Franz Ferdinand Look To Amerie For Songwriting Inspiration

Band has already written 14 songs for next album.

Franz Ferdinand stories always seem to fall into one of two categories: those that deal with the group's near-constant (and awe-inspiring) sartorial splendor, and those that deal with their near-constant (and equally awe-inspiring) rate of songwriting. And, well, this is another one of those stories.

Even though they're in the midst of a sold-out European tour, Franz have already written 14 new songs, and they're planning on hitting the studio in January to begin work on the follow-up to You Could Have It So Much Better, which just hit stores in October.

"Well yeah, [guitarist] Nick [McCarthy] and I have been working on a bunch of new songs, because that's what we love to do," Franz frontman Alex Kapranos laughed. "Right now, there are five of them we're playing during soundchecks, and there are about nine others that are a little less developed. We've got time off in January, so Nick and I are going to head into the studio to record some of them, too."

Kapranos said that the new songs are different than anything the group has ever written before, relying heavily on the rhythm section of bassist Bob Hardy and drummer Paul Thomson, and that they have a deeper, R&B-influenced groove. But — as is legally required by every musician in a successful rock band — he also assured fans that the songs won't deviate too far from the group's established sound.

"The songs are a lot grander — less spiky than anything we've done previously. Where we used to pound through beats in one bar, now we're taking three or four bars. And we don't come charging in with the guitars, we're leaning back against the beat," Kapranos explained. "I've been listening to a bit of Kanye West, and I think Amerie's '1 Thing' is amazing. That's what some of the new stuff is sounding like. But of course, it's still us."

The band fully intends on using the studio time in January to record songs for a brand-new album — no lame B-sides or compilation-fillers here — though Kapranos isn't exactly sure when that new LP will surface. Though, if he had his way, it'd be sooner rather than later.

"I wish things were like they were back in the 1960s, when bands were almost required to release an album every six months," he sighed. "The way things are now, you make a record, and then it sits around for months and months and months while marketing campaigns are devised."

In the meantime, Franz are gearing up for the release of their next U.S. single, "The Fallen," for which they just shot a video with directorial duo Alex & Martin (see "No Worries, Franz Ferdinand Don't Understand Their Songs Either"), and of course, they'll continue to tour the world in support of You Could Have It So Much Better. In fact, they've just been tapped to open a pair of dates for art-rock stalwarts Depeche Mode, which has Kapranos itching to break out the eyeliner.

"I can't wait. I'm such a huge fan of Depeche Mode, so the shows are going to be such fun," he laughed. "I mean, 'Personal Jesus' is one of the top 10 songs ever written. At least one of the top 10 songs written about Jesus."

For a feature on Franz Ferdinand, check out "Franz Ferdinand: Hooks And Books."