This year, Franz Ferdinand published his first “best of me,” and is back on the road this fall. For Farah Alex Capranos, 50, who spoke to Sud Quest during a hilarious interview.
Franz Ferdinand celebrates his twentieth birthday. How will you celebrate this anniversary?
Above all, we will celebrate the happiness of going on tour again. I love him and every second you spend on stage is a pleasure for me. Round ammo is primarily based on the “best of” from our ammo, which we haven’t really done in the past. This we won’t do again for a while.
The order of the songs may change every night. It should still be exciting for us. I’d hate to play in one of those bands that come with tapes and all the shows are the same. They make me think of Sisyphus singing at Karaoke in Hell. What a nightmare! To keep the show a bit unexpected, we play the old-fashioned way, fully live, with no flicks or marches in the comments. It leaves plenty of room to enjoy the arrangements, lengthening the single, shortening the song…the group can follow their feel.
I’m not saying that we constantly improvise like the jazz musicians of the Chicago Art Ensemble; But we want to preserve as much freedom and spontaneity as possible.
What do you prefer on the big world tours?
The first, of course, is being on stage. Otherwise I would go from city to city by train to visit them quietly. I love to be on the go and enjoy the opportunity to visit every new place. As soon as possible, I go to art galleries or museums. If I am in Austria, I say to myself ‘Wonderful, I will see these paintings by Jeronimus Bosch which I have only seen in books’. I also love discovering culinary specialties: certain types of cheese can only be eaten in certain parts of France. In Brittany, I want to drink cider. In Italy, I have addresses to offer myself dishes that are not so well prepared anywhere else in the world …
But these are only secondary pleasures that come after the ultimate enjoyment of sitting on stage playing our music.
“I was a chef before I played Franz Ferdinand. Cooking and music have always been my mainstays.
I mentioned gastronomy. I long ago wrote a culinary column in the daily “The Guardian”…
This date, “Sound Bites”, which I later dismissed in a book, was a way to tell the wandering experience through a special post. I was a chef before I played for Franz Ferdinand. What you eat and how you eat it says a lot about where you are, the people who live there, the way they live… Away from land and produce, I also appreciate the social distancing that the cooking method and the course of the meal tell. It’s such a wonderful and wonderful angle to mention my travels with the group. Cooking and music have always been two main pillars of my life.
What place did music keep in your home when you were a kid?
It was very important. My parents didn’t have a big record set but they listened to music all the time. They were young, being 22 and 23 when I was born. They shared a lot. I remember our sitting room full of adult dancing. Then my dad was part of groups in the ’60s, and his generation was Boo Diddley, Buddy Holly…I grew up watching him play guitar. As a child, I realized that music not only came from a machine in the corner of a room, but was something that humans can produce. This demystification of music was important in my journey towards the idea that I could, by myself, create songs.
It happened in adolescence, thanks to a friendship story. Every morning I walked to college in Glasgow with a friend named Andrew. Along the way, we talked about the bands we loved…we were obsessed with the Beatles. It seems common today, but by the mid-1980s, it definitely seemed out of fashion. No one in our time has ever listened to that, the least band you’ve ever heard was awesome. The Beatles’ love was almost a rebellious thing!
How did you become a composer?
Andrew and I started learning together. I got a set of tracks, “The Beatles Complete,” with a psychedelic wrapper…but we couldn’t make it sound like records anyway. So we quickly gave up and wrote our own songs. There, at least, no one can tell us “No, that’s not how to play it”. We invented literally hundreds of songs. We were still in school.
The funny thing is, about two years ago, I found out that my fiancée had the exact same collection of Beatles songs that I hadn’t seen in decades. I grabbed his guitar that was lying there, opened the book… and realized that the strings written on this set were utter crap! Everything has been simplified to the max…and totally rotten! “Damn it, it’s not me who played it badly: it’s that damn book that sucks!” (laughs).
In the end, I can only be grateful to the lazy idiot who copied these scores so poorly because it gave me the motivation to write my own songs.
What projects after the tour?
Return to the studio to make a new album. Our approach will undoubtedly be influenced by the very interesting and intense experience that was the development of our retrospective assembly. It allowed me to understand what is the essence of Franz Ferdinand, the depth of his identity. After the first recording, we forced ourselves to separate ourselves from what we did or already did, to try and introduce something new.
It is great that we are constantly exploring new paths, and it is a pleasure to celebrate who we are in a fundamental way. Today, I finally realized the coherence and meaning of a twenty-year group approach. It fills me with a very positive energy. I want the next album to be “Franz Ferdinand” as much as possible.
What’s great when you’ve been able to hold out for so long is that you don’t have to worry about what’s going on right now, or where other bands are heading. You can say to yourself “Nothing has sex with him, I’m making the album that I want, the album I want and that looks like me more than anything else.” I think this is the best starting point for success in setting a good record.
Will you follow up on the single “Summer Wine” you recorded as a duet with your partner, French singer Clara Luciani?
who knows ? It was really fun to do, so we’ll see. I often ask the question so I imagine it would make people happy. I like doing things outside of the band, like producing the English album The Bitchos recently. Recording with Clara was so much fun for both of them: the musical colors were different from our universes. If we do something together again, it will probably be in the same atmosphere, not in his or his world. But my priority is to make a new album with Franz Ferdinand.
On ten key dates
1972. Alex Capranos was born in Almondsbury, England. His family moved to Scotland seven years later.
2002. Founded in Glasgow for the Franz Ferdinand Group.
2004. Untitled first album release which goes straight to album 3e UK sales place. 2e One, “Take Me Out,” achieved the same result.
2005. 2e The album “Could you be so much better”, ranked No. 1. The word “Would you like” is used in commercials, trailers, video games…
2007-2014. The group publishes three albums and extensive tours at the largest international festivals.
2015. Franz Ferdinand and the group Sparks, the glamorous English rock legend, merge in album time (“FFS”) and play together especially at Rock en Seine in Paris and at the Free Music Festival in Montendre.
2016. “Demogogy”, an anti-Trump satirical song, is being released in the midst of the US election campaign.
2017-2021. Changing individuals within the group and out of “always ascending”.
2020. Alex Capranos and his partner Clara Luciani have published a duet titled “Wine of Summer”. The French singer joined Franz Ferdinand in March 2022 for the song “Tainted Love” on the show “Taratata”.
2022. Compilation of “Franz Ferdinand Hits to the Head”. Launching a new world tour.
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