Frightened Rabbit has been topping critics' lists of the year with their latest, The Winter of Mixed Drinks. The new set has more electronic influences and sounds like a happier departure from their folksy sophomore release, Midnight Organ Flight.
Now on the biggest stateside tour of their career (and making a stop at the House of Blues in Anaheim tonight), lead singer and songwriter Scott Hutchison gives OC Weekly his thoughts about California vs. Scotland, being compared to Adam Duritz of Counting Crows and his evolution as a songwriter.
On weather and art: It's been nice to see sunshine [in California]; it's very different from Scotland, and weather does affect the way you make music. Scotland is an indoor country, and music and art is an indoor activity. There's an effect on temperament; people say there's a darker side to the Scottish, a pessimism.
On being the 'next big thing': People have been telling us that for years, so I tend to ignore it. Our progress and how we've grown has felt quite natural and organic. Our main progress has been because of touring relentlessly. It's still the most effective way of connecting with people.
We're a five piece now, and this is our second tour with a tour bus. Our fanbase has changed and broadened a lot. Initially our following was cult thing; lately it's been fun to see shows where all ages come.
On leaving autobiographical songs behind, being happier and writing about the world in general: Well, thanks god I haven't been in a break up, so I can't write about that anymore! Part of that is there's always hope; there's a light at the end of the tunnel, a twist to the story.
The scope (for storytelling in songs) does widen; that first album you can [write about yourself] because you're unaware of having audience. Then your life changes; you're touring. And being in a band isn't interesting, so you look elsewhere for meaning and life. No one wants to hear about you drinking every night! (laughs)
On playing music for a living, odd jobs and gratitude: Music is my living; I'm really grateful that this is my job. I have a roof over my head without working at a bar or a clothes shop. I worked in Urban Outfitters in Scotland (and yes, there was a lot of hipster clothing there too!). I worked in a liquor (fine wine/beer) store, an art gallery--they were never terrible jobs, but they definitely encouraged me to achieve [and focus on the music].
On recording vs. touring: Recording is where I feel happy; touring is a byproduct. It's not an unwelcome byproduct, but it's not why I started to do. It's tiring and stressful. There will come a day when all I have to do is record; for now I still enjoy going new places and seeing people, so it's OK.
On his writing process: It hasn't changed for each one. Last time I went to a small village in Scotland and structured my day around writing. I'd go for a walk, get an idea, write, eat lunch, then write again for a few hours. It's an effect that I wanted to get into. It's a life I could get a handle on. I'd just sit with a guitar and mumble syllables til I get it right.
On being compared to the Counting Crows' singer, Adam Duritz: I guess I don't hate it as much as...I'm not really a fan of that band. It's OK--he's a successful artist; I just don't like them that much.