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Frightened Rabbit are playing their inaugural 930 Club show tonight, so we’re rerunning this interview we did with them in April.

all words: Andy Hess

From being stuck in London with a grounded flight due to the smoke monster from Lost that was hovering over Iceland (apparently it was a volcano, but I’m not convinced) to driving cross country from Los Angeles to catch up with their tour dates, it’s been a long couple of weeks for Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit. But the good thing is that they’ve made it to the States and you’ll be able to catch them tonight at The Black Cat — if you have tickets. I caught up with Grant Hutchison, drummer and brother of singer Scott on their day off between shows. We talked about their current tour, the new record and how the band’s audience has grown over the past couple of years.

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I know you guys had to cancel a few dates due volcano eruption in Iceland. Are you glad to be finally hitting the road?

Grant Hutchison: It’s been pretty tiring for the first few days. I just got up an hour ago. It kept us in London for a few days and we ended up having to cancel a few dates and Coachella. For a moment we thought we might have to cancel the tour, but we made it over here so that’s a good thing.

How’s the tour been so far?

GH: It’s been amazing. Little Rock was the first date. I didn’t really know what to expect since we’ve never been there. You don’t really know what you’re going to get in a situation like that. But it was a Friday night and everyone was inebriated so you know. Atlanta was the same way. It was great. Last night was in Chapel Hill and it was just brilliant.

You guys are playing a few dates with Maps and Atlases and Bad Veins. How did that happen? Are you guys fans of those bands?

GH: With Bad Veins, they toured with We Were Promised Jetpacks last year, who toured with us last year. They put in a good word for them. Good people make it a lot easier when you’re deciding what band to pick to open your shows. As for Maps and Atlases, they put themselves forward. They just joined us last night and I hadn’t heard them before. We were blown away.

When I last saw you guys in 2008 you were a four piece and the band is now has five members. How did Gordon (formerly of Make Model) originally get involved with the band? Why the extra addition?

GH: He’s played in a lot of bands in Glasgow. We kind of know him through that and playing with other bands in town. When we knew we wanted to expand, we knew Gordon was our choice. It would have been near impossible to gives these songs justice without him. When we finished the new record we knew that we had to get another member and it worked out. Like I was saying about the bands before it’s just as important if not more important that we can get along with them. It doesn’t really matter how bad or good they are at there instrument, though Gordon plays guitar and keyboards better than any of us, that you need to get along with them. If you don’t get along with them then there’s no point.

What’s the benefit of having the extra guy around in the studio and in the live setting?

GH: He wasn’t on the actual record, but even on those songs it gave them a new part. We always felt that there was something that was a little bit lacking in the songs even though it doesn’t come off that way on stage. Gordon was a fan of the band. And when he came into the band he brought some ideas on how we could make the songs better. It was just good to have another person to share ideas with and have that outside perspective.

It seems like the band is on a tipping point at least in the States and on the path to something bigger. Does it feel that way for you? Has the growth been noticeable?

GH: It’s been a nice natural growth through word of mouth instead of all the notice on one release. When you’re on tour you don’t notice what magazines are saying about you, but you do notice the amount of people in front of you. The way we always look at it is if your roommate goes to the show and tells his friends about the show then brings five people with him that’s a good thing. The release of The Midnight Organ Fight was the tipping point, but when you start playing places like The Metro in Chicago or Webster Hall in New York or The Fillmore in San Francisco you’re doing something. Whether or not that’s a tipping point, we’ve done our part. We’re happy with the way the band has grown. It hasn’t been through one record. It’s been through word of mouth and passionate fans.

Speaking of fans, I noticed you guys are on Twitter. How’s that experience been with the interaction of fans and breaking down that wall between the artist and fan?

GH: It’s great. With Facebook and MySpace as well. It’s brilliant. It wasn’t something we really wanted to get into at first, but it’s a really great tool to meet fans. But it’s not someone at the label. It’s not about self promotion. It’s us trying to be funny most of the time actually. It also helps out other bands if we say something about a certain band it gives them that exposure. It’s become a bit of an addiction. It’s fast becoming a neccessity.
Let’s talk about the new record a bit. Was there a lot of pressure in the process of making The Winter of Mixed Drinks after receiving all the positive press for the last record?

GH: With The Midnight Organ Fight there was little pressure and little time in the studio. This time around we were more aware of having an audience. With The Winter of Mixed Drinks we had more time to do it so we threw as much as we can in the studio and you can because of it.

I read somewhere that Scott mentioned the band was slowly working material from Sing The Greys off the setlists. Any particular reason other than you might be sick of playing those songs?

GH: [Laughs]. A lot of them we haven’t played for a long time and the two that were in there were to make set times longer more than anything. We would occasionally through in the two songs that are in there, but they wouldn’t generate the reaction that we wanted. We have a lot of people who are new the band and haven’t borrowed or had time to listen to the first record. It’s part of Frightened Rabbit’s history. For people who have been with us for the beginning though, it’s something that they can have and hold on to.

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For more Frightened Rabbit Coverage on BYT check out:

Frightened Rabbit are playing 930 CLUB TONIGHT with Plants & Animals

all photos: Danny North and Jannica Honey

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