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Spotlight: Fontaines D.C.

The GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to welcome GRAMMY-nominated Irish rock band Fontaines D.C. for an intimate conversation discussing the band’s latest album Skinty Fia, their creative process, rising career, and more, followed by a performance. 

Following the release of the Mercury Music Prize-nominated debut, Dogrel, in 2019, Irish rock band Fontaines D.C (the “D.C” stands for Dublin City) enjoyed something of a meteoric rise when the follow-up, A Hero’s Death, saw them land at #2 on the UK Album Charts and receive nominations at the GRAMMYs, BRITs and Ivor Novello Awards. The five-piece had toured Dogrel – and themselves – into the ground, ending up hardly speaking due to pure exhaustion. A Hero’s Death was written as the band reconnected in Dublin, rediscovered the joys of being in the group, and came to terms with the previous year’s dislocation and disorientation. Then suddenly the pandemic struck, meaning A Hero’s Death was initially delayed for two months and then released as the world was locked down. Excitement for them had only grown in the interim and following the release of the album they became only the second Irish band in GRAMMY history to receive a “Best Rock Album” nomination.

As the world was recalibrating from the pandemic, Fontaines D.C returned with their third record in as many years. This year’s Skinty Fia won them rave reviews around the globe and debuted at #1 on the UK and Irish album charts and saw them finally return to the United States, where they visited the stages of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and performed an impressive NPR Tiny Desk session from the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago. Used colloquially as an expletive, “Skinty Fia” roughly translates from the Irish language into English as “the damnation of the deer”; the spelling crassly anglicized, and its meaning diluted through generations. Part bittersweet romance, part darkly political triumph – the songs ultimately form a long-distance love letter, one that laments an increasingly privatized culture in danger of going the way of the extinct Irish giant deer.

The band’s thoughts on Irish identity are crucial to Skinty Fia as all members relocated from their home country to live in London. Dogrel was mostly set in Dublin and was littered with snapshots of the city’s characters, like the cabbie in “Boys In The Better Land” who “spits out ‘Brits out!’, only smokes Carroll’s”. By contrast, A Hero’s Death was largely written on tour and documented the dislocation and disconnection the band felt from Ireland as they had new adventures around the globe. This time, they’re addressing their Irishness from afar as they recreate new lives for themselves elsewhere and try to resolve the need to broaden their horizons with the affection they still clearly feel for the land and people they’ve left behind. There are still echoes of Dogrel’s rumbustious rock ’n’ roll and the bleaker atmospheres of A Hero’s Death, However, Skinty Fia – the third in the triumvirate – is much more expansive and cinematic. New elements range from choral harmonies to drum ’n’ bass-influenced percussive grooves, and Irish traditional music to electronic dance-rock. On one song the solitary instrument is an accordion. Fontaines D.C. are still primarily a guitar-based band, but they are in a state of constant evolution. This time, the result is an album of shifting moods, startling insight, maturity, and considerable emotional wallop.

Fontaines D.C first met whilst studying music at the BIMM Institute in Dublin and have since created their own BA Honors in Commercial Modern Music Scholarship at the college. 

Member Check – In: 6:30pm

Nonmember Check – In / Doors: 7:00pm

Show Time: 7:30pm

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EVENT TIME & DATE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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