Q&A - Rats on Rafts
Dutch indie rock, psych-punks, Rats on Rafts have cultivated a reputation for their roaring and incendiary live performances. Full tilt, full throttle and mercilessly ferocious, a Rats on Rafts’ set will leave you shaking, twitching and sweating adrenaline.
However, with two albums in the bank and another about to be released their reputation is becoming a little more expansive; proving that they are skilled and able enough to translate their live energy into their recorded work. Their latest album is a collaboration with New Wave Dutch punk legends, De Kift and if the new single, ‘Sleep Links 2 3 4’ is anything to go by then their upcoming European tour will be a rare treat, indeed. One stop one their travels will be Liverpool Psych-Fest and we caught up with them to discuss their forthcoming performance, the Dutch music scene in 2016 and future dream collaborations.
Q. Hello, Rats on Rafts! How the hell are you? Indulge us (please) in answering a question that you must of heard more times than is psychologically acceptable: Can you tell us how you all met, how the band came together and what your ambitions were when you started out?
A. We formed in school about 11 years ago. We all listened to the same kind of music so we wanted to start a band but none of us could actually play. We just wanted to make music like the stuff we enjoyed at that age, cause we felt all other bands were crap.
Q. As part of your 2016 tour you will be playing at the Liverpool Psych-Fest this September, what can we expect to see from you?
A. We constantly change things. We hope it will feel like a pleasant collision with a speeding vehicle.
Q. You hail from, Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Liverpool Psych-Fest has attracted musicians from all over the world. What do you think is behind the international appeal of psychedelic music?
A. Drugs! Nah, every style/genre of music could apply psychedelics to their own and I guess the meaning of the word is quite loose.
Q. You released the album, ‘Tape Hiss’ last year. Can you tell us some of the ambitions and inspirations behind this work?
A. We wanted to capture the energy of what we we’re playing live at that point in time. We had been in the studio quite a few times so we figured the best way to do it was to record everything live in one go, like you would play a show. And we wanted everything to be done on tape and mix it from tape to tape so we would keep the analogue sound.
Q. You subsequently released the single, ‘Sleep Links 2 3 4’ this year - featuring De Kift. This after sharing the stage with De Kift at the Metropolis festival in 2013. How did this collaboration/relationship come about?
A. We played at the festival a year before our show with de Kift, and that show was stopped halfway through because of lightning. It was a dreadful day. The next year they offered us a special spot on the festival cause of its 25th birthday. They asked us to do something special for it. I went to see de Kift play a few weeks later and thought to myself that it would be cool if we could do something together with them. It happened to be their 25th birthday as well and I was 25 at the moment. Normally I don’t believe in that crap, but was this a coincidence?
Q. You have pledged ‘special allegiance’ Rotterdam's New Wave, Pop and Punk scenes. What is this scene like in 2016 Rotterdam?
A. Nothing much, nothing at all as far as I’m concerned. We’ve always been quite isolated. We like to work on our music, most groups in Rotterdam want to hang out in the city and talk about what it like to be in a band hahaha.
Q. At the risk of sounding a little repetitive here but…you also shared a stage with Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand) at The Great Wide Open festival. You clearly enjoy incorporating different energies and performers into your work. If you were to choose (in an ideal world) future collaborations, who would they be and why?
A. We recently did something similar with David Thomas of Pere Ubu, that was really great. Someone like van Dyke Parks would probably be interesting, because even though we do something completely different it could be interesting putting the two things together.
Q. Can you tell us what are your plans for the future and what are you working on at the moment?
A. First of all we will be touring through Europe from the 8th of September till the 2nd of October. After that we will be releasing our record with de Kift and playing some shows with them. In the meantime we will continue to work on new stuff, like we have been doing the last half year and hopefully record a new record somewhere in 2017.
Q. Finally, what other bands/musicians are you looking forward to seeing at Liverpool Psych Fest?
A. To be honest, I have yet to check out the schedule and see if we have enough time to see some groups play. I like to hear things I haven’t heard of yet.