Pet sounds - Frightened Rabbit interview

Pet sounds - Frightened Rabbit interview

With an obscene amount of expectation surrounding the March release of their third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, Frightened Rabbit look set to be the Scottish sound of 2010. Jonny Ensall visits front man Scott Hutchison in a snowy studio outside Edinburgh

Frightened Rabbit - Fun Stuff

Why is the band back in the studio?
We’re just taking five of the songs back into the studio to rework them for a … actually, do you know what, I don’t even know what they’re for, but we were just told by the label to do some different versions of the songs. It’s quite good fun doing it anyway, making use of the parts of the tracks that maybe in the final mix get hidden or discarded.

So the new album has more layers to it would you say?
Yeah, absolutely. On the last record [The Midnight Organ Fight] there were a few things that I wanted to do but I didn’t have the time. And this time, given that we essentially had as much time as we wanted, we were able to make it much more complete and exorcise the demons that were still going around – the niggles in my head that were telling me, ‘You didn’t quite get it right last time’.

Is it very different to the last record?
Not completely, no. I haven’t listened to the last one in a long time, and I haven’t done any kind of comparison. It feels different, it feels a lot more confident and perhaps a more mature, and less grasping record. I guess it still focuses on the human condition and stuff like that. I think, as far as feeling the same way as I did when I was writing the last record, that’s just not the case any more. And it contains many more joyful moments than the last one – it’s much more positive. It still focuses on the dark aspects, but there’s a much clearer silver lining to the dark parts of this record I think.

What kind of expectations do you have for the new release?
Our expectations are always fairly low, and if it exceeds them then we’ll be happy. I think we purposefully try and set ourselves small goals to work towards, rather than any big dramatic leap of success. Our aim is always just to be moving forward and I suppose that can happen creatively and that can happen in terms of the number of people who come to our concerts or buy our record. But as long as there’s a forward momentum I don’t really have any specific [ideas like] ‘If we do this then the album will have succeeded’, because in lots of ways it’s already succeeded because I’m happy with it.

What were the high points of 2009?
The [packed out] Queen’s Hall show that we did over the [Edinburgh] festival was one of those moments where we were like, ‘What’s happening here?’ I didn’t really see that one coming. Also, playing Bowery Ballroom and being in New York in January as well. It’s really the only way for us to gauge how things are to go out and play live, and it’s what we do the most of anyway, so for us it’s always about landmark shows.

Any New Year’s resolutions?
No resolutions. I always vow to take a month off boozing. I did that this year and it was kind of enjoyable, but I don’t want to repeat it, so that one’s done. Like I said, I try not to set myself too many high goals because you just end up getting disappointed if you don’t reach them. In the next decade, I’ve always said five records for Frightened Rabbit and then we’ll see where we’re at. So, I’d like to complete that cycle of five and then we’ll reassess everything. In the next year just, I don’t know, more of the same. I’d be happy with that.

The Winter of Mixed Drinks is released on FatCat Records, 1 March 2010. Thanks to Party Mania, 30 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh.

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