Obituary: Scott Hutchison - musician and founder of Frightened Rabbit

ALBUM REVIEW: Owl John - 'Owl John' 1

On Wednesday 9th May 2018, it was revealed to the press that Scott Hutchison, lead singer for and founder of Frightened Rabbit had been reported missing. On 10th May 2018, it was confirmed that Scott had died at just 36 years old.

Scott was raised in the Scottish Borders town of Selkirk with his brother Grant. He moved to Glasgow to study illustration where he eventually found that it was music, not illustration that was his calling; but valued everything he had learned seeking “to apply the rules that I learnt to everything I do, in terms of writing music."

Ironically Scott initially only saw himself as a mere guitarist; he only began singing at nineteen. In 2003, Hutchison began performing under the name Frightened Rabbit, a name given to him by his mother to describe his once shy nature. Scott began recording and performing with his brother Grant the following year. The duo recorded the band's debut album, Sing the Greys, at The Diving Bell Lounge, with producer Marcus MacKay, and released it independently on the local label, Hits the Fan, in 2006. The band was then signed to Fat Cat Records. With continued success and acclaim; the band would be then by signed to Atlantic in 2010. Scott completed the artwork for all five albums Frightened Rabbit released.

2013 would be the bands breakthrough year with the bands' fourth album, Pedestrian Verse entering the top ten in the official album charts. The album theme centred on “songs about made up people and places”. Their live reputation would also surge; resulting in a sell-out gig at London’s Brixton Academy. When it was time to follow up Pedestrian Verse; Frightened Rabbit rose to the challenge. In 2016 the band released their fifth album: Painting of a Panic Attack where Scott offered his “perceptive take on human relationships” revealing “the ups and downs… that haunt his thoughts”. Painting of a Panic Attack entered the top 20 in the official album charts and was rated 9/10 by XS Noize. Why? The album not only took a different direction from its predecessor; but also exceeded the high expectations the growing Frightened Rabbit fanbase had.

In addition to his work with Frightened Rabbit, Scott also embarked upon a solo project under the pseudonym of Owl John, described by XS Noize as “a fantastic work”. Hutchison also bravely and tirelessly raised awareness about mental health. He explored the themes of Mental Health with the Fruit Tree Foundation, a Scottish supergroup consisting of the Twilight Sad leader James Graham, the Delgados' Emma Pollock and Idlewild's Rod Jones to name a few. Earlier this year Scott embarked upon another side project Mastersystem releasing Dance Music, which “definitely (had) some powerful and emotional lyrics” deserving our attention and analysis.

Scott was also involved with the production of Editors sixth album Violence which entered the top 10 earlier this year. Hutchison’s musical influence had undoubtedly already rubbed off on new and talented musicians. For example, Typhoon’s Offerings LP when reviewed by XS Noize in February 2018 was described as “inhabit(ing) the same orbit as fellow travellers Frightened Rabbit…”

In the very early days, Frightened Rabbit would give out their email address and tell fans they could request free demos. Scott would send biscuits out with the demos and the requests increased. One thing is undeniable: “It was not just the biscuits that made the band unforgettable, it was their memorable songs” as well as the genius, heart, humanity, honesty and man behind them: Scott Hutchison.”

Xsnoize Author
Michael Barron 331 Articles
Michael first began writing whilst studying at university; reviewing the latest releases and live gigs. He has since contributed to the Fortean Times as well as other publications. Michael’s musical tastes vary from Indie to psychedelic, folk and dubstep.

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