After a four-year recording hiatus, the Glasgow-based indie band Franz Ferdinand are back with their fourth album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.
With Alex Kapranos taking lead vocals, Bob Hardy on bass, Nick McCarthy on guitar and Paul Thomson on drums, it's been almost a decade since their 2004 single, Take Me Out, lit up the charts, establishing them firmly on the international music scene.
Their first three albums Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better and Tonight: Franz Ferdinand met with varying degrees of success and mixed critical reception.
Casual and relaxed, guitarist Nick McCarthy gave Life an exclusive interview and talked about the album and what they mean by Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.
Can you tell us a little bit about the new album?
It's got 10 songs on it. Oh, 11? I can't remember [laughs]. We wrote them in London and Scotland, and then we recorded them and then we released them. And now you can listen to them.
How does this album differ from previous ones?
The new album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action , is ‘‘very open and very positive’’ says guitarist Nick McCarthy.
I think it sounds very much like us. I'm not sure how different we sound on this record. For us, personally, it was like we definitely had to work out how to play so that we weren't bored. A lot of the times, you write songs and you don't want to repeat yourself. We had to work that out and that's what takes the most time. It's working out how you can play things that feel really good so that you can perform well. Compared to the last record, it's very open and very positive. As a listener, you are kind of invited in, you know. There are no barriers between you and us. I think it's a very open and positive record. That's the kind of music I want to play. For us, I don't know, it feels right.
For this album, are you trying to differentiate yourself from the previous albums as well as from other bands?
You can't really put it that way. That doesn't sound quite right. We embrace a lot of our past as well. We like and embrace a lot of our contemporaries as well. But there are certain elements that you have to change, you can't play something that bores you. What's the point in doing that? The only point in doing it, then, would be to make money or something. That's not why we do it.
Alex Kapranos described the direction for this album as "forward", what do you think he meant by that?
It feels good for us, it feels like we're going in the right direction. It feels good for everyone. Obviously, some people are going to hate it, I'm sure, but for us, it just feels like it's a good thing. And when we play these songs live, it feels like a good thing. It feels like it's going in a forward direction.
The album's title is Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, what do you mean by that?
It's in one of the songs. So we thought that kind of feels good. That's the forward direction as well. I really like the album cover. It's representative of how we think as well.
What does this album say about the evolution of you guys as a band?
We realised that it's really important for all of us in the band to feel really good about what we're writing and what we're playing and everyone is involved. It only works if all four of us are involved and that's when we're the best. And I think on this record, we've managed to get that back. It seems like maybe at some point in the past it was like getting a bit too heavy-handed with some people and now it's kind of back to the four of us. I think it's really good.
With a lot of new upcoming bands, do you try to keep up with the direction the music industry is going?
I'm interested but I don't try to keep up. I think it's a very commercial and very capitalist way of thinking about music and I don't really like that. I don't like people that do that. I don't think you can plan it. When we started off, we didn't do that. We were doing the exact opposite to what was on the radio and things that people liked at the point. I hated nearly everything that was on the radio. It was awful.