Tuesday 20 February 2018

Q&A: Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison

On getting into bed with a major, going slightly mad on tour and why it's better not to be hyped to death

Frightened Rabbit
Frightened Rabbit
Ed Power

Ed Power

Frightened Rabbit are about to sign a major label record deal. Isn't that a bit like booking a berth on the Titanic AFTER it's hit the iceberg?

Maybe so, maybe so. We've worked on an independent for years. I guess it felt time to change. We are going in the opposite direction to a lot of people. But it feels like a positive move for us -- a natural step at this point.

For your latest album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, you 'did a Bon Iver', relocating to a fishing village in the far-flung depths of Scotland. Felt the call of the wild, did we?

Yeah, it was very much off the beaten track. Quite difficult to get to. I don't have a car and I was taking buses. Once you were there, just upping sticks and leaving wasn't an option. It was definitely the right thing for me. I was off the back of a massive tour and feeling exhausted. The main idea was to get some physical health back. The songs started coming after that.

Apparently, you were cut off from the internet for literally weeks. ZOMG! as the kids might say.

There wasn't any internet, no. I think you have to go 'cold turkey' to get off the web. It's addictive. You turn to it when there's nothing else to do. Not having it makes me really productive. I get a lot more done. That would be the case for the entire world, I would think. If certain websites didn't exist, we'd all be a lot more productive. I think I'll have to do something like that again. Otherwise there might not be any more Frightened Rabbit records.

Coming off a killer tour, you probably didn't have a lot of 'normal' things to write about.

Exactly... all I had to write about was touring. I wanted to write about it in a way that wasn't necessarily obvious. There is a slight tinge of madness on the record. That's a reflection of what you go through on the road -- that sense of being isolated despite being surrounded by people all the time. It's a strange place to be.

You're recently returned from a marathon slog around the US. Did you find yourself going insane in Boise, Idaho?

Not so far... I've managed to keep it together. I'm not really prone to major freak-outs. I certainly am prone to retreating into myself. That happens a lot on tour. I can spend three days communicating with absolutely nobody. Actually, that's what keeps you sane. You can't speak to everyone all the time. You need to readjust yourself and almost reconfigure your brain a little bit.

Didn't Frightened Rabbit once have a rule -- 'no talking on the tour bus'?

It wasn't really a rule. We just didn't speak. It helped us get along. The thing is, we've also had people coming along on tour -- engineers and tour managers -- who do enjoy talking. We find that quite annoying to be honest. We're perfectly happy with that rule. It's really nice not to feel you have to say anything at all.

You've had an ideal career trajectory in that you've been allowed to grow at your own pace and have avoided the classic British case of death by hype.

Yes, and that's fine. The only hard part is when you see your peers, or other bands in general, getting all that hype. You know you're better off without it. At the same time, part of you wants it. What you have to remember, I suppose, is that it's here today, gone tomorrow.

The Winter of Mixed Drinks is out now. Frightened Rabbit play Academy Dublin, December 9

Irish Independent

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