FRIGHTENED Rabbit are back in Balado to help T turn 20 in style. We caught up with singer Scott Hutchinson to discuss which acts he’ll be seeing if he manages to get a T break, why there’s nothing quite like a home crowd, and why Scotland simply loves a sing-along.
Frightened Rabbit have a long running relationship with T in the Park. Their Balado debut came in the T Break tent, and from then on it has been a steady rise upwards for the Scottish fivesome. This year, they are one of the main acts on the Radio One Stage, following the likes of Noah and the Whale and Villagers. Though they are swiftly progressing through the ranks, Hutchinson hasn’t forgotten those early performances.
“I remember the first time we played. I wasn’t really expecting anyone to come and watch us” he says.
“We were playing the T Break tent and by the time we got on stage it was full, and it was like ‘where did you all come from and how did you find out about our band?’ It was one of those very memorable, very kind of defining moments.”
Though Hutchinson’s professional memories of T are fond, he also has a personal history with the festival which he happily recalls.
“It was the first festival I ever attended, so for that reason it’s got a lot of memories. Then when you get to play it, the crowd here are just kind of on a different level. Everyone’s pretty up for it.”
Though the band’s career have taken them to many countries, festivals and concert halls, it would seem that nothing quite compares to that famous Scottish crowd.
“The home crowd, there’s kind of nothing like it” says Hutchinson.
“But America’s really taken to the band, and there’s a great affection for Scottish music over there. So we were almost, when we went out there, kind of stepping into the slipstream of bands like Belle and Sebastian and Mogwai.
“The reaction over there, I mean again it’s quite different. They’re maybe not quite as vocal in their singalongs. Scotland loves a singalong.”
So who will Frightened Rabbit be singing along to this year?
“If I get any time to go and see anyone, that’d be great! I’m probably going to go and see My Bloody Valentine play instead of Rihanna, so I’ll go and watch them and have my hearing damaged permanently.”
Though this year’s line up has proved controversial, Hutchinson is quick to point out that the purpose of a festival is to please the public, pop music and all.
“I think that T in the Park is actually giving a lot of people what they want, putting on large pop acts like Rihanna. I dunno, our drummer’s gonna go and see Rihanna. She actually has a wide audience.
“I think to me, putting on a festival is about ensuring that as many people as possible have a great time, and you have to be eclectic in that way. So I don’t have a problem with that to be honest. Because they also, at the other end of the spectrum, encourage lots and lots of new music, and there’s a big area of this festival that’s put aside for that, so I think, you know, both sides are there.”
And of course, once upon a time, the boys could be counted amongst those new acts, happy to get their own break in Balado. Now that they’ve come this far, graduating to one of the biggest stages in the festival and earning themselves an army of dedicated fans across the globe, what will come next?
“I have no idea. I try not to think too much about that. Because the thing is, if you’d have told me ten years ago that we’d be doing this slot on that stage, that would have been more than enough for me.
“I’m always quite happy with what we have. I think that’s been what’s sort of kept us going. You know, we look to the future and we’re ambitious, but at the same time we try not to make our expectations too high.”
And so we leave Hutchinson, safe in the knowledge that the band really does enjoy a good roaring sing along, and that T in the Park has a solid place in the hearts of those sharp Selkirk boys.
• Frightened Rabbit are playing on the Radio One Stage at 19.25