New blood, new music

Award-winning band Franz Ferdinand comprise (from far left) Bob Hardy, Alex Kapranos, Paul Thomson, Julian Corrie and Dino Bardot.
Award-winning band Franz Ferdinand comprise (left) Bob Hardy, Alex Kapranos, Paul Thomson, Julian Corrie and Dino Bardot.PHOTO: SECRET SOUNDS ASIA

Having two new members in Scottish band Franz Ferdinand has revitalised the sound of their music

Losing a founding member can break a band, but in the case of Scottish outfit Franz Ferdinand, it became a chance for them to overhaul their sound with two new members.

Last year, for the first time since they formed in 2002, the band roped in new blood, guitarist Dino Bardot and keyboardist/guitarist Julian Corrie, to replace guitarist Nick McCarthy, who left in 2016.

Fans will be able to see the new quintet in action when they play at Zepp@BigBox Singapore on Wednesday. The gig comes 12 years after they last played here at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Doing shows with the new members has been "great fun", says bass player Bob Hardy in a telephone interview.

"Julian hasn't played much out of the UK, so travelling with someone who is seeing it all as a new experience is really enjoyable. Dino is an amazing musician, so that's a huge plus."

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Hardy says that he has "no idea" if McCarthy will re-join the band, but adds that their former guitarist is in a happy place now, spending time with his family and dabbling in other musical pursuits.

The Singapore show will feature them playing new songs from their fifth and most recent album, Always Ascending, released earlier this year. Critics have noticed a sense of revitalisation in their new songs. British music magazine NME, for example, praised the album as "a record driven by vim, vigour and ideas".

Hardy says the old songs have also been given a shot in the arm, now that they have more musicians on stage.

The band, which also comprise singer and guitarist Alex Kapranos and drummer Paul Thomson, are best known for dance-rock and post-punk songs like indie disco staple Take Me Out (2004), No You Girls (2009) and Love Illumination (2013).

"The new members have brought new elements that have been missing in our shows. A couple of songs have been augmented with new parts. Having five people on stage has made a huge difference," says Hardy.

Formed in Glasgow, the group released their self-titled debut album in 2004, a release that earned them the 2004 Mercury Prize and a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Album.

The band have also won several other prizes, including the British Group and British Rock Act at the 2005 Brit Awards, as well as an Ivor Novello Award in 2004 and four NME awards from 2004 to 2006.

Hardy says he is enjoying life as a touring musician and is looking forward to returning to Singapore. He fondly recalls the last visit here in 2006 as he had some downtime.

"Yeah, I remember the show quite well. We had a day off and I went to the Night Safari. I remember wandering around and I'm looking forward to coming back."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2018, with the headline 'New blood, new music'. Print Edition | Subscribe