Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit talked to eGigs

about SXSW, a Winter Of Mixed Drinks, and that massive Bellhouston gig on Thursday 1 April 2010

Scottish indie rockers Frightened Rabbit's lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and lyricist Scott Hutchison spoke to eGigs about their forthcoming show supporting Snow Patrol at Bellahouston Park on 12th June 2010.

What are you up to at the moment?
We've just got a little bit of time off before we start touring again. We just got back from South By Southwest in Texas on Tuesday, and we're just taking a little bit of time out.

How did South By Southwest go?
It was pretty good. It was really busy and we played a lot of shows, but I think it was a success.

Do you think 2010 will shape up to be Frightened Rabbit's breakthrough year?
I don't know, it's hard to define breakthrough as well. We're just happy to keep moving forward. It's kind of hard to judge these things from being in the band. I think a breakthrough is in the control of a lot of other people in a lot of ways. I think we're just going to continue doing what we do.

Are you able to be full time musicians yet?
Yeah, we're full time musicians as we wouldn't have time to have other jobs. We would have to have an extremely understanding employer who would basically let us work one week every three months or something. We also feel i's less necessary these days as we're actually bringing in money by touring and publishing and stuff like that. So, we're getting there, and we're able to survive now on the band alone.

You seem to be adding a new member to the band with every record release, is this going to continue?
No I think five is enough. It's the number that I always wanted the band to be, but we've always wanted to take our time and make the right decisions. You don't want to bring someone in and then find out they're not right, and then let them go, with that horrible process you go through. So, we've been careful and just wanted to get it right each time I guess.

Are you now playing most of the latest album 'Winter Of Mixed Drinks' in your live set now, or still including a lot of old material?
Most of it, apart from I think one of the songs that we're not playing. The tour that we're doing, we're very aware that people still want to hear the old stuff, it's a good mix now. It's mostly new but there's many of the old songs in the set too now.

The new album is very much more layered than 'Midnight Organ Flight', is it easy to replicate that album sound live?
I don't think it's important to replicate it exactly, you just need to give a sense of the song. I think we've always treated live shows as quite a different thing, it doesn't need to be quite a precise, and it doesn't need to be as perfect. In fact I think it's detrimental to a live show if it is that way. We try to just convey a sense of the song. We don't want to have to have a lot of live equipment like samplers and stuff like that to try and add some of the sounds on there. Essentially it's about capturing the feeling of the song and making sure it works live rather than actually replicating the record.

So have you changed your encore songs to the new stuff yet?
Nope, the final song is still the same as it always was, from the last record called 'Keep Yourself Warm' which always seems to go down well, especially in the UK, and a new song which was supposedly going to be the next single called 'Living In Colour' those are the encore songs. We're still going with the big numbers I guess.

I was wondering if you'd added 'Swim Until You Can't See Land' as the big last song now.
Yeah, it's getting there now, it's always difficult to judge as we've really only toured the new record for about a week. So it's hard to judge which songs people have taken to, and which ones are going to work live. So we're still moving the songs in the set around I guess.

How has it been received live?
It seems okay, again it's difficult to judge because we started the tour before the album came out and for us in the band it's a case of getting used to the songs. It's not long enough to actually live with them and get really, really into it. We found that people were really receptive to the new stuff but it wasn't quite long enough for them to know it. We're finding it difficult to judge it right now, time will tell exactly what's working and what's not for everyone. People seem to be getting into it but it's a slow process.

You've got the Snow Patrol Bellahouston Park gig coming up, do you think it will be more settled by then?
We've only got a wee half hour set so we're just going to play what we went then. We're just going to try and keep the pace up, and play our most immediate and best songs. We've got the task of winning the crowd over with half an hour, and that's all about keeping the energy up and trying to get as much into the set as possible in the time. That will be a completely different style of set to our headline sets, we just have to tailor it to grab people's attentions.

Will the gig be the biggest you'll have done to date?
Yeah, I don't know how many people are going to be there but it's going to be at least a few thousand, so it's easily going to be the biggest one.

You're also booked for Summer Sundae Weekender, do you have any other festival dates yet?
Yes, there's a couple in Europe so far confirmed, but we're still waiting for confirmation on ones in the UK, there's a few we'd love to play but we've not actually received confirmation of any of them apart from Summer Sundae yet. Hopefully the calendar will start to fill up in the coming weeks.

What's been the most memorable gig you've attended?
I remember going to see TV On The Radio a couple of years back in Glasgow and I'm a huge fan of that band. It was one of those appearances where everything just came together and it was an amazing concert at the ABC in Glasgow a couple of years back, iy was one of my favourites ever.

What do you like most about playing live?
Probably the same thing that anybody else does about playing live, that kind of instant reaction. You never really get that when you put out a record, but going out and playing live and getting people's responses right there and then. There's nothing better than having people singing your own words beck at you. That kind of instant connection between you and the audience is what it is all about.

You write all of the songs, are you a prolific writer? How easy do you find the process of songwriting?
I have periods of writing all the time, but I also have long periods of not writing at all. I don't write on tour, I've decided that's something that is a conscious decision that I've made. I don't find it difficult to write I just don't do it all the time, that's not the way I do it. I like to work in blocks. That way I think it lends a consistency to the material where each song relating to one another. I like to work grammatically and lyrically and stuff like that. I'll start writing again as soon as we get more downtime I guess.

Your albums concentrate on a certain theme for each one, do you think that will continue?
It will, it seems to be the way that I like to put albums together. It's not a conscious thing to begin with, but then I grab an idea and I just like to run with it. I don't know what the idea of the next one is going to be, but it seems to be the best way for me to construct an album. It makes it easier for me to feel out where the songs are going. I do like to work like that.

Some people draw comparisons between you and Glasvegas, do you think that's fair?
I think that we both have something going on there, we both sing in our own accents, but mine isn't quite as strong as theirs. It happens a lot, but it's fair enough, we're both Scottish bands, we both use guitars, and I suppose we both lend a certain emotion to the way we sing. I don't think that we're hugely like them.

You seem to have grown more out of the folk scene, would that right?
Yeah I'd say so, our songs always start out that way. They're worked into larger songs in the studio but they always start off as folk songs really, but they're forged in a room with me and an acoustic guitar making songs. I think it's also the way we've grown up through the years with our songs starting out quite lo fi and folky. So I'd agree with that, our roots are definitely in that type of music.

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article by: Scott Williams

published: 01/04/2010 15:51


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