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The Fratellis: “Magic is independent of any circumstance”

The Fratellis hit The Copper Rooms on 13th October, bringing POP! favourite ‘Chelsea Dagger’ to life. Boar Music got in touch to find out how and why their sound has changed since hit-album Costello Music was released nine years ago, with some surprising country and blues influences in their latest, Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied.

Boar Music: Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied is your first release on an independent record label (albeit a large one). How has the move from Island Records impacted this album creatively?

Jon Lawler: It hasn’t at all. The last record we made for Island was in 2008 so it has no real effect on where we are now. We just made the album that we felt like making at the time, just to please ourselves really.

BM: It’s been nine years since the release of your first LP, Costello Music. How would you say the band have evolved over this time period? Has the industry impacted your sound or is it more of a personal journey?

JL: A lot has changed but it’s natural for it to have done so. At the end of the day all anyone is ever trying to do is keep themselves entertained and then hoping that that entertains others; and if it does, you get lucky.

BM: Indie rock as a genre has evolved massively since The Fratellis first hit the scene. We’ve gone from stomping anthems to a moodier, more brooding sound and I couldn’t help but notice that a few tracks on Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied reflect this. Who are your favourite artists at the moment and have any of them impacted your sound?

JL: I’m really the wrong person to answer this question as I’m notorious amongst people who know me for not being up to date at all. I was born out of the loop! My favourites are the same old rock n roll names like Dylan, Springsteen, The [Rolling] Stones with Leonard Cohen thrown in for good measure.

BM: There are also a few notes of blues and country music on tracks such as ‘Moonshine’. Was this diversity intentional or simply a fortunate accident based on a variety of influences?

JL: That stuff just feels natural to me, it’s probably just more obvious this time around as I don’t feel inclined to keep it at bay anymore when writing for The Fratellis.

BM: The video for ‘Impostors (Little By Little)’ has just been released and it’s a really touching piece of filmmaking. As it’s so in keeping with the subtler style of the album I was wondering how involved you’ve been in that side of the creative process (album art, music videos…)? 

JL: Not at all actually. I never feel like those things are any of my business, I’m not particularly visually minded so always feel the need to leave that to others who are.

BM: For your upcoming gig at the University of Warwick, a lot of fans are going to be looking forward to hearing ‘Chelsea Dagger’ especially. Do you still look forward to playing it in light of your evolution as musicians? 

JL: Those old songs are fine with me. It would be a lie to say you play them with as much interest as newer songs – for obvious reasons – but we’ll always make sure to give them the effort that people deserve when they come to see us play.

BM: Out of the songs from Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied, which ones have gotten the best audience reaction on the tour so far?

JL: Things like ‘Impostors’ and ‘Me and The Devil’ have worked really well along with ‘Baby Don’t You Lie To Me’.

BM: Your gig at the Student’s Union is obviously part of a much larger tour that’s going across Europe and some parts of Asia. How does playing for a predominately student audience differ from playing anywhere else? 

JL: I don’t think it does actually. Our job is the same every time: to send people home happy and to make them want to come and see us again!

BM: Looking back on your performances at Glastonbury and T in The Park (among others), it’s obvious that your back catalogue makes you a great festival band. Is this still an atmosphere you enjoy or do you feel that your latest album is more suited to a different type of performance?

JL: It really depends on the audience on any given day. Whether it’s a club, a theatre or a field it’s all down to a little bit of magic happening between them and us. Geography and scale never come into it for me, magic is independent of any circumstance.

BM: I really think that Eyes Wide, Tongue Tied is a great album and would love to hear more from you guys. What can you tell us about your plans for the future?

JL: We quite like it too! We’ll probably make another album next year I think, we just roll on as long as we feel the need to, as long as some people want to hear what we do.

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