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Franz Ferdinand   2004  
BIO - Franz Ferdinand
Taking their name from the Austro-Hungarian archduke whose murder sparked the start of World War One, Glaswegian art-rockers Franz Ferdinand became household names in 2004 with the release of their self-titled debut album. Singles Take Me Out, Matinee and Michael were all critically and publicly acclaimed, and led to them winning the prestigious 2004 Mercury Music Prize.

Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand, who shot to prominence in 2004, have been nominated for five Brit Awards. Franz Ferdinand have sold two million albums worldwide With their self-titled debut, Franz Ferdinand have achieved what most rock bands crave - high credibility and critical acclaim while also selling stacks of CDs. They have risen to the head of the UK's art rock ranks with an album of songs that are catchy, creative and original enough to sound fresh. With a cool, spiky, fun sound previously associated with bands like Talking Heads, they hit upon a style that had been out of fashion for a while and so was ripe for another airing.

Their first UK single hit number three last January, followed by two more top 20 hits, while the album has sold more than 600,000 copies in 11 months on release. In September it was named album of the year winning the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. International acclaim On the festivals circuit, they have been one of the main attractions for huge crowds at Glastonbury, T in the Park and Reading/Leeds. They have also found success in Japan, Europe and the US. By September the album had sold 500,000 in the States and total sales were pushing two million worldwide. They have been nominated for three Grammy awards in the US as well as the US music industry's Shortlist award, but lost the Shortlist prize to US band TV on the Radio. Nevertheless Franz Ferdinand were the only UK band to win an MTV Video Music Award this year, taking the breakthrough video crown for Take Me Out. Tune quest

The four-piece met two years ago when drummer Paul Thomson was working at the Glasgow art school where bassist Bob Hardy was studying. Singer Alex Kapranos was studying English at university but had friends at art school, and the line-up was completed when guitarist Nick McCarthy moved from Munich, Germany, to the city. At the turn of the year, Kapranos told BBC News Online the band were fed up with serious bands in "that post-rock thing that seemed to be doing its damndest to avoid any bloody tune".

The band were chased by 40 record labels before signing a deal "We want people to go away from the gigs humming the tunes that we were singing. But at the same time bringing an edge to it." Franz Ferdinand had a question they asked themselves every time they wrote a song, Kapranos said. "Where's the fun in that?" they pondered at every stage, making enjoyment the top priority and ensuring they did not disappear up their own muso posteriors. The band started out with a DIY ethic that saw them take over a disused art-deco warehouse in Glasgow and rename it The Chateau. The venue soon became legendary - so well-known that the police spent a month trying to find it, eventually raiding it and arresting Kapranos. But the charges of running an illegal bar and contravening health and safety, fire hazard and noise abatement laws were dropped. Buzz The band took over an abandoned Victorian courtroom and jail instead, and named that The Chateau.

The buzz about the band soon spread around the music industry and 40 record labels turned up to one gig in Glasgow - which the band thought was "totally ridiculous". "I'm really glad it was almost comical because we weren't overwhelmed by the seriousness of it," Kapranos said. They signed with independent label Domino, home of Smog, Sebadoh and Four Tet, in June 2003.

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