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Frightened Rabbit interview

12 JUN 2010 | Posted By: Georgia

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Frightened Rabbit interview

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You know that you're onto a good thing when Kele from Bloc Party turns up at your festival set, despite Daniel Johnston and Mumford & Sons playing at the same time – in Australia nonetheless, at the opposite end of the world. This was Laneway Festival, and they were Frightened Rabbit; the Scottish rockers that pre-Laneway were a little-known but highly regarded cult band, and post-Laneway suddenly became infamous for being a thousand times better than a bunch of Londoners with banjos and suspenders. They're playing Splendour in the Grass later this year, so don't make the mistake of choosing the music hype over the musically ripe.

(By the way, when reading this, say everything that Scott says in a gorgeous Scottish accent. It makes everything that he says even funnier.)

Georgia Frances King: Hey Scott, wassup?
Scott Hutchison: I just woke up. Sorry, did you try to call before? I, err, slept in.

GFK: I did, but that’s fine!
SH: [laughs] Yeah, it is a bit late.

GFK: Well I wanted to start by saying that I was at Laneway Festival when you guys were playing at the same time as Mumford & Sons and Daniel Johnston. And probably about 95% of the festival tried to cram into one space to see Mumford fuck up their set. But I stayed and watched you, and it was the best set that I saw the entire festival.
SH: [laughs] Thank you! You were one of the few.

GFK: That set became talked about after though – everyone wishes that they made the right decision to watch you instead. Suckers. How does it feel to play to so few at a festival?
SH: It’s great! Well, I mean, it’s been like that for a lot of our shows in the past. We haven’t always been volume or large numbers. It’s all dedication and excitement. I loved that show.

GFK: I’ve noticed recently that you guys seem to keep on picking up members as you go along. Like, it started out with just you in 2003, your brother Grant came on in 2004, then it just kind of gained momentum and kept picking up [they now are a five-piece]. It’s kind of like a rolling stone actually gathering moss. Why do you keep expanding?
SH: It’s really about the sound expanding from record to record. It’s been getting bigger: more detailed and more layered. So every time we feel a little bit overwhelmed, we get another… It’s the way that I’ve always wanted it to be, so it’s fine. But no more gathering of moss. We’re done now.

GFK: So it’s not going to turn into The Polyphonic Spree with 25 of you on stage wearing brightly coloured ponchos?
SH: I couldn’t be bothered with that, no. [sniggers] I don’t have that many pals!

GFK: Aww, come on, that’s not true! So no full time glockenspiel players?
SH: No. No way. No no. They’re too expensive.

GFK: Do you find that bringing in new band members really freshens things up a bit?
SH: Yeah! I think so. Well, when you’ve been with the band for a bit of time, sometimes you need something to liven it up. Andy [Monaghan, on keys] and Gordon [Skene, also keys] came in last year and the year before, and it certainly brings about the re-invigoration of the band. It definitely brings back the excitement again, because sometimes on tour, you lose that. It’s just a natural thng that happens.

GFK: Let’s talk about the new record, The Winter of Mixed Drinks. In some interviews you’ve called it less personally brutal album than your last two, but in others you’re lamenting about how you were feeling that you were teetering on the edge of loneliness. They kind of contradict each other. So where did the album come from then?
SH: Ehh, well a lot of it came from being on tour and feeling that kind of stagnating feeling, and feeling a bit too into the existence of that. Towards the end of last year, I wasn’t really enjoying it that much. And I think that a lot of the feelings that I had of feeling alone and feeling a bit lost were from that. Because I’m perfectly happy when I’m back at home. I’m more settled. But then when you’re on tour, you’re drifting. You can’t really grasp hold on things.

GFK: How do you solve that problem?
SH: Go home.

GFK: [laughs] Oh!
SH: [laughing] So yeah, [on tour] you learn to live the same way that you did [back home]. You know, I think that we just got a lot more sensible – especially with things like, heh, drinking… Because the shows have gotten bigger, and we feel a much greater responsibility – not that I didn’t always feel responsibility – but if you’re physically and mentally a bit fucked, the shows are going to suffer. So we’re just looking after ourselves a bit better. It sounds boring, but it’s completely necessary.

GFK: Does this come through from some Scottish genetic pre-disposition to having a couple of drinks after the show?
SH: Yeeah, you can’t ever really get away from that. We try to at least keep it ‘calm’.

GFK: I’ve been following you guys on Twitter for the past couple of months, and I don’t normally follow bands because they don’t really have anything interesting to say; but you guys are bloody entertaining.
SH: Thanks! Well, it’s funny because it’s not actually useful information for anyone. It’s just random thoughts as they occur to us. So you don’t really learn anything, but hopefully it’s a bit of a giggle.

GFK: Well there’s one I just remembered – I think it’s from a few days ago – it was something about… I think it was “I wonder what The Flintstones would have used for hair straighteners?”
SH: Yeah yeah yeah! I was actually just watching my girlfriend straighten her hair one morning… Because they had birds for record players, so she thought that maybe they would have hot razor clams.

More at myspace.com/frightenedrabbit, and get their incessant ramblings on Twitter through @FRabbits.
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