Frightened Rabbit Interview
Buying and creating records on vinyl, as well as spending time within the sanctions of your independent record store is a rapidly dying art, but amidst the impetuous flow of mp3s and FLACs and wavs and ACCs, there remains a flickering flame determined to keep the stuttering institution alive, bringing forth a combination of live performance and the irresistible fortuity of buying your very own, legit record (which I preceded to do for the very first time from Avalanche, birdengine six track 12” vinyl EP, tasty). This shining beacon of belief and grandeur is, of course, Record Store Day.
I chose to celebrate my Record Store Day within the vivacious confines of Avalanche Record Store in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket on a stickily hot day, to bask in the presence of indie-rock royalty, FRIGHTENED RABBIT. After a cramped and sweaty, but utterly brilliant performance, I was lucky enough to speak to Scott and the boys about their own personal feelings about RSD, charity appeals and how rubbered they’re going to be by the end of the night.
Welcome to Edinburgh on this beautiful spring afternoon to celebrate International Record Store Day. What does this day represent to you?
Billy: It represents just another day working for us, with a few gigs, although todays means that we are releasing a limited edition split-cassette with The Twilight Sad; one side’s our old demos and the other side’s their old demos, it means a lot to us. It’s nice to be in Edinburgh too I guess, you can see the castle from here, it’s a beautiful city. It’s quite hard today for us, we did Edinburgh this morning and Glasgow in the afternoon so it’s kinda a bit pitch and run, it’s alright though.
Scott: For me, it’s places like Avalanche that I was most proud to see my records on the shelves of, because it meant something to me from before I was properly in a band, to now, just being a record buyer and a music lover which I still am. But places like this, which I have always thought were the coolest places on earth, it was amazing when I finally got my record in there and I think they still play an essential role, I’ve been to cities where nobody would ever have heard of us if it wasn’t for this one really enthusiastic guy who works in a wee record store telling all his customers about Frightened Rabbit.
Have you ever celebrated it before? What did you do?
Billy: I think we did once when we were in Brighton, we were all sat down at the FatCat office and if I’m right, we played in the tiniest little bar, half the size of the stage we just played on, with really low ceilings and it had all these shoes hanging from the roof. We actually played with The Twilight Sad, that must’ve been about four years ago we celebrated RSD last…
Are you off anywhere to party after this, soak up a bit of the spirit of RSD?
Billy: Yeah, we’re playing Mono this afternoon in Glasgow, and after that, it’s my girlfriend’s little brother’s birthday today so he’s having a party tonight, I’ve got a bottle of absinthe in my bag for everyone… we’re gonna get pretty smashed tonight.
Are you releasing anything on vinyl for RSD?
Billy: Just the cassette tape we’re releasing, 400 copies in the UK, 700 in the US. No vinyl records, just the cassettes.
What would you like to say to all those greedy, treacherous Record Stores who haven’t been respecting the rules and have spent all last week pawning off RSD merchandise for a massive profit on ebay?
Grant: Ehhhhh…. Stop it! It’s kinda ridiculous, the whole point of it is to promote independent record stores that are struggling, but because of these chain stores and, obviously downloads and stuff as well… but yeah, that’s not good at al it’s going against the whole ethos of the day, it’s supposed to be a celebration of independent record stores so yeah, fuck off! Fuck those guys!
You have donated a track to the Japanese Red Cross Tsunami Appeal album “Songs for the Land of the Rising Sun”, how did your involvement with this cause transpire?
Grant: It’s been organized by this guy Paul, who runs a night called ‘Pelmet Nites’, he used to do it in Dundee and he booked us years ago, he’s been a fan of ours for a lot longer than most people. He just put it together and he just asked us if we would send him a track, so we did. It’s always good to do as much as you can for charity and for us to donate a song is nothing compared to what a lot of other people have done. If it makes any difference to what’s happened, then all the better.
Did you choose that song specifically or was it just at random?
Scott: It wasn’t at random it was really only because it wasn’t on any other records, and I’d recorded it at home, so I felt like it would be nice to have something on there that not everyone had heard before. So that was really the reason, it was the only thing I had lying about the house!
Who is your favourite other artist on the album?
Scott: Endor. I love Endor, I’ve loved them for years. One of the most underrated Glasgow bands. I haven’t got my copy of the record yet actually, I need to go get one. I think they did a launch night… but yeah, I’m definitely going to buy at least ten!
Why is the Rabbit Frightened?
Scott: I’ll tell you why, it’s because he was afraid of children. I didn’t like other children when I was wee and I didn’t like talking to them. So that’s where the name came from, and that’s why I was frightened.
Any word on a fourth Frightened Rabbit album?
Scott: Yeah we’ve done quite a few songs, we’re still writing it but we’ve got a good chunk of it written and I’m happy with what we’ve come up with so far. So it’s on the way!
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