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Fightstar: “I don’t go a day without being asked when we’re coming back. It’s no joke!”

As the mighty Fightstar announce their long-awaited return – with a whopping headline date at London’s OVO Arena Wembley, no less – the London post-hardcore heroes talk reconnecting, nostalgia, and how the thought of new music will “always be in the back of our minds”…

Fightstar: “I don’t go a day without being asked when we’re coming back. It’s no joke!”
Words:
Emma Wilkes
Photos:
Chazz Adnitt

Earlier in 2023, the members of Fightstar found themselves in a room together for the first time in a couple of years, at co-vocalist and guitarist Alex Westaway’s 40th birthday party. Almost a decade had passed since they had last made any music together or shared a stage. It had been nearly two since the band first started life. They got to talking, one thing led to another, and suddenly, they were contemplating out loud the possibility of getting back together.

Now, to celebrate their 20th anniversary, Fightstar will be throwing a birthday party of their own at the OVO Arena Wembley in March, marking their first live performance together for close to a decade. Here, the quartet tell us about what we can expect from their biggest show ever, and whether or not new music is on the horizon…

How does it feel knowing you’re just months away from playing Wembley Arena?
Dan Haigh (bass):
“Great idea – don’t play a show for nine years and then get right back at it in front of 12,500 people!”
Omar Abidi (drums):
“It’s amazing to get back out there with the guys. It’s been almost 10 years since we’ve really done anything and it feels like the right time. It’s a good time for the fans.”
Charlie Simpson (vocals):
“I don’t go a day without being asked when we’re coming back. It’s no joke – it happens literally every day. But our 20th anniversary is coming up and it felt like a nice time to mark the occasion and we just wanted to do something really special for it.”

On the subject of those nine years without playing shows, did you ever anticipate that you’d end up taking that much time away?
Omar:
“We’ve really been on hiatus since 2010. We did [2015 album] Behind The Devil’s Back as a one-off thing, and then we knew that we were going to go back on hiatus.”
Alex Westaway (guitar):
“It was a temporary thing when we did the last album – we were still fitting it in between other things that we were doing, so since 2010 we haven’t really been a touring band.”
Charlie:
“I loved that stint doing Behind The Devil’s Back – it’s my favourite Fightstar album. It was a really interesting way of working because we weren’t fully back and we made this record by ourselves, put it out by ourselves. We were left purely to our own devices and I think that meant we came out with something really special. It’s going to be hard to beat I think.”

How does it feel to reconnect after all this time?
Alex:
“We haven't been in a room together talking about Fightstar stuff for… I don't know… eight years since the last thing. I mean, it feels to me like nothing's changed at all. We’ve just got the same sense of humour!”
Dan:
“Once you've been in a band together, there's some deep connections that get forged through that process. You walk into the room and click, it’s back instantly.”
Alex:
“We’ve been through a lot together. We fought hard in the beginning and that did create a very strong bond.”
Charlie:
“The fans have never gone away, either – they've always been in contact with us. One of the great things about social media is that, daily, we've had messages from fans and still get people saying, ‘Check out my Fightstar tattoo’, ‘I had Fightstar as a first dance’, messages from military guys listening to us in active war zones. I think the live show is a chance for us to reconnect with them, to reconnect to aspects of that fandom, which is so essential for rock and metal.”

This is happening at a really interesting time for new music – we’ve seen loads of bands reunite lately, including Funeral For A Friend, Kids In Glass Houses and The Blackout. What do you think is bringing all these bands back?
Alex:
“They’re all bands from our kind of era – I’m wondering if there’s a palpable surge of nostalgia at the moment happening for that time.”
Charlie:
“I think there is for sure. You know When We Were Young Festival? I saw that poster, it was like a wet dream.”
Omar:
“All genres of music are quite cyclical, and especially around that 20-year mark is when people start to look back a bit at their lives 20 years ago – ‘What was the music playing? What was the soundtrack to my life back then?’”
Alex:
“I saw Funeral For A Friend and it was so exciting seeing them again. We talked with them back in the day but I was very much a big fan at the same time and it brought back such great memories. That’s the kind of feeling I'm hoping that people are going to have [for our Wembley show].”
Dan:
“It’s like the sonic equivalent of comfort food.”

Can we be cheeky and ask if the Wembley show might lead to any new music?
Charlie:
“I feel like at the moment, we’re not really focused on that. We’re definitely always open to making new music because we love making music together. That takes a huge amount of dedicated time. Dan and Al have Gunship stuff and I’ve been doing a lot of stuff and I’ve got a lot going on as well. I feel like when the time is right for us to come together and do new music, I definitely think we will want to.”
Dan:
“I will say this: when I’m in the studio and I’m writing Gunship material, every now and then I come up with a riff that’s just a little too heavy…”
Charlie:
“We just want to focus on this show, really have a celebration and celebrate what's part of the history of the band rather than focusing on the future at the moment. It’ll always be in the back of our minds, though.”

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