Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes may have only released their first record, Blossom, in 2015, but frontman, Frank Carter, has been around the music industry since 2005. With an Australian Tour on the near horizon, we managed to snag a chat with the man himself to talk touring, writing, recording and musical influences. Read on to see what Frank Carter had to say.
The first question we asked was if he was looking forward to coming back to Australia, December 2016 being the last time the U.K punk rocker was on our shores. Carter answered, “I cannot fucking wait! I need some sun in my life.” It’s currently the middle of winter in the UK, the temperature in London at the time was six degrees while Australia is sweltering through the height of summer. The band has had almost two months off tour after finishing up a UK run on December 8th of last year. We also asked Carter if he finds himself getting antsy when he isn’t on tour, to which he answered, “I didn’t think I would, but apparently I do.”
On the topic of touring, we asked Carter if he had a favourite song to perform live and he gave quite an interesting answer. “It changes literally every night, I get pumped on a different song every time,” with his favourite not really have much to do with the crowd’s reaction. Frank also mentioned that he was looking forward to performing the track, ‘Lost,’ from 2015’s Blossom, due to changes in the way the song is performed. “It has a different vibe now than when we originally wrote it and it’s taken on a new meaning.”
Every band has their influences, this is the same for Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes with Carter mentioning names like Pink Floyd and Black Flag as a couple, as well as bands like Black Sabbath and Madness. Carter also went on to say that he is a fan of hip hop and trap music. “I listen to a lot of Post Malone and Travis Scott,” also mentioning that he “likes to listen to music that’s completely different from what we play, cos I think it just helps keeps thing interesting.”
Prior to the formation of Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Carter formed the rock band Pure Love and this interviewer asked him how the transition back to punk music was, after being in a rock band. “It’s not like you turn your back on one thing because you’re suddenly playing a different genre of music. It all becomes part of you.” Carter looks back fondly on being in Pure Love saying that “it (Pure Love) helped my singing, it helped my performance.” Even before the formation of Pure Love, Carter had been in Gallows, which was formed back in 2005. Elaborating further on how Pure Love helped form who he is now as a performer, Frank went on to say that “Pure Love brought me up, but it also brought me down in a way. I’d gone from selling out 3000-capped venues in Gallows to struggling to sell out 300-capped venues in my home town.” There is no bitterness in his voice though, and he says that Pure Love really helped him learn and he had to work hard. I was really strong at two of the things that were massive parts of my life.” He says with a laugh that “aggression is a big part of me, it’ something I’m quite good at!” Simply put Carter says, “Yes, it was very easy to go back to punk rock.” Finally, on the topic of the return to punk rock, Carter reminisces on the experience, “It’s very important not to let aggression define and control me, I need to pay all the things I am equal respect.”
Next we asked Carter if, in his opinion, the band’s sound had changed much from the 2015 release of Blossom, to the 2017 release, Modern Ruin. “I mean yeah it has, but, and it’s difficult to answer this question. They were released two years apart and they sound vastly, vastly different, but the reality is, we wrote them eight months apart.” The group released their second album, Modern Ruin, in January of 2017, also releasing the single, ‘Spray Paint Love,’ in November. “The real key is how far we’ve come, we’ve written the song ‘Spray Paint Love,’ which is so different from what came before.”
Continuing on this path, we asked Carter about his song writing process. Whilst answering this question, we had a surprise guest in our interview when Carter’s daughter decided she wanted to have her father’s attention. We shared a chuckle and this interviewer assured Carter that it wasn’t a problem, she was too shy to say hello however, and Carter was able to answer the question. “I’m always writing lyrics, and Dean (Dean Richardson, guitarist and long time friend), is constanty writing riffs, and then we’ll get together and hash out a rough idea of a song.” The band itself is only Carter and Richardson with the rest of the Rattlesnakes being session musicians. “Once we have a demo recorded, then we’ll take it to the boys and flesh it out live. The band belongs to Dean and I.”
Following the serious questions, this interviewer decided to ask a question a little left of field, and questioned Carter on his involvement in the video for ‘Boys,’ by British pop singer Charli XCX. We managed to get another laugh out of Carter as he answered, “I have no idea, to be honest. She just needed a bunch of boys and I happen to be a boy.” The band were in Los Angeles, about to head out on a month long tour. Carter elaborated, going on to say that he’d been a fan of Charli XCX for a long time. “She’s cool, man, she’s so relaxed and she’s got a real vision. Like she’s a pop star, but she’s also an artist.” The music video finds Carter appearing for a few seconds with candles melted to his fingers, which was not originally the plan. “I arrived and was like, right, so where’s these Fruit Loops, and then they said ‘kinda Stormzy (English Grime artist) ate all the cereal!’ so they melted candles to my fingers instead and got my fingertips burned.” Carter’s daughter again popped in to get Dad’s attention but was too shy to say hello.
To finish up Carter told this interviewer that he felt really lucky. “The fans have been really patient and allowed us to kinda work out who we are as a band and I’m really thankful.“
Catch FRANK CARTER AND THE RATTLESNAKES on tour this February. Get your tickets here!