On top of getting to see Franz Ferdinand at the best small festival of Switzerland last Saturday (read here our concert review) we were as well lucky enough to get to talk to the band. The afternoon, before the concert we got to spend some time with Paul Thomson, funding member, drummer and back up vocals of Franz Ferdinand.
During our chat we talked about their new album and how the band needed a break before starting to write the new album released just last Monday, we debated about Spotify and the recent feud started by Thom Yorke against it and obviously, as usual, we talked about music and played our Indie Rock Weekly Survival Kit with him (stay with us as of Monday to discover it!).
Before jumping into the interview we need to say thank you to a couple of people: Eliane Weber from Musik Vertrieb, Aline Mean from the festival Press Office and the full For Noise Festival staff, keep on rocking in the woods guys! Last but not least, obviously, huge thanks to Paul Thomson, for his patience to answer our questions while he was enjoying his well deserved Swiss chocolate dessert
The Liberation: let’s start by talking a bit about the new album, we went on the internet to listen to it and we loved it!
- Paul: That’s allowed (he laughs) It was out on Monday, we promote that, it’s a good thing, you might have heard on streaming, people get to hear the songs, we are playing festivals so its good for people to start to get to know the new songs
The Liberation: it looks like you took a step back vs. the third album and went back to the sounds and rhythms of the first two records, what do you think?
- Paul: No, not at all, it really annoys me when people say that! (laughs). We are not a nostalgia band we have always tried to move forward and progress, it’s a bit depressing when people tells me that our new record sounds like the first ones because we are trying to do the opposite. I guess that whenever the four of us get together in a room the character of the band comes out, we have a pretty strong sonic identity, it will always gonna sound like us. It’s like the first one because it’s all good tunes, with the third one we have tried to do something different. When starting a new record a good thing to do is to look back at the previous albums and try to do the opposite.
The Liberation: were all the songs written recently or there were songs written from previous sessions?
- Paul: everything is new, it was all written just before into the recording studio, it’s a lot less frustrating this way, because you know what you have to do, most of the songs were actually recorded at Alex’s home and that was also good
The Liberation: how does your writing/recording process works? Do you have any routine?
- Paul: The second album was recorded in Alex’s house as well but that was very different because it was recorded so quickly after the first one, we didn’t want to stop. It was almost written as a panic statement; the third one was built in the recording studio, it was a quite stressful period to make that record. With this one we got more focused, it’s all trial and error in the end you know (smiles)?
The Liberation: your debut album turns 10 next year, how did life changed for you vs. 10 years ago?
- Paul: Personally speaking it changed massively because up until that point I didn’t have any steady job, I didn’t have any money I had not travelled anywhere, so my life completely changed since then. Now I have a stable income and a house, while before I was living day to day, so everything completely changed. This is why actually we wanted to take a break to try to equate ourselves to what our lives have become because it was completely changed versus before.
The Liberation: did anything changed within the band in the last 10 years?
- Paul: You need a break to gather some life experience in order to have something to write about and the first record was almost a thing inspired by things that had happened in the previous 32 years, and the 2nd record was a lot of ideas and experiences from that period also, it were songs from before we recorded the first record while this one is completely fresh, we took a little bit of a break to kind of re-open our friendship, just actually live some real life to have something to write about
The Liberation: Does it happen to you to listen to radio and think: “We influenced these guys! They sound like Franz Ferdinand!?”
- Paul: I like hearing music from people that have completely different backgrounds more that hearing another guitar band singing like Franz Ferdinand
The Liberation: Do you still do on the stage that trick of all the band members coming to drum on your kit at the end of concerts?
- Paul: yes, why? (he asks with a smile)
The Liberation: I’m asking because recently I’ve seen Citizens and The Vaccines doing something similar
- Paul: Yeah, everybody started doing that! (laughs) We didn’t know it!
The Liberation: Did you invented it?
- Paul: We had never seen it happening before we just thought it was a good idea and a quite exciting thing to do as well, you know for a while we were doing it at the front of the stage as well, setting up a drumming kit standing in a line and playing that was quite fun as well, but yeah, now everybody started doing that! (laughs)
The Liberation: Do you have time to discover new music?
- Paul: Yes, thanks to Spotify (big smile)
The Liberation: what do you think of the recent feud between Thom Yorke and Spotify?
- Paul: The thingwith Thom Yorke is that he made most of his money from when CDs costed 15£ so it’s easy for him. I mean, he’s doing a noble thing because he’s standing up for younger bands but as a music listener I use Spotify as everybody else does, but I’m sort of in a privileged position because we actually still make a little bit of money from records sales, whether if I was in a smaller band I would probably feel differently about it. It’s definitely a good idea the alternative is that people get your music for free and you get nothing and we are trying to work it out logistically so that you get more. We are still in the teasing stage I think but hopefully they will improve it in a way where artists make more money!