IT has taken nine years, but the Borders’ most successful band is finally getting the chance to play in their home town.
Frightened Rabbit line up on the Victoria Halls stage on September 25 for the first time in support of new EP State Hospital (pictured top of page).
Although the band, formed by Scott Hutchison back in 2003, have been based in Glasgow for many years, it is incredible to think they have never entertained a home crowd.
Yet the gig – one of only four in the UK this autumn – is, as yet, not sold out.
But Scott is far from concerned about the prospect of a less than full Victoria Halls.
The frontman told TheSouthern: “I know what it’s like in the Borders, people tend to turn up to things on the day. I’m not too worried, I’m sure it will be a good night.
“We had a covers band who played in Selkirk, but we never got the chance to play at the Victoria Halls.
“It has always been a desire of ours, but the guy who booked our gigs for a few years wasn’t very good so it never happened.
“Playing in Selkirk will also please my dad – he won’t have to travel up to Glasgow to see us.”
It is almost two years since Frightened Rabbit, which includes Scott’s brother Grant and fellow Souter Billy Kennedy, as well as Andy Monaghan and Gordon Skene, switched from minor indie label FatCat to Atlantic – whose clients include Sean Paul, Phil Collins and James Blunt.
But any fears that Frightened Rabbit would be releasing a Genesis-inspired new album under instructions from executives more keen on money than music couldn’t be further from the truth, according to Scott.
He said: “It has been amazing. We have access to a lot more resources and there is a lot more money behind the label, which means the experience of making music is easier.
“For example, we were put up in a residential studio to record and demo our music. Things may change when the album comes out, but at the moment they are great.
“I had the same fears when we signed to a major label, but I really don’t have any complaints.
“We never fell out with FatCat, we just came to the end of our contract.
“People think because you are playing in front of two or three thousand people you are rolling in it and drinking champagne backstage.
“When you are playing live gigs it is fine, but the problem was when you go to make an album and the money dries up. However, with Atlantic we have been given time to put together the album.”
It now gets busy for the quintet in the run-up to the release of the new album at the start of 2013.
Currently performing in Ireland, they support Biffy Clyro at the iTunes Festival in the middle of their mini-UK tour, then head to Europe and back to America, where their popularity is increasing after supporting indie group Death Cab for Cutie last year.
Scott said: “I think only two of our gigs are not sold out. Touring with Death Cab for Cutie was amazing and really raised our profile over there. We were playing in front of five or six thousand people each night, which was incredible.”
State Hospital is out a day before Frightened Rabbit’s Selkirk gig to prove “we have not been sitting on our arses doing nothing,” says Scott.
The quintet also worked with Fountainhall folk legend Archie Fisher on a track for a separate EP last year, which included another Borders-inspired track, Scottish Winds, an alternative national anthem which featured in a poll of songs to play before the Scotland national team’s World Cup qualifiers at Hampden.
Scott added: “The album is a little more immediate.
“The tracks on the EP were awkward, we couldn’t find a spot on the album, but we still really love the songs.
“We brought out the EP as we thought it would be a long wait for the fans until the new album, the EP is really for them.
“Scottish Winds came about because of the X95 bus. I often get it to get back home and often write lyrics into my phone.
“This time I was travelling up to a house near Stow where we were recording material.
“It sounds bad, but it was a really windy day and that proved the inspiration. By the end of the 45-minute journey I had finished the song.”
Tickets for Frightened Rabbit’s Selkirk gig, as well as the State Hospital EP, can be bought from frightenedrabbit.com