“We weren’t actually named after him – we got the idea from a racehorse.”
Referring to the Archduke of Austria, it’s quite a surprise to hear that the Scottish indie rockers Franz Ferdinand didn’t take their name from the illustrious figure.
“It was just a coincidence, but once you’re up and running, people just seem to accept whatever name you have. There are some really horrible band names around. They’re just dreadful.”
Speaking to bassist Bob Hardy, the band is looking forward to returning to our shores for three headline shows – despite the cancellation of Harvest Festival due to poor ticket sales, which saw their chances of “escaping UK weather” diminish.
“We really wanted to come back,” Hardy said. “We have fans who were talking to us on Twitter telling us they were really disappointed when the festival was cancelled – and we were too. We were looking forward to it all year. It’s a real treat to be able to come to Australia. It’d be terrible if we didn’t get to play this album down there, so we did everything we could to come down and do some of our own shows.”
Touring their new record Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, Hardy said the album feels like a “fresh start”.
“This new record – it’s like a new kind of enjoyment. We took a big break before we made this one. We got quite exhausted at the end of the last album with touring. So this feels like a refreshing spark of energy.”
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“The title Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action [taken from the lyrics on the opening track ‘Right Action’] came right at the end. We were going through all the lyrics and it jumped out as something appropriate. It summed up how positive we were feeling as a band, and also about the album. For a while we thought about calling it ‘Evil Eye’, but that’s really not quite as positive!”
The fourth album from the band shows Franz Ferdinand venturing into new territory whilst managing to maintain their defining indie rock sound.
“My favourite song to play live would have to be ‘Stand On The Horizon’. It’s kind of like two halves of a recording, where the second half is almost like a disco remix,” Hardy said. “We worked with Todd Terje (a Norwegian dance producer) on it, and it’s the first time strings appear on a Franz Ferdinand record, which is exciting.”
The band also put some of their energy to good use, having recently released a series of remixes of their track ‘Evil Eye’ in celebration of their LP, which features a version from French electronic artist Alan Braxe.
“It’s always fun to get back someone else’s idea of what they see in your music,” Hardy said. “We had a good idea of who we really wanted to approach, so it’s something that we were always keen on pursuing. Luckily the label was really into it too.”
Hardy also talked about the album’s influences, saying musical inspiration “is what you pick up over a lifetime”.
“I don’t think you can pick specific artists or recordings and say, ‘Oh this influenced this part of the recording’,” Hardy said. “It’s everything you grow up listening to that builds you as a musician and that comes out in what you make.”“It’s everything you grow up listening to that builds you as a musician and that comes out in what you make.”
“We’re all really big music fans and have been avid collectors of music since we were teenagers, maybe even before. Your influences always begin with what your parents listened to. My dad was really into artists like The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Leonard Cohen, and The Everly Brothers. When I was about 11 or 12, I dabbled in a little bit of early Queen; I really got into them. Then in my teens I went Nirvana and all that grungy stuff.”
Hardy also took the time to talk about one of his favourite musical possessions – the record A Child’s Guide To Good And Evil: Volume 3 by psychedelic stars The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.
“When I was a teenager I used to listen to these two comedians, Lee & Herring. On their radio show one time they mentioned this record and I decided to check it out,” Hardy said. “It was incredibly difficult to find, and it became this legendary record between my friends. A lot of the time it was like, ‘Oh, imagine if you found this record’ – then I went into a shop in West Yorkshire and they had it. It was 25 pounds. When you’re 15, 25 quid is a lot of money. But I managed to get the money together and bought it, and I still have it today. I definitely got my money’s worth.”
The Glasgow four-piece will tour the country in November. Australian audiences can expect “the greatest rock and roll show they’ve ever seen” with a little something for everybody.
“We’ll definitely be playing a lot of stuff from the new record, but then some deeper tracks from previous records as well as our singles – and maybe even the odd surprise thrown in.”
Franz Ferdinand Australian Tour 2013
TICKETS ON SALE: Thursday 3 October, 9:00am (local time)
THURSDAY 14 NOVEMBER – MELBOURNE, THE FORUM – 18+
FRIDAY 15 NOVEMBER – SYDNEY, THE METRO – Licensed All Ages
SUNDAY 17 NOVEMBER – BRISBANE, THE TIVOLI – 18+