sure about the meaningfulness of life.”
Two years later in another cover interview with NME, the musician reflected on suffering with insomnia when touring ‘Dogrel’ throughout late 2019.
“I used to wait in the lobby of the hotel when the lads went off to bed after a gig, and then just get a beer from the vending machine and sit there,” he said.
“I’d watch the sun come up and then we’d all get back in the van the next morning, as though nothing had happened.”
In a four-star review of ‘Chaos For The Fly’, NME described it as a “stirring” and “subdued and vulnerable debut”, in which Chatten writes “confidently about what hurts with the support of rich arrangements”.