Franz Ferdinand are making an album with veteran synth rockers Sparks, NME can reveal.
Sparks keyboardist Ron Mael told NME that the two bands have been working together since they met in San Francisco in April last year (2013). They hope to finish recording by the time Sparks begin a tour this summer.
“You can really hear a mashing together of both bands,” said Mael. “If there was a train crash between Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, this is what the wreckage would sound like.”
The vocal styles of Franz frontman Alex Kapranos and Sparks singer Russell Mael – Ron’s brother – fuse together well, according to the keyboard player. He said: “Alex and Russell’s voices are very distinctive, so you notice the trade-off between them straight away. Both bands’ styles are coming together pretty seamlessly.”
The two bands first met eight years ago, and Kapranos said in a 2007 Radio 2 documentary about Sparks that he hoped they would eventually record together. Ron Mael said: “We first met in Los Angeles where Franz were playing. We liked what each other does, and it became the usual thing bands say to each other of ‘We should do something together.’ We kept in touch over the years, and last April we both happened to be playing in San Francisco. We struck up the same conversation, but this time we actually started working on it. It seems to be turning into something strong.”
Mael, whose band are known for hits including ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us’ and ‘No 1 Song In Heaven’, admitted that songwriting sessions were initially “tentative”. “We didn’t know what we were supposed to do or how it would work stylistically,” he said. “But we’ve felt around and it’s an exciting experience.”
Franz Ferdinand recently announced they will let fans choose their setlist for BBC Radio 6 Music Festival at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester on March 1. They launch a UK tour at The Roundhouse in London on March 14.
Sparks are working on a movie of their 2009 album ‘The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman’, as well as an album with an undisclosed narrative theme. Mael said: “All the projects help each other. Doing pop songs with Franz Ferdinand is a release after we’ve worked on the narrative album.”