Frightened Rabbit: Keeping the band together

Frontman Scott Hutchinson on how to keep inter-band relations happy and harmonious.
Frightened Rabbit © Atlantic Records
By Al Horner

“I guess being in a band is kinda like a marriage,” laughs Scott Hutchinson, frontman to Caledonian giants Frightened Rabbit. This summer marks the hirsute singer’s tenth year of heartstring-tugging at the helm of the five-piece, whose confessional, guitar-led nocturnes have found their way onto prime-time dramas like One Tree Hill, Grey’s Anatomy and 90210 in the US, catapulting them into arenas and onto magazine covers.

It’s a milestone, he says, he’ll be celebrating over a quiet drink alone. “It’s actually been only four of five years of us as a proper band,” he says. “Before that, when this started, it was just me, really. It’ll be a bit of a lonely party.”

But in an era where most bands seem to roar into view on a wave of hype only to disappear two albums later, Frightened Rabbit are going the distance. “Aye, we’ll be doing this till f**king death do us part!” he chuckles again.

With a hotly-awaited Red Bull Sound Select show at Los Angeles’ famous House Of Blues just days away (July 27), we caught up with Hutchinson for the inside track on keeping that marriage alive…

Frightened Rabbit © Atlantic Records

Give each other space

Or, as Hutchinson puts it rather more bluntly: “You need to know when to shut the f**k up and stop bloody nattering. It sounds really trivial but one of the reasons we’ve been able to survive without killing one another is that in the van, we don’t talk to one another. You need to let each other have their own headspace. It’s really important. We’d have definitely bashed each other’s heads in by now otherwise.”

Be a swinger, baby

When it comes to bands, monogamy is overrated, says Hutchinson. “I’ve done a fair few duets and collaborations with other acts and artists across the years. It’s a really good way to broaden your horizons, pick up new ideas and keep creative. It’s certainly helped keep Frightened Rabbit fresh. So yeah, you could say I’ve cheated a few times. I’m not endorsing cheating on your actual partner, though, by the way.”

Perseverance pays off

“We’ve had obstacles, of course we have,” says the frontman, who was made to wait until the release of second album Midnight Organ Fight in 2006 to be noticed by critics. “But being a bit more of a slow-burn success has done wonders for us. You look at bands like Death Cab For Cutie and Biffy Clyro and you see it doesn’t need to all happen for you straight away. Ten years ago I wasn’t ready for stardom. I wasn’t old enough or wise enough to deal with everything that comes with attention a decade ago.”

Keep on keepin’ on

“If I could go back in time and give our younger selves one piece of advice, it’d be to sit tight, keep doing what you’re doing and not to worry about anything else,” says Hutchinson. “Even now, that’s all we can do as a band. We’ve got a busy summer of festivals planned, playing to audiences who maybe won’t have heard of us. It’ll be a challenge, but a good one. You can start worrying how you’re going to go down or you can just get up there onstage, be yourselves and do what you do.”

Frightened Rabbit play Red Bull Sound Select presents Los Angeles alongside rising stars Gothic Tropic, Tapioca and the Flea and Hott MT on July 27.

More about Frightened Rabbit here.

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