Photograph by Sren Solkær Starbird
The Scottish dance-punk band's frontman is rock's answer to James Bond: suave, nattily dressed, slightly mysterious, and a connoisseur of fine food and drink. Here, Kapranos talks about his after-hours missions and the musical skeleton in his closet. Matt Hendrickson
Q: Your new album, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, is all about nocturnal debauchery. What's your idea of a big night out?
A: The best is when you embrace being lost. And the next thing you know, the dawn is coming through the chink in the curtain and you're ready for a cuddle.
Q: Have you had a cuddle recently?
A: I'll never tell. But we did this word-of-mouth gig in a basement in Glasgow, and in the middle of the third song, the power went out on the whole block. It got a little messy after that.
Q: You guys recorded Tonight with some pretty morbid instruments.
A: Our guitarist Nick [McCarthy] and I went to an auction and bought these boxes of bones. We put the skeleton together—Nick was clapping its hands together, and I had a clavicle I rattled around the pelvis. It wasn't macabre—it was just objects that made a good sound. There were no Ouija boards involved.
Q: You wrote a food column for the Guardian, then collected the pieces into a book, Sound Bites. Any more culinary writing in your future?
A: I'll continue to write, but I'm done with food. I had offers to host these weird cooking shows. No fucking way! I'm a rock-and-roller! I can't be standing there baking a cake for the telly!
The music video for "Ulysses," one of the band's new tracks