Franz Ferdinand return next week with their first album in four years. Right Words, Right Thoughts, Right Action arrives on August 27. In a lengthy profile from The Guardian, frontman Alex Kapranos discusses the challenges the band has faced and how, just two years ago, he thought they should break up.
Most bands would kill for the sort of meteoric rise Franz Ferdinand experienced surrounding their 2004 self-titled debut. But the surprise success presented difficulties for the band and their independant record label. Kapranos recalls, "[Domino Records] only had three staff in America and couldn't physically deal with the amount of records that we were selling," forcing the band to sign with a major label for U.S. distribution, whereupon unscrupulous record executives may have paid radio stations to play their music.
"And I was like, 'Fucking hell, here we are in court on some payola charge. It was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to be as a band. They pushed us in a way that didn't feel natural. I shouldn't complain too much – we sold lots and lots of records. But I think the way it accelerated so quickly was probably quite damaging for us."
The first two Franz Ferdinand albums went platinum and gold, respectively, in the U.S. The two years they spent touring behind their 2009 effort Tonight: Franz Ferdinand left them frustrated and exhausted. Alex says:
"[The fun] went out when I felt I was working to someone else's schedule or deadline. I'm not naturally the kind of person who works well under those conditions. In fact, my whole adult life before that point, if I'd been in a job where I felt I was under pressure, I would usually just jack in the job. And suddenly I couldn't do that any more... I wanted to split the band up, because in my head it felt like one of those jobs... I didn't like the routine and the obligations. And whether those obligations lay with my contemporaries, my peers, my record label, the fans, the audiences... It was time to, erm, stop that."
Kapranos' hobby as a food blogger, which led to a column for The Guardian and an unexpected book deal likely served as a much-needed distraction from Franz Ferdinand.
The profile's author Craig McLean says, "The comeback album radiates buzzy confidence. It is certainly the best since their groundbreaking debut."