Q & A with Frightened Rabbit
Scottish indie rockers Frightened Rabbit will launch their highly anticipated 2017 Australian tour in just a few short weeks. Recently, Jackie Smith caught up with them to discuss their latest album Painting of a Panic Attack, using their fame to help those in need, and what fans can expect from the upcoming shows.
You’re coming to Australia soon in support of your most recent album, Painting of a Panic Attack. What are you most looking forward to about your upcoming visit?
Looking forward to the shows, but we’re also in need of a bit of sunshine. Scottish winters aren’t great for our vitamin D levels.
What can fans expect from one of your live performances?
A mix of old and new songs. No covers. No pyrotechnics. A few beards.
What do you want people to take away from seeing you perform?
A t shirt, a poster and a mug if we have them.
What do you enjoy most about touring?
Getting to see so many different places is great and meeting people from those cities and towns can be really interesting. It’s always a great feeling to travel to the other side of the world and have people sing your songs back to you. The endless supply of hummus is pretty great too!
I noticed that the gig dates are quite close together. Will you get any time off while you’re here?
Probably not much time off, but a few of us are staying out in Melbourne for a few days after [the] shows finish. Gonna drive the Great Ocean Road, and maybe hit the Neighbours tour if we have time..
What makes Australian fans in particular so special?
Australian fans are very similar to Scottish fans and always come out in full voice. Guess it’s the energy they bring which makes them so special.
I wanted to talk to you briefly about your Painting of a Panic Attack, which has received critical acclaim, because I read that you influenced by your move to LA when writing the album. In that case, how much inspiration do you get from touring an album? Are you constantly writing new material or is that the time for you to enjoy the finished product and take a break (as it were)?
Scott [Hutchison] moved to LA shortly before we began writing the album. Several of the tracks were created remotely i.e Scott would send us ideas, we would add, then email back, or vice versa.
We also had a couple of writing sessions where we could all work together. So the album was written through various different process. We were lucky enough to have Aaron Dessner produce the record, so his input at the recording stage added an extra dimension too.
What’s the fans’ reaction to the album been like so far?
Response has been amazing, it’s a big relief when existing fans are open to the new stuff, but there’s hopefully enough of a departure to win some new fans too.
Does this affect how you approach the tour? Do you worry that you mightn’t be able to live up to expectation in a live setting, or even on a new record?
Yeah, it definitely makes us a lot more comfortable airing the new material live when we know that’s it’s been met positively on record. Quite soon after the record came out, the crowds were already singing along with the new stuff, which was really encouraging.
On your European and UK tour last year, you raised money for the Scottish Refugee Council. Can you tell me a bit about your decision to do that, and what it means to you to have received such great support?
Scotland generally has a positive and welcoming attitude towards refugees, and this is something we’re proud to share in. Particularly in the current political climate, it’s important for people to voice their support for this cause.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the industry (living or dead), who would it be and why?
GG Allin always looked like a good laugh.
What are some of the highlights and lowlights of your career thus far?
We recently played three sold out shows at the Glasgow Barrowland. It’s always amazing playing a hometown show but to play three nights in such an iconic venue was a real highlight!
A big lowlight for me would be missing out on Coachella a few years ago. We were stranded in a shite hotel out at Heathrow airport thanks to an Icelandic volcano.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
Don’t spend too much time practicing.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Recently discovered an Aussie singer called Alex Cameron, I’ve had his album Jumping the Shark on repeat over the last few weeks.
Beyond the tour, what else have you got planned for the rest of this year?
We have a short jaunt in the US / Canada , a show in LA supporting Band of Horses, who we’re big fans of. Various festivals in the U.K, and hopefully find some time to start writing the next album too.