Frightened Rabbit are your best friend. Well, more specifically, they’re your best friend during one of those nights where you just want to get royally fucked up and sit and drink and chat until the small hours of the morning about girls, records, Van Damme movies and…well, ok, mainly just girls. They’re a sloppy, half-hit, hi-five at 3am. They’re a shoulder to cry on. They make you feel ok to be an adult and a bit messed-up. They inspire you to go do something, anything, else. They’re a sweaty, smelly, unshaven and slightly awkward man-hug of a band and they’re all the more brilliant for it.
Last week they released a new EP, State Hospital. The five-track collection will pass the time between now and the release of their fourth LP in early 2013. We caught up with frontman Scott for a chat about the EP, how the new record is shaping up and ‘clumsy metaphors‘…
Good day sir. How was your Summer?
It was great. We didn’t have much touring on, we finished our record. Who could ask for more?
You’re enjoying a short run of shows, how is it all going?
We’re still in the midst of the run. It’s been going really well so far. I do occasionally complain about touring, but this time has been a real joy, Ireland in particular.
Have you started dropping any new songs in to the sets?
Yeah we have. State Hospital, Boxing Night and The Oil Slick are all regulars. Anything more than that and we may begin to bore people, so we’ll save the rest for next year…
I saw someone describe you as the ‘E-Street Band‘ after the London show (which I guess makes you Bruce) Is that a look you’ve been working on?
I’m not even nearly as fit as Bruce. I can only just manage 90 minutes of playing, whilst The Boss can breeze through twice that. I’d be a wreck after 2 hours.
Do you think that’s a reflection of just how far you’ve come on as a whole band?
I think that now, more than ever, we feel like an ACTUAL band. A really distinct and well oiled 5-piece, as opposed to the three original members and two other guys playing catch-up and not knowing exactly what their place was. Now, everyone has an input in to how the band sounds and operates, which is a really big progression for us.
The new EP is out now. Have you been pleased with the reaction thus far? (“clumsy metaphor” jokes aside. Sorry.)
Ha! You cunt.
I was just joking, I’ve had worse things said about my lyrics… The reaction on the whole has been very positive. The main thing for me (after what we think of it) is how our fans feel about it. That reaction comes across most clearly when we play live, and we’ve been feeling some marvellous ‘vibes’ (sorry) during the new songs in the set.
Aside from Boxing Night, which we understand is six years old, are the rest of the tracks on the EP fruits of the new album recording sessions?
Yes. State Hospital was the first song written for this album/EP, back in January of last year. It was an important kick-off, and set the tone for what came thereafter. The other three came about towards the end of the writing sessions, whilst we were living up in the north of Scotland in a town called Kingussie.
Do you have a personal favourite track on the EP?
The track with Aidan is a pretty special one for me. I was already heavily influenced by his work when it came to writing the lyrical content for this record, so to have him actually write and perform on it is incredible.
It is rather delicious. Was it a fun track to put together? Was it written for him/with him in mind?
It was an interesting process… I originally wrote the whole first draft of the song and recorded a demo, but found myself almost doing a crap impersonation of Aidan on the verses. So, one drunken morning I decided to email him to see if he was into doing a guest vocal on it – don’t ask, don’t get I suppose. A year later, the whole thing actually came together, with Aidan writing the verses based on the theme I had set down initially. I’m really proud of that song.
Only State Hospital appears on the new LP. Would you say that it’s representative of the overall record?
Not exactly. We chose it as we felt it was a good bridge between The Winter Of Mixed Drinks and the new record. It has the scale of the last record, with the lyrical intensity of the new one. A lot of the album tracks are a lot less ‘cinematic’ than State Hospital and a bit more raw.
Is the new record all good to go and, if so, do you know when can we expect it?
It’s at the ‘tiny tweaks’ stage. We’re hoping for it to be out in the first week of February 2013.
Are you looking forward to the Autumn? What’s the plan for the next few months?
Touring. We’re in the middle of the European leg now, and we’re off to the US for about 3 weeks after that. I do love autumn on the east Coast of North America, so that’ll be a pleasure.
Interview by Tom Johnson