Monday, March 9, 2009

Interview with Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand

Here is the full text of the recent interview with Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, carried in the Limerick Leader print edition of Saturday, February 28

The Scottish rockers have let their sound evolve at its own pace for the third album, Alex Kapranos tells Alan Owens

THERE is an unmistakable air to the lead single from Franz Ferdinand's new album, but there is something different about it too.
There in spades is that thumping dance-floor, jaunty beat that so imbued their Mercury Award-winning debut, but Ulysses boasts new variables: swirling prog-rock/synth sounds that kick in before those familiar, clanging guitars.

"I found a new way," sings lead singer Alex Kapranos in the lead track to Tonight: Franz Ferdinand. The Scottish rockers might not have reinvented the wheel, but there is sufficient development on this album to mark it as an improvement on troubled second effort, 'You Could Have It So Much Better'.

"I think Ulysses is a good indicator of what the album is like, because there is a few different sounds and surprises to it that maybe weren't on the other records, but it is still us. I think our band has a quite distinct character and we wouldn't ever want to lose that," explains Kapranos, speaking to the Limerick Leader.

Of the album, songs such as Twilight Omens, No You Girls and the initially balladesque Bite Hard, containing the lyric "You don't know the pseudonym I assume / for you," leap out at the listener.

Kapranos admits that more time was taken on this offering than its less illustrious predecessor.

"Definitely. When we made the second record, we were a bit frustrated. When we made the first record, we had all these ideas that we hadn't properly explored, bits of songs that hadn't been used."

We ended up touring for so long that we were really impatient, we just wanted to get in to record and so we did - I'm not going to regret it, it is the way we were at the time and we were happy to get it done."

The well spoken Scot refutes, however, any suggestion that album number two was rushed, or indeed difficult.

"There was definitely a difference in perception because the first album was a surprise, because nothing else really sounded like that at the time. Of course there is not going to be as much shock when the same band does another record."

I think each album is as good as each other, but the second album didn't have the surprise that the first did. I don't even know if it was rushed. In the 60s they used to make a record a week, and that was extravagant. No, I think it is unfair to say it was rushed, I think it is unfair to say it was difficult."

Nonetheless, this time around the band had a new perspective, seeking to let the album evolve in its own time, playing smaller gigs to try out the developing material, and recording in an old town hall in Govan, on Glasgow's outskirts.

"We started off using it as a rehearsal room, then we got some recording gear in and before we knew it, it was kind of a studio. We went down to a real studio in London and did some recording; while it sounded pristine and perfect, it didn't have some of the quirkiness and character that this building had in Glasgow, so we recorded it there.

"We had no idea what this record was going to be like, and decided to just wait and see. There was a weird way we went about writing it, by playing little gigs. You are so close to the crowd and close to each other on stage - you are really aware and you play tighter and react to the other musicians some of the songs would survive, some would die, and a lot would change as well."

The small gig idea has transferred to these shores, as, thankfully for us, Franz Ferdinand are to kick off their European tour in Dolan's Warehouse this Saturday night.

"It was a conscious decision, because we've not played in Limerick before, so it will be great to get down there," says Alex. "A lot of our crew are from Ireland and we thought we had to play somewhere other than just Dublin this time, so we are. We heard the crowd in Limerick are up for it as well, so I think it is going to be a good gig."

Franz Ferdinand play Dolan's Warehouse this Saturday night.

No comments: