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Interview: Frightened Rabbit - Mixed Drinks, bacon rashers and Songs of Praise

If it were possible to plot the trajectory of a band in graphical form, Frightened Rabbit's would form an upward curve, growing slowly around 2006's Sing The Greys and then rocketing skyward since the follow-up.

The Midnight Organ Fight stood out from the pack in 2007; a set of raw, compelling songs that sent the Selkirk natives well on the way to wider recognition.

After two years spent packing out sweaty venues wherever they lay their guitar cases, the newly expanded quintet are set to release the follow-up, The Winter of Mixed Drinks next week. UtR cornered drummer Grant Hutchison for his take on the new cut from 'The Frabbit'...

You recorded the album in Crail. Why this location, and what effect did it have on the end result?

It was actually just the demo-ing of the new tracks that was done in Crail but the location still had a big impact on the songs. There's definitely a nautical theme to a lot of the tracks and a feeling of testing yourself to the limit which the sea plays a big part in. Scott had a daily routine of walking along the beach until an idea came into his head and he would then turn round and develop it on the way home. He would then eat two slices of bacon from the local butcher and record a version of the song. Another reason for Crail was the access to a very kind friend's house in exchange for a bottle of wine!

This article was originally published on the Under the Radar blog

How does The Winter of Mixed Drinks develop the themes of The Midnight Organ Fight? Do you see it as a continuation or a clean break?

It's definitely not a complete swerve from TMOF but it's by no means a break-up album. Some of the songs are about getting up and dusting yourself off and realising what's left after something like a break-up but it's turned out a lot more positive this time. Still far from happy but more positive! The subject of the record is different. There's no angst directed towards this one scenario and if anything it's even more personal as it's all about one character rather than a relationship involving more than one person.

Where did you take the samples you use on the record from?

We've sampled some bands who shall not be named for fear of being sued eventually! There's no plagiarism there but most of the people who are on the record know they are there so that's fine! The sample at the end of 'Man/Bag of Sand' was taken from a film that was on the TV when Scott was demo-ing in Crail and it just seemed to fit so it made it on to the record! There's also a tiny section of Songs of Praise on there too!

Since the last album Frightened Rabbit have become one of Scotland's most popular bands. Was there added pressure going into this?

There was pressure this time but it's not the first time we've been under pressure, it just came from a different source this time. When recording TMOF we were restricted by the small amount of time we had in the studio so we worked under pressure to do that too. I think it's more productive to have some kind of pressure whether it's time or consistency or even financial. I think it always brings the best out in a person if there's a bit of fear involved.

Despite the international touring, do you try to stay close to your roots? What do you make of Scotland's music scene since you broke through?

Scotland has always had a strong music scene. I think since we started it's become really strong with bands like The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Tommy Reilly making really good starts to what will hopefully become long careers in music. Also the emergence of Biffy Clyro from Glasgow's favourites to nationwide heroes has been great for Scottish music. We'll always be close to our roots and even now after the short time we've been touring internationally it's still great to come home and find that people here who have seen us maybe ten times are still coming out to shows and supporting us. There are also a lot of bands coming up to continue the current trend of quality like John Knox Sex Club, Three Blind Wolves and Woodenbox with a fistful of Fivers.

What advice would you give to bands starting out?

The best and really only way to gain experience is to get stuck in straight away. It was a long time before we actually said no to the offer of a gig and although you feel bad asking your mates to come and see you week in week out it's the only way to get your name out there. The next step is to find an enthusiatic booking agent who can stick you in a freezing van for four weeks, opening for bands you don't always like and making you wonder why you're in a band! That's the true test of how commited someone is to making something of their band. Not giving up says a lot for a band and spending years to get to where you want is not something we're afraid of and nor should any other band starting out.

You finished third in a recent scotsman.com readers' poll of Scottish bands of the Noughties, behind Biffy Clyro and Franz Ferdinand. How do you feel about that?

Extremely happy. We beat some pretty good bands and although we maybe shouldn't have come out on top of the likes of Mogwai and Belle & Sebastian it feels nice that people felt strongly enough to put us there!

The Winter of Mixed Drinks is released on 1 March on FatCat Records.

 
 
 

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