Alex Kapranos is the frontman of the beloved Scottish dance-pop band Franz Ferdinand and a member of the new supergroup of sorts called BNQT. The band includes Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses and Jason Lytle of Grandaddy. Their new album comes out later this month.
We actually caught up with Alex the last time Franz Ferdinand dropped a record and he gave us a soundtrack with international sounds.
R.M. Hubbert (with Aidan Moffat and Alex Kapranos) – “Car Song”
Alex Kapranos: The first track I’d like to pick is called Car Song and it’s by R.M. Hubbard and Aidan Moffat.
Hubbert comes from a real kind of punk rock background. Although he’s coming from that style of playing the guitar, he plays a flamenco guitar and plays in this gentle, beautiful way.
Aidan has one of these very deep Scottish voices and tells these very evocative tales that draw you in. He switches and he starts singing and it feels like the whole song rises and swells.
It’s a song about escape as well and wanting to go off something greater than where you are. I guess that should be what a good party is as well. You know, like, you’ve taken time out of the ordinariness of everyday life and got together with these people who mean a lot to you.
Kraftwerk – “Radio-Activity”
The second song is “Radio-Activity” by Kraftwerk, the pioneers of electronic music.
Here your blood is going to pump around your body a little bit faster while this is going, but at the same time, it’s not going to interfere with any conversation, like if you’re hearing some fantastic bit of gossip to your left.
I think at the time they were a little bit misunderstood because they presented themselves as being quite cold and robotic, that there was no emotion in the music, which is completely not true. It’s almost tragic, the wistfulness and pathos within Kraftwerk.
Most folk I would invite to a dinner party love Kraftwerk and they’d be very happy to listen to some. So, I’m making it for them! I’m making it for my pals! What can I say?
Los Corraleros De Majagual – “Cumbia Campesina”
So number three, I want to bring the beat up a little but more and have a piece of music that might get the crazier members of the congregation up on their feet. The song I’d like to choose is Cumbia Campesina and it’s by a band called Los Corraleros, you’ll have to excuse my pronunciation.
Cumbia evolved in Latin America. It’s sort of folk music of the area, but not really. It’s kind of party music as well. It had a very distinctive beat.
The tempo is really slow, but over the top of it you have a double time percussion thing going. So you have this music which had space in order for the melody to exist, but also this kind of uplifting rhythm.
Franz Ferdinand – “Stand on the Horizon”
So if I had to play one of our songs at this dinner party, I know the one, I’d pick “Stand on the Horizon.”
We worked on this song with a Norwegian guy called Todd Terje. He comes from a different world than us. It sounds like something the neither of us would have done on our own, which is what a collaboration should be.
Sum of the parts… no, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts? I can’t remember the expression! Sounds pretty good. That’s all I mean.