TMF meets Charlie Simpson
With a top ten under his belt for Young Pilgrim, Fightstar front man Charlie Simpson has enjoyed a fruitful start to his folk-infused solo career. Next week sees the release of the latest track to be to taken from his debut solo effort in the form of 'Farmer & His Gun' - released as a four-track EP with two versions of the track, a Jackson Browne cover and 'Lost' - and he is also currently on his second headline solo tour which saw him visit London's KOKO for his biggest solo show to date.
Charlie battled jetlag - following a trip to SXSW - to catch up with us ahead of the EP's release for a brief chat about solo life and to reveal what his tour has in store.
You've about to embark on your second headline tour, how is the solo life treating you?
Life is treating me very well at the moment! I have just come back from SXSW festival in the States which was awesome fun and now I'm embarking on the second leg of my Young Pilgrim tour.
Has the way you've performed changed at all from being in a band? Any mistakes you've rectified since your first solo shows?
I actually have a five piece band with me on stage when I'm touring, so the dynamic of my live shows has not really changed. It took a while for us to really settle in as a unit as it does with any new group of people playing music together but now everything feels really comfortable and we just focus on playing the best show possible.
Tell us a bit about 'Farmer & His Gun'. Any particular reason it's chosen as a set closer?
It has a really upbeat festival feel to it and it always gets a great reaction from the crowd, so it seems like a natural choice to close the set with.
You've used some interesting covers in your solo shows - including Wheat's 'Don't I Hold You?' - so any plans for covers in your upcoming tour?
Yes, we will be playing a cover in this tour. It's a song called 'Barricades Of Heaven' by one of my favourite artists Jackson Browne. I decided to put it in the set because I recorded it as a b-side to the 'Farmer & His Gun' EP which comes out whilst I'm on tour, so it coincided nicely.
Will 'Farmer & His Gun' be the last release from Young Pilgrim? Have your thoughts turned to the second album yet?
I am going to start writing as soon as I get back off tour. I have been so busy recently that I haven't really had the chance to write since the album came out, so I am very much looking forward to getting back into the creative process.
Are we likely to hear more from Fightstar in the future?
Definitely. The other guys are currently doing another musical project called Gunship and I am going to be releasing another record before we start writing again but you will definitely be hearing more from Fightstar in the future.
You've been in a pop/rock band, an alternative rock band and have done folk-tinged solo efforts, what left-field turn are you planning on taking in your career next?
I am quite happy with the way things are at the moment. Fightstar and solo stuff makes up my musical personality and all my time so that is what I will be doing for the foreseeable future. I do want to do a project with my two brothers at some point, which will be awesome fun.
Finally, now that the solo career is in full swing, what would you say ranks as your overall career highlight so far?
I would say that two great highlights of my carrier so far would be having a top ten record with my album Young Pilgrim and also getting the chance to play the main stage at Reading Festival with Fightstar.
Tickets are still available for selected dates of Charlie Simpson's tour. Visit his official site - http://charliesimpsonmusic.com - for more information where you can also find out more about the 'Farmer & His Gun' EP, out on March 25th as a digital download, CD and two 7" vinyls. Pre-order on iTunes at this link - itunes.apple.com/gb/preorder/farmer-his-gun-ep/id510059381