by Margaret Chrystall
SCOTT Hutchison has left new home Los Angeles for the release of his first solo album under the name Owl John and to work with Frightened Rabbit on a new album.
But it’s just early songwriting together in a Welsh studio, so far.
Scott said: “We’re not even close, but we’ve started it and we’ve made a solid start.
“We came down to Wales a couple of weeks ago and are right at the beginning of the writing process and getting demos done. But the album won’t be ready till later in the year.”
Album Pedestrian Verse which was released last year – reaching number nine in the album charts – was the first where the whole band were involved in songwriting.
Before it had been Scott’s role from the band’s start in his hometown Selkirk back in 2003.
“I think we’ve got a good wee team togther now,” he said about the revamped songwriting process.
“It took a little bit longer the last time – the first time. But we’ve got about 14 songs under our belts and now we’ve got a really good way of working.
“It took a little while for everyone to find their feet, but now we’re straight into it.”
Now that love has seen Scott relocate to America, he says: “I have to use the time here as productively as possible.”
Ask him what the most surprising thing to happen since making the move and Scott’s got a pretty good one – he got himself on the last night of a late night TV chat show out there called The Pete Holmes Show.
“I knew Pete – he’s a stand up comedian – and is a fan of the band and had his own show, and I’d said to him ‘I just live down the road now if you ever need anyone for your show!’.
“So it was a nice surprise when he asked me to go on.
“And Pete chose the song – it’s quite sad and intimate, so it’s not one that really ever gets aired.”
Scott performed Poke and talked about the band to Pete.
There has also been a return for Scott to the way he worked in the earliest days of Frightened Rabbit – a solo project.
But with the move to Rabbit songwriting as a group, Scott was encouraged to look again at doing some solo work by record label Atlantic before the next Frightened Rabbit –or FRabbit – album.
So when did the Rabbit become the Owl – Owl John?
“We did a similar thing to what we are doing here with the new FRabbit album, working on a song a day.”
Recorded on Mull, the album also features FRabbit keyboardist and guitarist Andy Monaghan producing it and touring member Scott Liddell playing on it.
“I’d wanted to do it for a while, but I think it was very nice that the label gave me the opportunity.”
Around that time, Lochaber musician Gordon Skene left the band after four and a half years with the band – and a hugely busy period for FRabbit.
Scott said: “Sometimes the strain can get a bit much, but we’re all still in contact and and that was all there was to it really. Gordon’s contribution to the band was fantastic.”
Belladrum has good memories for Scott.
“We’re all very excited – it was the first time that we were a main stage act, at Belladrum!
“Last time, we had a hotel in Inverness, but I ended up in some random group’s tent.
“Every show we’ve done there has been fantastic. So hopefully this will be no exception!”
Frightened Rabbit play the main, Garden Stage at Belladrum on Friday. Below is a clip of their 2012 Belladrum main stage performance.