Red Light Management

Franz Ferdinand

Artist Bio

Forget everything you think you know about Franz Ferdinand. Always Ascending is nothing short of a rebirth. The album’s ten songs are a triumphant recasting of one of our favourite groups, bursting with fresh ideas and vigorous sonic experimentation.

“We wanted this to sound like nothing we made before,” said the band and after listening to the first moments of the title track it’s obvious that’s what they’ve accomplished.

There have been substitutions, but the team is playing stronger than ever. In case you missed the announcement last year, Nick McCarthy (guitar) left to raise his family and Julian Corrie, a much-loved figure in the Glasgow music scene, joined core members Alex Kapranos, Bob Hardy and Paul Thomson.

With reclusive producer Philippe Zdar (Cassius, Phoenix, ‪Beastie Boys), FF have taken a knife to their old canvas, creating an album that is so foreign in its familiarity it could only be current.

“Philippe is someone we’d wanted to work with for a long time.” said Alex “Last time we spoke, he was recording the Beastie Boys. I asked Laurence (Bell, Domino boss) and Cerne (Cannning, manager/svengali) to put us in touch and they said ‘Oh, he’s a bit of an enigma. No-one can trace him. Maybe he’s in Ibiza. Maybe Paris. We don’t know.’ Then I remembered I still had his number, so I texted him and said ‘I’ve always thought we could make a truly great LP together’ and he replied straight back and said ‘Yes! Let’s do it!’”

“We loved working with Philippe. He understands that what is essential is the emotion: the emotion that inspired the song and the emotion that the song inspires in you on hearing it. It’s all that matters. Everything comes from that: the sound, performance, tempo, instrumentation, how far you stand from the mic… everything.”

The LP was mixed at Philippe’s Motorbass studio in Paris, recorded in a couple of weeks at RAK and written over the preceding year somewhere in the west of Scotland.

“We all lived in the one place together. Us and the dog. It’s remote and that’s what we needed. We weren’t just writing an LP. We were creating a band. A sound. A universe. We started from zero: no expectations. It was liberating. From zero, we created this new universe to inhabit: nebulous at first, gradually taking form, until it felt like it had always existed.”

Other characters appear in this story. Dino Bardot (the greatest rockstar Glasgow ever produced) has joined the line-up since they started touring again and Sam Potter, late of Late Of The Pier, hung out with the band in the early stages of the LP.

“Sam’s an inspiring guy. We had great conversations. He knows how to take an idea and break it so you can see the better idea hidden within it.”

“We talked about the purity and naivety our earliest psychedelic experiences: when you imagined what drugs might do to your mind, before there was an opportunity to let them. How the imagined experience is way more powerful than anything actually triggered by a drug could be. Wouldn’t it be glorious to make music that made you feel like that?”

When asked what influences shaped the record, Hardy says “I don’t think we need to mention any,” while Thomson exclaims “Can’t really think of any other than Tarka Daal and McEwans Export.” Kapranos does mention re-discovering Greek composer Yiannis Markopoulos’s interpretations of Cretan music on the Rizitika LP:

“Repetitive, trance-inducing, dynamic: my first extra-sensory experiences were from listening to this, before I could walk.”

“Listening to it again, I realized how it was always there. I don’t mean just in my period of experience, but for millennia. It’s ancient music you can trace back to the earliest of human experiences. We have always done this, but there is always a new way of making it. Markopoulos made it new in 1971. We made it new in 2017. The effect has always been the same. We are looking for something that allows us to ascend. To become lighter than our physical presence. To ascend from the emotion of every day. To ascend from what we understand. To ascend and know why we are ascending. To not know why we want to ascend. To be always ascending.”

Armed with this musical mission, the band put purpose to paper. Conceiving a songbook full of tightly scripted screeds and musical paradoxes, brought to vivid life through a confluence of the band’s gift for propulsive, melody-driven musicality and Zdar’s production dexterity.

