Tuning up for Tour de Franz
WELCOME to the Franz Ferdinand Guide to Enjoying Your Day Job. Rule one: Hang out with your band members.
Rule two: Record your album in “sporadic” bursts in your own studios.
Rule three: Plan an Australian holiday. Correction, book an Australian festival tour.
The Scottish art- rockers are back on the airwaves, introducing their fourth record with the single Right Action.
These stylish purveyors of rock that makes you dance have impeccable timing, following up the release of the new record Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action in August with live shows, courtesy of November’s Harvest Festival.
Frontman Alex Kapranos and his bandmates have extensive experience at Australian festivals, having played Splendour in the Grass, Big Day Out and Falls.
Kapranos was mightily impressed when informed Franz would be sharing the Harvest bill with Massive Attack, Goldfrapp, Eels and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, among others.
“Crikey! There’s some pretty amazing bands there,” he said.
“I am very excited about seeing Neutral Milk Hotel. Their album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is one of my favourites of all time.
“Festivals in Australia are always the best. We’ve had so much fun when we’ve played them down there over the years. And it means we get to escape the stinking weather here.” The sound of Right Action and its companion album tracks harks back to the angular, energetic alt- rock that carved up indie discos when Franz dropped their self- titled debut record in 2004.
It’s an album that sounds as if it was fun and effortless to make rather than a laboured exercise to recapture former chart glories.
“I think you’re right, it is similar to the fi rst record because it has the same kind of energy about it,” Kapranos said.
“We really enjoyed making it. In fact, of all the records we have made, I enjoyed making this one the most, by far. I don’t know exactly why but we were getting on really well. Before we even started writing songs, we were hanging out and enjoying each other’s company.”
The initial recording sessions were held mostly at bandmate Nick McCarthy’s Sausage Studios, giving the band the time and freedom they needed to create.
Maintaining artistic rather than offi ce hours gave the band, including bassist Bob Hardy and drummer Paul Thomson, the breathing space to evaluate their works in progress and keep enthusiasm on high.
“One thing that made a big difference is we recorded it in short, sporadic bursts. We would go in for a week or, at the absolute max, two weeks and then go back and do some shows or some more writing,” Kapranos said.
“We would only work on three or four songs at a time and only do a few takes. That made it feel like we were working on a set of EPs.”
The band, who exploded into the mainstream with their quirky tempo shifts and unconventional pop song arrangements on Take Me Out, This Fire and The Dark of the Matinee, wanted to reclaim their “quirky and odd” personality for their fourth record.
“Bob and I were talking about that. We hadn’t seen each other much and when we met up in Orkney and we were talking about what kind of record we wanted to make, you end up looking back at when you started,” Kapranos said.
“We were a weird bunch, odd and quirky and we still don’t feel like we fi t in any scene or a particular genre. We agreed that it is a great thing and we shouldn’t feel self- conscious about it. You should let your quirk run free.”
Right Action is out now. Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action will be released on August 23
ON SONG: Franz Ferdinand band members Nicholas McCarthy, Alex Kapranos and Paul Thomson hold a picture of bassist Robert Hardy.