Q&A with Alex Kapranos


13 February 2017

With Glasgow-based music documentary Lost in France screening on Tue 21 Feb, we caught up with Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos to talk music and movies...

Thanks for agreeing to talk to us Alex! Can you tell us a bit about what you're currently up to?

I'm hanging out at my studio in Scotland, writing and playing music. Listening to the first Alice Cooper LP as I type. My friends from the band Boxed In came to stay with me last night and we had a nice wee jam.

Lost in France tracks the rise of Chemikal Underground as a key part of Glasgow's music scene. What sticks in your mind when you think about those days?

 "It felt truly distinct from what was going on in London..."

Chaos, not knowing what the future was, but knowing that it was anyone's. It felt truly distinct from what was going on in London - that's where the music industry was, and what was happening up here was unique and completely independent from that. There were a lot of strong characters around. It felt good: Bis were on Top Of The Pops, Urusei, The Delgados, Yummy Fur and Lungleg were getting played on John Peel. Arab Strap were exploding from the East Coast. Mogwai and the Belles were dominating the music press. The scene around the 13th Note was anarchic, unpredictable and truly joyous. Yeah, Glasgow was f***ing cool in the '90s... and still is.

What was it like to revisit Mauron and reconnect with other musicians from the 1997 festival?

I hadn't been in a room together with all those guys in a really long time. On the way over, we were chatting amongst ourselves, wondering if we'd remember any of it, but once we got there, it all came back. I like and have a lot of respect for all of those musicians, both for their work and as people. I have to thank Niall for bringing us together. It was pretty special, a good moment for reflection, not just to appreciate the talent of your friends, but also to consider what Stewart Henderson and Chemikal pulled off against the odds.

Do you think we'll see further collaboration from The Maurons in future?

After knocking back the Trump inauguration gig, I haven't been paying much attention to the offers coming in. We might all be free around the Superbowl next year, but getting time off for rehearsals is the biggest pain in the arse.

We're obviously big cinema fans at DCA. What are your favourite films and why?

"Back to the Future may be the most perfect film ever made though."

Gosh, where do I begin? I love Joe Losey and Dirk Bogarde. The Servant is a film I can never grow bored of. I find the subversiveness and theme of the decay of the class system very appealing. It's my favourite Bogarde performance. He flips between obsequious servant, domineering master and playful malevolence with such ease.

I'm a big John Waters fan and re-watched Pink Flamingos recently. I love his trashy unpredictability and child-like desire to shock at all costs. Divine is a cinema great. I was watching it with some people who I didn't know too well... it's a good way to find out if you're going to get on or not.

Back to the Future may be the most perfect film ever made though.

Thanks Alex! Catch Lost in France at DCA on Tue 21 February at 20:15, followed by a live satellite performance from The Maurons: a Chemikal Underground supergroup comprised of Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand), Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai), RM Hubbert, Emma Pollock and Paul Savage (The Delgados).

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