“So many nights, I couldn’t sleep because there were too many ideas flooding each other. Kapranos recalls “I felt like a decapitated gorgon, growing two heads where there had been one. That’s why it was so great to work with Julian, Philippe and Sam. Each an extra head to the gorgon. An extra mind. An extra set of snakes spitting venom.”

These ambitious visions can be heard throughout Always Ascending: from the title track’s Penrose Stairs aural illusion constantly rising chord progression, to the “Trap Sabbath via Slackers” of ‘Huck and Jim’; the barely-glimpsed backstory that could have been from a William Trevor story in ‘Lois Lane’, to the Tehching Hsieh-inspired ‘Paper Cages’, the five to the floor odd-count dance beat of ‘Lazy Boy’, to the heartbreaking ‘Slow Don’t Kill Me Slow’.

For all its philosophical conceits, however, it is a visceral experience. It’s intended to hit you in the heart before the brain. These are the sounds of the Parisian night, the exhilaration of an Italian car racing down the autobahn; a feeling of euphoria so pure it could only exist on a knife’s edge, occasionally gliding into euphoric heartcreak.

They wanted this record to sound like no other you’ve heard, never mind any other Franz Ferdinand record. Here it is. Stick it on. Think “What the fuck is that… I LOVE it!”

It’s Always Ascending and it’s out on Friday the 9th of February.


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Agency - North America

Agency - World Excluding North America

Tour Dates

Mar 29 2023
Studio Theater Cavaret
Zapopan, Mexico
Mar 31 2023
Parque Fundidora
Monterrey, Mexico
Apr 29 2023
Warm Up Estrella de Levante 2023
Murcia, Spain
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Jun 02 2023
Vestrock 2023
Hulst, Netherlands
Jun 03 2023
Dauwpop 2023
Haarle, Netherlands
Jun 08 2023
MGM Music Hall at Fenway
Boston, MA
Jun 09 2023
The Met
Philadelphia, PA
Jun 10 2023
The Anthem
Washington, DC
Jun 12 2023
Columbus, OH
Jun 13 2023
Stage AE
Pittsburgh, PA
Jun 14 2023
The Andrew J Brady Music Center
Cincinnati, OH
Jun 16 2023
Red Hat Amphitheater
Raleigh, NC
Jun 18 2023
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 2023
Manchester, TN
Jun 20 2023
Coca-Cola Roxy
Atlanta, GA
Jun 21 2023
Fillmore New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Jun 23 2023
Bayou Music Center
Houston, TX
Jun 24 2023
South Side Ballroom
Dallas, TX
Jun 25 2023
Moody Amphitheater
Austin, TX
Jun 30 2023
La Nuit de l'Erdre 2023
Nort-sur-erdre, France
Jul 05 2023
Festival Cruilla XXS 2023
Barcelona, Spain
Jul 06 2023
Mad Cool Festival 2023
Madrid, Spain
Jul 08 2023
Musilac 2023
Aix-les-bains, France
Jul 15 2023
FIB: Festival Internacional de Benicàssim 2023
Castell De Castells, Spain
Jul 20 2023
World Festival Ambert 2023
Ambert, France
Jul 22 2023
World Festival Ambert 2023
Ambert, France
Jul 30 2023
Festival Grandes Marrées 2023
Jullouville, France
Aug 04 2023
Festival du Bout du Monde 2023
Crozon, France
Aug 11 2023
Burgas Summer Live
Burgas, Bulgaria
Aug 13 2023
Agriturismo Costantino
Maida, Italy
Aug 20 2023
Palmarosa Festival
Montpellier, France
Aug 25 2023
Connect Music Festival 2023
Newbridge, United Kingdom
Aug 27 2023
Collins Barracks
Dublin, Ireland
Aug 31 2023
Arena Alpe Adria - Lignano Sabbiadoro
Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy
Sep 01 2023
Arena della Regina - Cattolica
Cattolica, Italy
Sep 02 2023
Parco di Serravalle - Empoli
Empoli, Italy




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