Updated: Apr 9, 2019
“I’m not shittin’ you, for some reason Newcastle just always stands out for me!”
The Fratellis are heading to Newcastle O2 Academy on Friday 30th March as part of their UK tour. The Scottish trio are set to release their fifth album, ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’ next month, so I caught up with frontman Jon Fratelli to find out his views on the North East and what fans can expect from their new record.
Your new album, ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’, is due for release on Friday 16th March. How would you say this record compares to your previous releases?
I probably wouldn’t compare it, it’s just not my nature to do that; but it’s my favourite record of ours so far. It’s the first time we’ve kinda came close to making something that I would wanna put on and listen to; which is always the goal. At this point, in my opinion it’s the best thing we’ve done and that’s good enough for me!
What inspired the title, ‘In Your Own Sweet Time?’
It’s a line in one of the songs on the record. In terms of it having any great meaning, it can mean absolutely anything you want it to! That’s the beauty of these things, it can mean five different things to five different people.
2018 sees you touring extensively throughout the UK and North America. You must be excited to get back on the road?
Yeah, well it feels like we never really stopped, even though the last time we toured was in 2016. But yanno, we play festivals most summers so it really doesn’t ever feel like you stop. It’s just more of a continuous thing, but each new tour is exciting from the point of view that, hey wow, we still get to do this. That’s the exciting thing, each new tour’s another one in the bag.
As part of your upcoming tour you’re set to play Newcastle’s O2 Academy on Friday 30th March. Northern crowds are renowned for their energetic presence and ability to induce organised chaos. What are your experiences of playing in the North-East?
Newcastle O2 Academy is always on our itinerary, it’s funny because it’s always very loud, and with the noise comes a certain level of enthusiasm. I don’t necessarily remember what the crowds are like in every town or city, but coincidentally, for some reason I always remember Newcastle; because it’s always the same level of enthusiasm every time we play there. I love that venue; it just always works well in there. I’m not shittin’ you, for some reason Newcastle just always stands out for me!
Your body of work is littered with iconic tracks. As a band, is there any particular albums/songs that you enjoy playing the most? If so, why?
What happens really is, as time goes on you make new records and the way you play and write material changes. It’s only natural to find those more recent records the most enjoyable to play, cause that’s where you are at that particular time. With older songs we just play them, and we play them because people ask for them!
When they buy a ticket for your show they’re entitled to ask for whatever it is that they want, and we try and give them it. It really just depends on the night you know? If the crowd are having a particularly good time, then you can have a good time playing anything. We could play Three Blind Mice and still enjoy it all the same!
It’s been 12 years since the release of your critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Costello Music’. Can fans expect to hear some of your earlier material on your upcoming UK tour?
Oh god yeah, we try and fit everything in that people would want to hear!
What would you consider to be The Fratellis’ proudest achievement?
I don’t really do proud; I must be much too lazy to do proud! We’re just still incredibly thankful that we get to do what we do, because for a start it’s the only thing I know how to do, so I’m kinda unemployable otherwise! It’s just thankfulness, I have a ridiculous job, I get to play guitar and sing for a living, you know? The fact it’s been almost 13 years and we’re still getting to do that, it’s not a small thing to us. I’ll take another 13 years like the last, that would be great!
Who would you say are your greatest musical influences?
I can only speak for myself, I got a certain musical education when I was 16/17. It was really just all your usual, classic influences. I really felt that that was broad enough and I took in as much of it as possible. That’s kinda been the case, because I really don’t listen to music that much anymore. It’s not a normal daily occurrence for me to put music on, and yet when you have that sort of background with certain styles of music they’re always there to call upon. Really, that’s where the fun comes in cause then your job is to put as many of those styles together as you can, just as a way of keeping yourself entertained. That’s been the same for years I think.
From Glastonbury to Japan, you’ve played at some incredible venues throughout your career. Are there any particular gigs that stand out to you?
You know, my honest answer is the first gig we ever played, which was in the basement of a little bar in Glasgow Called O’Henrys. It only fitted around 50 people inside and double that seemed to show up; kinda chaotic and a lot of fun. We only had about 6 songs at the time, but there was a definite feeling of, yes, this is happening. We just knew, it wasn’t arrogance or anything, it was just obvious that this was gonna work now. So yeah, still to this day that’s the one that stands out for me.
Lastly, can gig-goers expect any surprises at your upcoming Newcastle show?
I wish I could say yes, but we do the same thing night in night out. Hopefully we put in so much effort that that’s enough. Effort is really all we have to offer, we don’t do bells and whistles, anytime we’ve tried it’s just not really us. But you’ll get effort, that’s guaranteed!
The Fratellis will play Newcastle O2 Academy on Friday 30th March. Tickets, priced at £20.20, are available from ticketmaster.co.uk.