FRANZ FERDINAND bassist Bob Hardy definitely isn’t a man with a plan.
“I never think any more than two or three weeks into the future,” he says. “I was at art school when we started and joining a band was just like ticking a box for me, then we had some unexpected success. We were expecting to maybe sell 500 records ourselves at gigs. The first big moment was having a record company wanting to sign us, which felt insane and went much further than our ambitions did at the time. We’d just been playing parties for our friends; that was our reason to start a band. The Mercury Prize was a surreal moment but I was pretty drunk at the time, so I don’t remember thinking much about it.”
Almost ten years after their breakthrough single ‘Take Me Out’, the Scottish indie-rockers will hit our shores with new material in tow.
“Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action came out in August,” he says. “So we’ll be playing a wide selection from that, mixed in with material from the previous three albums. We’ve been playing the new songs since the beginning of August at festivals and we did a small US tour last month. We’ve enjoyed playing them and they fit into the set well. It’s nice to have fresh material to inject into the set and they’ve been going down well, so we’re happy. It’s kind of weird, but whenever you’ve got a new song, it’s almost like it’s not real until you’ve played it at least once, and then every time after that it feels like a proper Franz Ferdinand song. The first time is always a little bit odd, but we’ve played them a couple of dozen times now, so there aren’t nerves any more. To be honest, the new songs in the set are the highlights for us because they’re the ones which are freshest and we’ve played the least amount of times, and personally, they’re the ones I most look forward to.”
Recording of their latest album saw the quartet decamp to familiar territory in Sweden.
“For our first album, our producer Tore Johansson had a studio in Malmö which was really great,” he says. “This time around we were doing a few songs with Björn Yttling from Peter Björn and John, and it was a similar deal really. He has a studio in Stockholm which is incredible and we wanted to use it. On those occasions we were travelling for the producer more than the country, although one thing about Sweden particularly is that there are incredible amps and guitars and stuff. Because the exchange rate has been in their favour for so long and they have such a strong currency, over the years all the best gear in Europe slowly gets sucked up into Scandinavia because they can afford it, you know? They have amazing vintage amps, guitars and keyboards, so that’s one definite advantage.”
Previous album Tonight: Franz Ferdinand had hints of a more electronic sound, but Hardy maintains the heart of the band lies with guitars.
“There are synths on this album, used sparingly,” he says. “On our third album we used banks of synths in the studio. There’s a track called ‘Lucid Dreams’ at the end that goes into more of a dance direction, but on this record we’ve gone back to the guitars being the bedrock of all songs with synths added for flavouring. On the third album there were songs that came about because of certain synth sounds or a groove played on a synthesiser. We still play a broad selection of songs live from all our albums, so those elements will be there for sure. Our default mode going into writing always starts with guitars or possibly a piano.”
Ask Hardy what he’s most looking forward to about their Australian gigs and the answer is immediate.
“Sunshine is obviously a big draw,” he says. “I really like Australia. It’s got probably the best bits of Europe and America combined. The food’s excellent and the people are really nice. It’s just a different pace of life, I find. Everybody is up for a party and it’s generally a great atmosphere.”
FRANZ FERDINAND PLAY THE TIVOLI NOV 17.