Exclusive Interview: Frightened Rabbit - Counteract | Music News & Reviews From BirminghamCounteract | Music News & Reviews From Birmingham | Counteract is the best place for local music news, reviews and interviews from the heart of Birmingham.
2013 has barely begun but already it is shaping up to be a fruitful year for Selkirk’s Frightened Rabbit. The band’s fourth studio album Pedestrian Verse, which climbed up into the UK Top 10, is their debut with Atlantic Records after initially finding success with Fat Cat records. The success of the album may be owed to the lead single, ‘The Woodpile’, which has garnered daytime plays on national radio station. Manoeuvring our way through the enormous queue outside of The Institute for Frightened Rabbit’s overwhelmingly popular show (which is combined with fans seeing R&B singer Ryan Leslie who everyone is convinced was a member of the boy band Blue at some point), it’s clear to see the support from a major label is truly paying off to such a hard-working band.
The front man of the band, Scott Hutchinson, is a welcoming person as a whole, taking time to acquaint himself with us and relieve tension by offering us beer, the lyrics he writes are very direct and the impression I get from him is that he doesn’t beat around the bush. It has been such a big gap over time since the band’s last critically acclaimed album, 2010’s ‘The Winter of Mixed Drinks’, which embraced a polished sound but clung onto the rawness that the band had become known for. Since that time, Hutchinson states that the band have been finalizing their contract with Atlantic Records as well as “trying to figure out what we were doing with this album alongside constant writing” including releasing two EPs worth of material prior to the album to ensure that the songs weren’t just shrugged off as b-sides and were given a better status than that.
Thematically the new album takes off from prior albums underlying themes of love and loneliness and leaves Hutchinson soul searching for a new subject matter, injecting some subtle dark metaphors in the underbelly of his lyricism, “I definitly play around with morbid metaphors and religious imagery to explain quite normal simple things to give them a bit of grandeur” but at the same time, there’s always a hopeful lift “there has to be some recompense rather than just pure abject misery, I wouldn’t want to eject an entirely desolate sentiment”.
On the bands sudden rise to popularity, there is a sense of gratitude around Hutchinson that is grateful by the pockets of new fans he is seeing at recent shows. “Before, it was sort of a cult thing where everyone who was in there felt passionately about every song”, of course it’s hard to judge this early into the tour and new fans have yet to be exposed to the bands extensively and cohesive back catalogue. Hutchinson’s content wish is that he is “able to play nice venues of about this size” for the rest of his life.
As for music on the side, Hutchinson has been recently collaborating over the internet on a single with Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra fame, “I recorded my bit in Glasgow and he had finished his bit by the end of the day and it’d be nice if we could just gather a collection of songs over a year and maybe release something more”. However, fans already drooling with anticipation at the prospect of this mammoth combination of indie giants will be glad to hear that the the first song is expected to be released on record store day with both songwriters handling vocal duties.
The band looks to tour Australia for three weeks (after their upcoming month long US tour) following a three year absence from the country. Hoping to get home just in time for festival season.
Photograph by Dan Hess.
About George Gadd
Will listen to just about anything but personal favourites are Brand New, Bright Eyes, Japandroids, Frightened Rabbit, Alkaline Trio, The Front Bottoms, Manchester Orchestra, Foals, The Replacements, Queens of the Stone Age, Miles Davis, The Gaslight Anthem and Bruce Springsteen just to name a few.