Nick McCarthy is known best as guitarist/keyboardist in Franz Ferdinand, though his latest creative endeavour is far removed from the typical indie side project. Instead, he has helped compose music for a puppet-based version of Shakespeare's play The Tempest and in so doing revisits his first forays into musical performance. His current band formed in Glasgow, but many of McCarthy's formative years were spent in Germany.
Raised outside Munich, he studied at the city's Conservatory where he learnt piano and double bass. McCarthy also joined a couple of groups, where he played cello and Arabic lute. One of his early collaborators was Philipp Plessmann, now an actor and puppeteer based in Berlin. Together with designer Hank Schmidt in der Beek they have devised an original take on The Tempest.
For The Isle Is Full Of Noises, Plessmann will be visible on stage with his creations. McCarthy, too, will be on hand to provide musical backing. He reckons that because he missed out on interminable lessons about Shakespeare in English classes, the bijou company brings a fresh ear to the possibilities the playwright offers.
"We didn't get dragged through Shakespeare at school, so we don't mind him," McCarthy explains. "We don't like The Globe and all that fake traditional bullshit. We are allergic to A Midsummer Night's Dream. We're not proud of him but we think there's a possibility of getting some rock 'n' roll out of him."
The multi-instrumentalist cites Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair and Flight Of The Conchords as musical exemplars. "We wrote the songs together in Glasgow and the words to the songs – Shakespeare's – fit our music like a glove," he adds. "We think it's a beautiful album."
'The Isle Is Full Of Noises' from 7 - 9 September at Wilton's Music Hall, London, E1. For tickets: 020 7702 2789Reuse content