Ahead of Glasgow-based band Franz Ferdinand’s new album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, front man Alex Kapranos shows T+L there’s more to touring than partying like a rock star.
Q: What are some perks of traveling as a musician?
A: You pick up all sorts of musical influences. I love Colombian cumbia and Peruvian chicha. The melodies have great melancholy, but the rhythms are lively.
Q: Do you bring home souvenirs?
A: I try to collect unusual instruments. My favorite is an earthenware bowl used at weddings in Peru. It has a space between two layers that’s filled with fine stones. After you eat, you shake the bowl to make a percussive sound while everyone dances.
Q: Have you experienced other local traditions?
A: In Ethiopia, there’s a coffee ceremony during which they grind beans in a mortar, boil the grounds on a charcoal fire, and burn frankincense when it’s served. It’s as if your taste buds and sense of smell collide in your brain.
Q: Any recommendations closer to home?
A: Glasgow is famous for its buildings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who rebelled against 19th-century stuffiness. There’s a corridor linking two parts of his Glasgow School of Art that has a breathtaking view. Get up there on a summer day; the sun illuminates the huge cumulonimbus clouds. It’s a stirring sight.
Marguerite A. Suozzi is an associate research editor at Travel + Leisure.