RECORDING UNDER THE INFLUENCE: Frightened Rabbit On … Bodies of Water, Walking Like a Man, and the Weightiest Poetry Book You’ll Ever Read

[Photo by Danny North]

Recording Under the Influence is a recurring self-titled feature where we ask artists to ignore their musical inspirations for a minute and share what really went into the making of a particular record. In the following post, Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchinson explains the easy, breezy sound of the band’s third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks (FatCat), and why he’s not a miserable Scot anymore.

The North Sea
The ocean is all over the record, and it took me by surprise a little…I’ve never lived on the coast before I went to Fife for six weeks. It had a huge effect on my state of mind and the album would have sounded entirely different were it not for this body of water.

Ted Hughes
I discovered his Songs of Crow collection whilst I was writing the album and it was one of those moments when you read something and it just feels as though it was written just for you. It made total sense to me at that time. It’s the most powerful book I have ever read. There’s such weight in every word.

I took a daily walk along the coastal path to Anstruther (three miles from Crail, where I was staying). Some days I went further than others, as I had resolved not to turn back until I had an idea that excited me. There’s something about the rhythm of walking that starts the brain ticking–I always came back from those walks with something useful.

The Wackness
This is a film (not even a particularly good one) starring Ben Kingsley, and I think there was also an Olsen twin in it. There was this one scene where Kingsley’s character strides out into the ocean and just starts swimming. It sparked the whole stream of thought that made the record–how far would you swim before you wanted to come back? I think the character in the film went about one kilometer, which is probably further than I would go in reality…

My Girlfriend
This may seem like a slightly cheesy influence, but it’s a hugely significant one. For the first time, my songs feature moments of joy and passages of happiness. That is attributable to one person. She is a big reason behind the way the album turned out, and I don’t even care if it’s cheesy.