Carlos O’Connell on his Fontaines D.C. bandmates: “I never thought I’d miss them this much”

The guitarist spoke to NME on the red carpet about his band touring without him, upcoming shows with Arctic Monkeys, and having "a million songs in the pipeline"

NME caught up with Fontaines D.C.‘s Carlos O’Connell on the red carpet of the BRITs 2023, where he discussed the band’s upcoming tour with Arctic Monkeys, new music, and how much he’s been missing his bandmates while they’ve been on tour. Watch our video interview with him above.

The rest of Fontaines D.C. are currently on a tour of Australia, New Zealand and Japan which began last month; but O’Connell is missing the shows as he awaits the birth of his first child – with Cathal MacGabhann from fellow Irish band The Altered Hours replacing him on guitar for the shows.

“It definitely feels weird,” he told NME on the BRIT Awards 2023 red carpet of not being with his bandmates. “I didn’t think much of it at the start to be honest, coming up to it I felt lucky in the way. I was like, ‘Ah I get a break’, but then obviously when it happens then you’re just sort of like…’I miss them, I miss them a lot’. I really do. I never thought I’d miss them this much, and I’m just sitting at home without them.


“I had a panic week a couple of weeks ago, when I was texting all of them being like, ‘Are you guys OK with me? Why don’t you text me more!’” he joked.

Fontaines D.C. Carlos O’Connell
Fontaines D.C.’s Carlos O’Connell CREDIT: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Later in the night, Fontaines D.C. won the award for Best International Group, with O’Connell dedicating the award to his bandmates. Collecting the trophy he told the audience: “I’m happy to be here to celebrate that and to celebrate friendship. They’re my best friends in the world.”

The band’s third album ‘Skinty Fia’ was released in April 2022. When asked if they’ve stared to think about new music, O’Connell told us: “We’re always thinking about [new music], and we’ve got a million songs in the pipeline; but we’re not going to tour this summer, we’re not going to do any of it.

“Our next thing is the tour with the Arctic Monkeys  at the end of summer, and it’s after that when we’ll go back into the mindset of writing, and then we’ll see what we have [and] see how we feel. We’ve done every album straight after another, and this is a new thing for us to have a break. I don’t necessarily like it but I know it’s good for me and it’s good for everyone.”

Fontaines D.C. are due to support Arctic Monkeys on their North American tour this summer. Discussing the massive shows, O’Connell said: “I’m excited not only because of the music and everything, but I think it’s amazing as a band to see someone with such legacy and so much time behind them. They’ve stuck together and it’s quite beautiful.”


In a contemplative mood, O’Connell added: “That’s the thing I value most right now. I value friendships and I value…you know, I appreciate the passing of time and appreciate that coming with stress that makes thing hard.

“To see a band like Arctic Monkeys stick together after so long and to continue to make albums that challenge the music around them and challenge the music they’ve already made is inspiring.”

Check back at NME for more interviews from the BRIT Awards 2023.