Franz Ferdinand bring the Hits to Montreal

Scroll this

Alex Kapranos is relieved to be back out on the road with his band Franz Ferdinand right now. After a couple of years of uncertainty, the Scottish five-piece is bringing their “Hits To The Head” tour to Montreal on August 16th, playing at MTelus with support from Vundabar. “Let’s just call it Metropolis,” he says over Zoom from The Fillmore in Philadelphia.


“You know, I think there were times during the darkest moments of the pandemic when we all wondered if we’d ever get to do it again,” he admits. “So yeah, I’m, I’m definitely savouring being able to play these songs to audiences. It’s a good atmosphere, you know, it’s a really good atmosphere. We did this Hits To The Head record, which is like 20 of the hits of the last 20 years or so. And it’s really nice. I don’t think we’ve ever played anything like this before. And I don’t think we ever will again.”

Armed with an astute sense of what constitutes the “classic pop song” (famously proclaiming that they write music “to make girls dance to”) the music of Franz Ferdinand continues to resonate globally, and over the course of nearly two decades, they’ve become, commercially and critically, one of the biggest UK bands in the world, selling over 10 million albums, winning Brit, Ivor Novello + Mercury Prize awards, Grammy nominations and selling 6 million tickets for their incendiary live show worldwide.

“We’ve been nominated for five Grammys. Haven’t won a single fucking one.”

Franz Ferdinand signed to Domino in May 2003 and released their first single, “Darts Of Pleasure” shortly after. Second single, “Take Me Out” exploded onto the international stage, putting the band firmly on the global map and was a precursor to their eponymous debut album, which went on to sell nearly four million copies worldwide. Alex tells me that it felt like the right time to look back.

“We talked about doing like a record like this for a long time. I’ve always liked greatest hits records. I think it’s a fun thing to do for a band. I would speak to Domino about it for years. And then Laurence (Bell) was going listen; you can only really fit 20 songs on a double LP. So we thought, yeah, we should do it now. And so we’ve done the record, and now’s the time to tour it. It’d be weird putting the record out and not touring it. It felt like the right thing to do.”

On this current tour, although it revolves around the hits, the setlist tends to change from night to night.

“It’s so both me and the band don’t feel like it’s a routine, you know,” Alex says. “I know what makes a good setlist. I know that you can say, all right, these three songs are always going to be good openers and that will kind of build it. But I think it’s kind of cool to have a degree of the unexpected about a setlist, both for the audience and for you as a performer. Because every gig should feel different. You know, Julian was talking to somebody he knows who plays in a band where everything’s on track. Every set is exactly the same to the split second, and I think that would drive me insane. It would be like Sisyphus rolling the rock up the hill in Hades, you know, like the repetition of the same thing every day. I think you would grow to hate your own music. I love the idea of unpredictability and also leaving space to respond to the audience as well. Cause you know, every audience is different, and you play to different people, and you play to the audience as a whole. And yeah, I love that. That’s what makes it exciting for me.”

This will be the third time Franz Ferdinand has headlined at Metropolis/Mtelus, and Alex says he’s looking forward to being back in Montreal.

“I really like Montreal,” he says. “It doesn’t really feel like anywhere else in Canada or North America. It totally has its own identity, and I love that about it. I also love coming to Montreal because I get to speak my terrible French when I’m on stage, which is kind of fun. Also, Montreal always had like a kind of good bohemian kind of sub-culture vibe about it as well, which means there’s always good record shops. There’s good vintage shops and I’m a sucker for that stuff. I love just having a wander around and I still have a baseball jacket I picked up in Montreal probably about 12 years ago, and I still wear all the time. There’s a huge park. It’s at the north of Montreal. It feels really wild and there’s those big wooded sections in it as well. I love that place because you can kinda walk in and feel like you’re getting lost to a degree as well. Of course, a wee bit of poutine doesn’t go amiss as well. And what’s the name of the great soul beef place? Schwartz’s. I know it’s the place where every tourist goes, but damn, it feels pretty exciting to me. I love it.”

Watch the full interview with Alex below:

Hits To The Head is out now on Domino Records

Photo credit – David Edwards

Share this :

Submit a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.