Frightened Rabbit: ‘There Were No Half Measures’

The Glaswegians talk about their brand new album.

It had been a while since we’d heard from Frightened Rabbit, when - just as we were beginning to wonder where on earth they had got themselves to - a brand new track emerged, ‘State Hospital’, which doubles as the title to the five-piece’s forthcoming EP. The infinitely more thrilling detail though, lies in the discovery that said five-track is just an appetizer for - you guessed it - their brand new album.

“On the new record, it’s slightly less about my own life; I’m trying to widen the scope further, deal with wider social environments,” explains Scott Hutchinson, on the other end of the phone, as he indulges in a Glaswegian coffee. “There are some directions that people are going to be surprised by.”

Having already admitted that this writing process was a much more collaborative effort than with previous records, what was the reasoning behind the change? “I think it had to happen. I’d trodden that path so many times. I started to notice patterns in my own writing and that, to me, is really unhealthy. I don’t think that’s a positive thing. In order to develop this time, it was natural to me to open it up, and it’s been more exciting.”

So, what can he tell us about album number four? “It’s true that every record is always informed by the things that you think you did wrong on the one before, so from that standpoint, what I didn’t like about [last album] ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’ in the end, I thought it was too busy. I thought it was too layered a record. Often, things were just hidden in a noise.

“After that, I really wanted to make an album that sounds like a band again. Not just a straight up live album or anything, but something that, at its core, is played by a band, as opposed to layer upon layer of sound. I think we stripped things back a lot. It’s a much clearer record in itself.

“I want listeners to feel as though they’re right there in the room. In some of the quieter moments, as though you’re standing right in front of me, I’m singing to you. A lot of the more intimate moments in the album are just so bare, it makes the whole thing a lot more powerful and personal.”

And as for Hutchinson’s infamously personal lyrics; will they stay intact? “I think with the last album, lyrically, I tried to be quite bleak, with lots of gaps between narratives; leave it open and spacious, but with this one, it’s more lyrically dense and I’m much happier with it because of it.”

Working with Leo Abrahams in south Wales (“To have him as a constant presence was incredible.”) the band seem to have felt comfortable enough to scratch their creative itches, and remain entirely unconcerned about the major label stigmas that will no doubt be thrown their way. “We wanted to make sure things were just right. It was a big thing for us; the first record on a new label and we just wanted to get it absolutely right. There was no half measures or cutting corners. I think it took a while, but I’m totally glad that we took the time. It’s perhaps the strangest record we’ve ever made, and it’s on a major label.”

Frightened Rabbit’s new EP ‘State Hospital’ is out now via Atlantic Records. Their album will be released in early 2013.

Taken from the October 2012 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.

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