Glasgow’s French Wives are a terrific band that have created a sound that is distinctly theirs, yet varies within itself. Their debut record Dream of the Inbetween exemplifies that amazing diversity by way of it’s remarkably written songs and striking arrangements. Excited to hear that French Wives were working on new music, AMBY spoke to singer/guitarist Stuart Dougan about the next record, Fleetwood Mac, and a funny moment you will have to see for yourself.
AMBY: How would you describe French Wives’ sound to those unfamiliar with your music?
French Wives: We try and make melodic pop music in many and varied ways.
AMBY: What is the funniest thing to happen to you at one of your gigs?
French Wives: Probably this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhfPzuOAo-g
No-one likes ‘that guy’ at a gig and yet whenever we play a festival, ‘that guy’, tends to stumble into our tent. It was hard to keep playing whilst laughing at the state of him but fortunately he didn’t hang around too long.
AMBY: Younger is a lovely song, what is the story behind it?
French Wives: Thanks very much. When I was a student I spent most of my Thursday evenings at The Glasgow School of Art and lived a fairly care free hedonistic lifestyle. A lot of the lyrics for Younger came from a night out that I had there shortly before we recorded the album and even though it had only been 2 or 3 years since I’d been there, I felt like the oldest person in the building by a decade. It really depressed me to see so many people doing the things I used to do and realising that for me those days were over. It’s basically a lament to a perceived loss of youth and sounds quite bitter and defeatist in places but still full of hope as it’s better to embrace growing up and moving on instead of hanging about somewhere you feel you no longer belong. The kids are alright so just leave them to it, i say.
AMBY: You released your debut album Dream of the Inbetween last year, what are your feelings about it now that you’ve had time to reflect on it?
French Wives: I’m still really proud of the record and I guess I always will be as it’s our first full length album. Looking back I think it was the best record we could’ve made at the time but definitely not the best we will make. The whole process was an amazing learning curve, especially working with someone like Tony Doogan and I think having that experience has improved us enormously as a band. We weren’t really able to tour as much as we would’ve liked after the release of the album as our line up changed and took a bit of time to get settled down which was frustrating but in the long run, in everyone’s best interests. It’s not sold thousands of copies but it’s been well received and we’ve been contacted by people from far flung corners of the world that have bought it which is a really nice thought. It’s not going anywhere either so it’s always waiting to be discovered by plenty more folk.
AMBY: What does the band have planned next?
French Wives: At the moment we’re putting the finish touches to writing our next record which is exciting. We’re also going to be releasing some new music fairly soon too which we can’t wait for. Since Frankie joined the band our sound has changed a little and I think it’s the best we’ve ever sounded.
AMBY: Who would your dream gig be with?
French Wives: I’ll say Fleetwood Mac, just in case they’re reading this and want to take us out on tour this year.
AMBY: Which artists have you been listening to lately?
French Wives: I’ve been listening to the new Foals record non stop. It’s amazing.
AMBY: If you could invite any three people to dinner, who would you choose?
French Wives: I’d invite Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake and Dave Grohl, just because I think we’d all be really good mates. We’d probably just have some beers and a pizza and shoot the breeze. Can’t invite any woman round as they’d only have eyes for Gosling and Trousersnake. Shame, really.
AMBY: What has you excited for 2013?
French Wives: I’m excited to see Frightened Rabbit and CHVRCHES doing so well so early in 2013. Both great bands that deserve great things and it nice when nice things happen to nice people isn’t it? I’m also buzzing like a jar of bee’s for the new Phoenix record. One of my favourite bands and the single the streamed last week is great.
AMBY: If you could create a law that everyone would have to follow, what would it be?
French Wives: Mandatory gratuity in bars/restautants. I know it’s quite common place round your neck of the woods but in Glasgow it’s free reign and I need some new shoes so every little helps.
AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about French Wives that nobody knows yet?
French Wives: Our drummer Jonny was a child actor in a TV show called ‘Two Thousand Acres of Sky’ (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0287276/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1). All of our friends know this but I’ve never said it in an interview before and today I feel compelled to spread the word.
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