WEEK ONE :: PHOTO GALLERY + MP3
WEEK TWO :: INTERVIEW
Interview by Chip Adams
To help get to know our current On The Cover group Frightened Rabbit a little better, I got an opportunity to chat with frontman Scott Hutchison. Prior to this interview, I did get to meet all four members of this emerging Scottish group while they visited our space within the Levi's/FADER Fort in Austin. The guys were running on fumes at that point, as we were their final obligation during SXSW. Rather than attempt to sit down for a chat at that point, we had Hutchison record an acoustic session and then called it a day so they could have a few beverages and relax.
I wanted to catch up with Frightened Rabbit before they shifted into full touring & promotional mode for the release of their spectacular sophomore album, The Midnight Organ Fight. During our chat we discussed the creative process involved in making the new album, getting drunk in a children's museum, touring and even quadruple entendres.
C: The last time I saw you guys was during the chaos of South by Southwest. Was that your first time to experience the wrath of that particular festival?
S: We actually went the previous year with no label, no record and with no clue what to expect. That broke us in nicely for this year's "fuck in the eye" experience so we were more prepared for the ensuing madness that this festival brings to Austin. I recommend any band to train hard for at least a week prior to arrival by mainlining alcohol and meat into the system in order to acclimatise.
C: I know you had a ton of work to do while in Austin. Did you get to spend any time enjoying the city?
S: The city itself we saw very little of. First time round we actually did see the bats swirling out from under the bridge, which was very nice. This year, we saw the inside of bars and hotels and many pieces of litter at our feet. That was about it.
C: I wanted to thank you again for taking a few minutes to tape an acoustic session for The Tripwire. Do you find that performing material in a stripped down setting shows a different side to the music?
S: I think it makes the songs seem sadder. The full band set-up helps to distract from the inherent misery in the lyrics. A full set of stripped down stuff can get to be a little heavy going, which is why I often like to include a couple of '80s hair rock hits into the mix.
C: So the new album, The Midnight Organ Fight, is near its physical release here in the US. How did the songwriting on this differ from that of your debut record, Sing The Greys?
S: I wrote the songs in a shorter period of time, with the subject matter reflecting that relatively small window in my life. I think for that reason its all a little more intense and the whole album knits together better than the first.
C: The critics over here have been giving The Midnight Organ Fight some pretty glowing reviews so far. Were you expecting such a positive response from our unbelievably picky (and at times snobby) music journalists?
S: Being picky is their job! I never take reviews terribly seriously given that they tend to be written after one or two listens at around 4am. That said, one fellow at SXSW whom I was talking to, said the thing he liked most about our band was that we seemed able to soften even the hardest of industry hearts, and remind them that outside of the rat-hole of the music media, they are people who experience emotions and even maybe get their heart broken.
C: During the songwriting process, did you find a common thread or story that helped piece the new album together?
S: I tend to write about relationships, which comes through fairly clearly in the material. I have also noticed a propensity to include disease and body parts in the lyrics. The whole thing is loosely based on one particular break-up, so that helps provide a backdrop.
C: Can you explain the title of the new album? Before I saw the artwork for the record, I felt it that "organ" could be either our insides or musical instruments. The sketch of the heart on the cover obviously cleared that up... or so I thought.
S: No it could still be an instrument. The line itself is in "Fast Blood," and refers to sex, though I like that there's a bit of triple or even quadruple entendres going on in there.
C: This summer you will be returning to North America for some touring with the French Kicks. How did you guys get paired up with them?
S: You may have to ask our booking agent about that. The honest answer is I have no idea! But we're pretty excited about it.
C: During your recent trek to the US, did you end up returning home with any interesting noteworthy stories from the road? Any random weirdness while in Austin? Problems getting into the US? All around culture shock?
S: Random weirdness is all over Austin. We went to a party at a children's museum, where the drunks rubbed shoulders with trains and teddy bears. We always comment on the meat too. Its a big part of your trip to Austin, and I swear if you cut me open that week, I would have bled barbecue. Upon our return to the east coast we played a show in Boston with Sons and Daughters. We all got hammered, but our drummer in particular became so enthused by the Sons and Daughters show that he insisted on shouting 'DRUM SOLO!' again and again. The whole crowd seemed to agree so by the end of the set Dave was forced to execute a solo. If you don't ask, you don't get.
C: For our readers who might have only heard bits and pieces of your music so far, how would you describe the sound of Frightened Rabbit?
S: I can never describe it, and that's not because it's in anyway groundbreaking or experimental. It's the opposite in fact. We use the standard rock/pop templates and skew them ever so slightly so as to be a little less recognisable. That, at least, is what we aim for. As for what comes out, I haven't a fucking clue.
C: I know that the entire Austin-based Tripwire crew is quite excited to have Frightened Rabbit back here in a few months at The Mohawk. We'll see you in June!
S: See you then!
Stay tuned for more from Frightened Rabbit, including an amazing Tripwire Acoustic Session. You won't want to miss it!