Interview with The Fratellis
Contactmusic got the chance for a quick chat to Barry from the Fratellis about lazy music journalism, inbred family musicality and the bands past, present and future.
Contactmusic: So starting off with your band name is it really from the bad guys in 'The Goonies'?
Barry: From 'The Goonies'? Errm.No comment. It's my second name man it's my surname.
CM: Oh really, as there's a lot of mixed reports and interviews etc some saying it's from 'The goonies' and some saying it's from the Italian for siblings.
Barry: Yeah, there are loads of different stories about it, but it's actually my surname.
CM: There are also mixed messages from the music media about this non-existent story about how you guys met and the myth keeps perpetuating. As I've read things like you've met at a circus.
Barry: We did man.
CM: That's good man, maybe you should start saying you met on an oil rig or in space or something?
Is saying stuff like that the way you keep interviews fresh?
Barry: Yeah, I mean it doesn't get boring but you keep getting asked the same questions all the time and if you make up the truth it sounds better.
CM: [Laughs] Yeah.
Barry: That's the way I see it, ney offence. But the press are gonna make shit up about you, so you might as well do it back.
CM: No that's true, that's it.
CM: So moving onto the Scottish music scene. How have you seen that grow over the past few years?
Barry: There's always been a big scene, but it comes and goes every few years. There's been stuff from creation records who did BMX bandits, Primal scream and all that, then it died down a bit. Then it grew out of Chemikal underground with Mogwai, so it comes and goes.
CM: Right, Coming back on to the music press and building on what you were saying a minute ago. I think they're [The music press] very fickle and 'of the moment' about bands and places like Sheffield, Leeds and Glasgow etc. But I think everywhere always has there good bands but as you said it comes and goes, but music journalists seem to kind of latch onto it.
Barry: It's just laziness man.
CM: I agree.
Barry: If people just dug a bit deeper they'd get a better story I think.
CM: That's it. I've spoken to a lot of bands and they talk about different audience reactions from region to region.
Barry: That's true man.
CM: Especially in England. Is that something you've notice yourself or on a larger scale the differences from England and Scotland.
Barry: No it's just an English thing. The further south you go the more tame the audience get. But saying that I've just contradicted myself, as we did a great gig in Brighton and they were all fucking crazy, so that was really good.
London gigs and London audiences seem to be more stand back with your arms folded, you know we've paid for our tickets so entertain us. But I prefer the gigs where everyone's pissed up and shouting.
CM: So has there been a noticeable difference generally from the earlier days now you've got your videos, getting airplay and been doing the festivals?
Barry: Yeah man, you start to see it, you can see the progress your making. You start off with people who don't know who the fuck you are. Well you start off with getting your mates to come and see you, and then it's your mate's mates, then other people, then you start getting a bit of radio play and it builds up from there.
It's really nice going somewhere for the first time and you don't know anybody and there's a room full of nutters singing your songs, it's cool.
CM: I've listened to your E.P, your singles and what you've got on your Myspace and a lot of the songs sound different from say the way that a lot of bands make album tracks that sound musically from the same family or at worst from an inbred family when everything sounds the same.
So when you're making music is that a conscious thing that you thought about - keeping stuff different or was it the way it played out?
Barry: No it was just the way it played out, although you want to follow a formula, but if you follow the same formula you sound like everybody else.
CM: So as a musician, how do you feel about bands that do that kind of thing?
Barry: I just think they should have a bit more business savvy and plan ahead a wee bit. Because no one wants to hear the same tunes in two years time unless you're fucking Oasis who are absolutely brilliant at what they do and they did it with a bit of style. But you've got bands who try and do it now but you just know that they're not gonna be around next year.
CM: That's true.
Barry: You've worked so hard to get where you want to be so you should put a bit more thought into staying there or you end up working back in Morrison's. That's the way I see it.
CM: I hear a lot of people labelling you as 'Glam Rock', how do you feel about that?
Barry: It's cool, we all like a bit of glam now and then but again it's just laziness.
CM: Is there any specific influences that would warrant people saying that?
Barry: I dunno, everyone's got Bowie and T-rex in there collection, so it's gonna shine through a wee bit. But it's laziness. They see big hair and leather and they label you glam rock.
CM: So the albums out on September 4th, how was going out to L.A and working on it?
Barry: It was fantastic man, lots of arguing though and sun bathing, it was good.
CM: How is L.A? Is it as fake as people say it is?
Barry: Its fantastic man, I've been there before a few times now and I know my way around, it's nice; Hollywood parties, meeting celebs all that shite.
CM: Who did you meet? Any celebs worth mentioning?
Barry: James Woods man.
CM: What's he like?
Barry: He's a nice guy, and the two guys who did Harold and Kumar that was quite cool.
CM: Yeah I read something about that.
Barry: We ended up pretty good mates with them, so that was quite cool.
CM: So you've had a really busy summer, how has that been going for you so far?
Barry: Cool man, it' just been busy but it's been good.
CM: You're going out to Ibiza this week, is that right?
Barry: Ibiza on Wednesday.
CM: You're going out doing Radio 1 stuff with Zane Lowe.
Barry: Yeah Zane Lowe and Manumission jobs. But that's great cos you get to play with one of your favourite bands, we're playing with Kasabien.
CM: You're supporting them when you get back as well aren't you?
Barry: Yeah we're doing Brixton academy with them and hopefully some things in the future, which will be as cool as fuck as they're one of my favourite bands.
CM: Sounds good man. Anyway I think we're coming up to time now.
Barry: Yeah I'm getting a shove.
CM: Alright thanks a lot for that and good luck with the future.
Barry: No worries, thanks mate.
The Fratellis single Chelsea Dagger is out on the 28th August and their album Costello music is out on September 4th. But you can catch the lads at the Carling weekend festival: Reading and Leeds on the Carling stage 25-27th Aug.
Interview by Adam Adshead
Click here to watch the video for Chelsea Dagger