IN September last year, the future of Frightened Rabbit’s future looked uncertain, but 12 months later the Selkirk five-piece are in buoyant mood, preparing for their first ever headline slot at a festival – Electric Fields by Dumfries on Friday night.

Topping a festival bill is a challenge that has surprised singer Scott Hutchison. “It’s not something I ever expected us to be,” he admits.

“It’s down to the fantastic organisers at Electric Fields taking a punt on us. We’re not going to take a second of the set for granted, because if we never do it again then at least we’ve got to do a headline show once.

“We’re champing at the bit, because the tour for the last album [Painting Of A Panic Attack] is almost over and it feels like this is a final hurrah for the campaign. It should be a wonderful way to end it, if everything goes to plan.”

The band seem invigorated these days. Earlier this year they suddenly released a single, Fields of Wheat, as a reaction to the General Election, and already their next full-length album is on the cards. Anyone who caught the band at the tail end of last year, when they performed three straight sold out nights at the Barrowland, would have noticed the energy of the group onstage, and the outpouring of emotion that went with it.

There were reasons for that rawness that went beyond the gigs being celebratory homecoming affairs. In August 2016 Hutchison posted several comments on social media about his mental health and the band, declaring that he didn’t deserve anything that had happened to him in his life, and including the phrase “goodbye to Frightened Rabbit.”

He soon apologised, pointing to a mixture of depression and alcohol, before cancelling a few gigs. Understandably fans worried over his well being.

“I still regret expressing what I did so publicly. I turned to Twitter rather than doing the sensible thing and turning to family and friends, which I would recommend to anyone going through a turbulent time mentally,” he reflects.

“However there was a response to it that perhaps worked, like the silver lining in the dark cloud. Mental health issues can come even at what are outwardly perceived as the highest points in your life. We were touring the world, celebrating releasing an album and all those things going on meant that I should be happy. But it’s not always the case.

“Right now I feel much more stable. I guess part of being a creative person is that you have a masochistic tendency to tap into those feelings, and it can overwhelm you if they take hold. It’s a balancing act and I haven’t mastered it yet.”

The trio of Barrowland gigs then took on extra importance. The band always tilt towards the emotional, with fans heavily devoted to them, and there was an undeniable sense of catharsis last December.

“At the end of a tough year, getting all of us together was a release of emotion. All our family and friends were there and knew what we had been through, and when something like that happens it’s not just me, it affects the four people I work with, it affects family and friends and there was a lot of good feeling on those nights.

“It was a celebration because it’s amazing to overcome obstacles like that and come out the other side stronger. I’ve always been unstable in a way, but I’ll take the rough parts as they come, because they inevitably will again.”

Right now, on the surface at least, all is smooth. The group go from one extreme to the other after Electric Fields, as they are to play a tiny acoustic gig in a Glasgow flat on September 20 in support of Amnesty International’s Give A Home campaign. The event will see around 1000 artists playing in over 300 shows across the globe, focused on raising awareness about the ongoing refugee crisis. For Scott it was an easy decision to get involved.

“We’ve released money on tour in the past for the Scottish Refugee Council by auctioning off drum-heads and things like that. We should always welcome those who are trying to make a better life for themselves. The creative arts can be quite a selfish existence and it’s important to remind ourselves that there’s more that we can do than just writing albums and playing shows. We can use the voice that we have to raise awareness, and cash as well.”

At the moment, Scott’s home is back in Glasgow. He was previously living in Los Angeles with his partner, but has now returned to Scotland, with the knock-on effect of easing things for Frightened Rabbit.

“I really enjoyed my time in LA and it had its peaks and troughs, but coming home feels all the better after being in an alien place for the past 18 months. It’s good to be closer to the band, I’m 15 minutes away from the studio and that’s made progress on the next album a lot quicker.

“At the moment we are at the stage where we have a raft of instrumental material and I need to pull the finger out and write some melodies and lyrics to it. We’ve got 15 pieces of music now so there’ll be more as we go along.”

Frightened Rabbit play Electric Fields at Drumlanrig Castle on Friday.