INTERVIEW: Franz Ferdinand
Franz Ferdinand have been touring the globe this year in support of their latest album, “Always Ascending”, and the album title seems to fit the band’s presence. With every release, they seem to be more and more acclaimed, and this one is no different. Part of that world tour schedule includes a stop at the Grant Park Stage of Lollapalooza on Thursday. We talked to frontman Alex Kapranos and keyboardist Julian Corrie about the album and the festival. Check it out here:
B&E: Congratulations on the success of “Always Ascending”! When you were making the album, what was the overall feel that you were trying to create?
AK: We’ve always had a love for dance music, but played with the energy of a live band. Humans playing like sequencers.
JC: We wanted to make a songbook record, a collection of songs that sound great no matter the context, and that work individually and as a coherent body of work. We wanted people to listen to the whole thing and say “damn that was great, let’s put it on again”. We also wanted it to be uplifiting, and aim for the dancefloor more explicity than other Franz records. Phillipe Zdar was the best person to realise this vision, his energy and good vibes are second to none, and you can hear that throughout the record. It was recorded live in six days after months of rehearsal, and I think we captured that sound of four people having a blast.
B&E: This is the first album with this current lineup. Do you think the shakeup affected the sound of the album?
JC: I guess it did, in lots of ways. I was keen when I joined the band to be myself and not try to sound like anybody else. There are sounds that I like and gravitate towards that I think made it on to this album, I’m singing on it as well. But of course the DNA of Franz Ferdinand is there. And I think overall it’s the sound of us all getting to know each other and enjoying playing together.
AK: It felt that the last LP was a good bookend for the end of the first decade, so it was the perfect time to invite new people to be part of the sound. The aim was to retain our identity, but use it to create a different sound.
B&E: Were there any specific artists that influenced the sound or songwriting on the album?
JC: Cassius, Philippe’s dance music project, we love the sound of their records which is why we asked him to work with us. It’s hard to name any particular influences though, loads of stuff went in there, we were mostly trying to do something different.
AK: Yes, when you make an LP, there are so many influences that are drawn upon, it seems unfair to put emphasis on a few.
B&E: What is your favorite track out of this collection of songs?
AK: There are two extremes to the record. Songs like “Glimpse Of Love” and “Always Ascending” are extremely uplifting and invigorating, while songs like “The Academy Award” and “Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow” are much more delicate and contemplative. It depends what mood I’m in, but I think generally I prefer the latter. The mood in the studio when we recorded “Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow” was so electric.
JC: My personal favourite is probably “Lazy Boy.” I really enjoyed the process of working on that. It’s in a weird time signature so it caused a bit of brainache, but I remember when we nailed it, it was so exciting.
B&E: You guys are on a long tour, including Lollapalooza. What do you look forward to when playing a festival like this?
AK: I like getting to check out and hang out with the other bands on the bill. I remember last time we played here it was immediately after a huge storm and the atmosphere was astounding!
JC: It’s great to be back at Lollapalooza, I’m looking forward to the crowd response to the new songs, they’ve been going down a storm on tour. I think we’re playing really well at the moment. Can’t wait!
B&E: Do you prefer playing festivals, or more intimate club/theater shows?
JC: They both have good things about them, I like being on a festival site and soaking up the atmosphere, seeing other bands that you’re pals with or that you’ve wanted to see for a while, or being blown away by a band you’ve not heard before. Club shows are great as you can go deeper on the setlist and play for a bit longer.
AK: Yeah, there’s a different energy to each kind of show. Fortunately we get to do both in Chicago.
B&E: After this extensive run of tour dates, what’s next for the band?
AK: We finish at the end of December. I’ve decided I’m going to go home for Christmas to see my family, especially my young nieces, then I’m going to get the hell out of winter in Scotland to start writing. If anyone has any suggestions, please pass them on to me at my Twitter – @alkapranos!
JC: I’m going to have a well deserved cup of tea, then we’ll probably start thinking about the next record!
B&E: Finally, if you could collaborate with any artist on the Lollapalooza lineup, who would you pick?
AK: I haven’t checked out who’s playing yet. I prefer surprises to planning.
JC: Probably Bruno Mars or St Vincent. Maybe both? Imagine that.
You can catch Franz Ferdinand Thursday at 6:45 on the Grant Park Stage at Lollapalooza.