How Heads Roll Off:
An Interview with Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit pic #1
Frightened Rabbit. Photo courtesy of Fat Cat Records.
Frightened Rabbit is nothing if not sincere. The band members make music (written almost exclusively by lead singer Scott Hutchison) that rips on emotion, with lyrics like a helmet-less motorcycle ride headed straight for a brick wall covered with dying ivy (that used to smell like daisies). "I might not want you back but I want to kill him," "I am armed with the past and a will and a brick," and "Twist and whisper the wrong name / I don't care and nor do my ears / I need human heat," are but a small representation of what makes The Midnight Organ Fight, Frightened Rabbit's second release, easily one of the best records I've heard in years.
It's an album that could be called thematic. The theme? A broken relationship. The players? A boy (Scott's the boy) and a girl (Scott's ex-girl is the girl). It's the classic breakup story, really, one that touches a chord with probably all of his listeners. Almost all of the songs (every one but one) are about this relationship in some way or another, and every song is memorable.
This sometimes two-man, sometimes four-man band from Glasgow was supposed to play a show in Houston a while back, but unfortunately (due to what is officially being reported as "van trouble") had to cancel. After traveling roughly the equivalent distance I assume it is from here to the moon, however, I finally had a chance to sit down with Frightened Rabbit before their show at the Black Cat in Washington D.C.

SCR: I imagine you get sick of interviewers asking you the same questions over and over, mostly because I assume almost all of the questions everyone asks have something to do with the girl that you sing about in almost every song off the new record. So I apologize in advance for my redundancy.
Scott Hutchison: Not at all. I enjoy giving interviews, strange as it seems. And the questions, regardless of how redundant they are, actually help me make sense of some of the things I may not have thought of before.
phew. Well, in that case, let's do this. What's up with the girl? She's a bitch, right?
[laughing] Oh, no. We're friends. She's been to a few of our shows, actually.
Really? I bet she was super pissed when she heard you sing some of those lyrics. They are incredibly abrasive at times. I mean, you don't really want to kill the guy she cheated on you with, right?
Of course not. I wrote that song ["Good Arms vs. Bad Arms"] at a time when I just needed to feel better. And it worked. I use my songs to help get me through the emotions that inevitably come through when something like this happens. But I don't blame the guy for what he did -- I mean, he and I basically wanted the same thing, to be with this girl.
Wow. How amazingly mature of you. When I first read some of the stuff on this record, I was like, "oh, my god, that's exactly how I've felt about girl A, girl B, etc."
I get that a lot. People come up to me all the time, telling me stories about their past relationships and about how these songs have helped them. It means a lot, and I really had no idea that they would touch people in these ways.
Frightened Rabbit record cover

You're the modern leper, yes?
Yes. That's the song that really brought this record together. It's basically the theme of the entire thing. The lyrics are the most personal out of any of my songs, and I think it's the song closest to my heart. She and I were together for seven and a half years, and I felt like a leper for many of those. It's a sad thing to say, looking back, but it's true.
Where does the name Frightened Rabbit come from?
When I was a kid I used to visit my aunt's house all the time, and all these other kids were there, running around, chasing each other, and all I ever really wanted to do was sit in the corner and not talk to any of them. Kind of how a rabbit reacts when he sees someone he can't trust. Frightened.
And the name of the record, Midnight Organ Fight? What does it mean?
It's about, you know, doin' it.
Frightened Rabbit pic #2
Frightened Rabbit. Photo by Dave Gourley.
Oh, right. I had this whole story in mind that it was about some huge fight between you and your brother [FR drummer Grant Hutchison], you guys throwing punches at each other because one of you was jealous of the other's organ skills. I'm an idiot...
So how do the crowds in America differ from the ones in Europe?
They're much bigger here. We've never sold out anywhere in Europe other than Glasgow, and we're selling out everywhere here. I don't know how to explain it.
[laughing] You might be right. They've been much nicer to us than NME. We haven't even been mentioned in NME, but we've been very lucky to have gotten positive reviews from the people at Pitchfork.
Yeah, those dudes can almost single-handedly ruin an artist's career.
I know. Or make your career. Ask the Ting Tings.
Or the Arctic Monkeys.
So, any plans for a third record? Are you writing? Any new songs we can expect tonight?
I'm not writing anything at the moment. I don't write every day; I don't see the point. I need something to inspire me, some kind of emotional happening that makes its way organically into my mind. If I write every day, the music would suffer. I also make it a point to not write on the road, and we've been on the road forever.
Well, I guess it's time for the show. Thanks again for the interview. Please come back to Houston on your next trip to the states?
Promise. END