RATATAT Talks with WRUV

Curt: There is very little out there that sounds like you guys, where do you get your sound from?

Even: I think between the two of us our tastes are like, all over the place. I tend to get really obsessed with certain things. I was getting really into dub a couple months ago, I listened to tons of that and lately I’ve been listening to The Kinks all the time, so it’s kind of always different. A little Hip-hop too.

What’s in your cd player right now?

Evan: Well today we listened to this dude Sigon, this rapper from Brooklyn.

Mike: I’m listening to Wu Tang Forever.

What inspires your music?

E: I think it’s kind of every thing.

M: Everything you do.

E: I never think there’s a direct inspiration. It’s not like I hear something and think oh I’m going to imitate that. I just always feel the need to make music. I think all the inspiration gets filtered down and by the end you can’t tell where anything came from.

Are you ever doing something totally odd and a song just comes to you?

M: Sometimes, if you’re on the subway or something you’ll just hear a melody. I wish that happened all the time.

E: They’re never very good songs though, they usually turn out to be really lame ideas.

What would you classify your music as?

E: Music

M: I don’t know… songs? It’s just crazy, instrumental, electronic.

E: I like to think that’s its completely void of jazz, that’s about it.

Of the songs you have out now, what do think best indicates the direction your music is heading?

M: It’s hard to say because we have brand new songs that we’re playing on this tour…but you haven’t heard them yet.

E: I don’t know if there’s really a song on the record that does because we’re only a couple songs into the next record.

You say your instrumental, is that ever going to change? Are you going to have singers or MC’s over your stuff? E: We don’t have any plans of working with anyone, but the remixes are really fun too, but for our albums they’ll probably be instrumental.

Do you do instrumental because neither of you have a good singing voice?

E: Yeah.

M: I don’t like writing lyrics either. I guess if I was a good singer I could get into it.

E: I thought about taking voice lessons.

M: Me too! But I’m too afraid to sing in front of the teacher.

But you’re ok with performing on stage?

M: As long as I don’t have to sing.

Do you listen to your own music?

M: Yeah I like it. We’ll make a new song and we’ll listen to it over and over, we don’t really listen to the whole album any more.

What’s your favorite song that you’ve ever done?

M: A new one that none of you have heard yet.

E: It doesn’t have a name yet.

Do you guys have anything planed for the show, like dance moves or pyrotechnics?

M: We’ve talked about that {pyrotechnics]. That’s the next step

E: Yeah except great white messed it up for everyone.

What’s your favorite cereal?

E: I always think I have a favorite and I’ll buy a box and buy the end of the box I’ll get sick of it. The last time that happened it was Golden Grahams. But by the end of the box I was like, ‘Uh-uh, I don’t need these for a while.’

M: I like Lucky Charms, in particular the shamrocks. I used to loooove Cookie Crisp and how at the end of the bowl the milk would be grey.

Where’s home for you guys?

M: Brooklyn, I don’t miss home, I hate my apartment, it’s leaking stuff.

E: I miss home, but not yet, this tour has only been a few days so far. I’m not dying to get home yet.

What was the first show you ever went to and how old were you?

M: I saw Richie Haven’s when I was about 12, I didn’t know who he was back then, but it was ok.

E: I went to a bunch of weird local shows when I was 13 because I had an older brother who played in a band. He’s in a band now called 1999, but then his band was call the Smoking Monkeys.

Is there any band who you strive to be like?

M: Not really.

E: Actually there was this guy Herb Albert and the Tijuana Band in the 60’s who had all these number one hits that were instrumental Mexican songs. He seemed to kinda fade out at some point but he was playing sold out stadium tours doing instrumental Mexican music, so I’m inspired by that.

Do you have a ritual before the show?

M: I have weird little things I have to do before I go to bed. I used to drive my sister crazy because I would have to touch all the door knobs. I felt like something bad was going to happen if I didn’t do it. I’ve been trying not to do it any more.

You’ve been out of the country on tour?

M: We did a tour in the UK which was kinda hard. Some of the crowds just didn’t get it but some liked it. We played in Switzerland and Paris. The second one in Switzerland was really good. We did pretty well in Paris too, people were dancing.

We have a call asking about your unique sounds, in particular the backwards guitar sound. Is that something that happened when you were playing around with effects or is it just something you’ve always done?

M: A lot of times guitar parts just sound cooler backwards. We’ll get a melody playing and think, ‘Ok, this sounds kinda boring,’ so we’ll record it backwards and then flip it. It gives it a more unique sound. Plus we only had one pedal, we didn’t have an amp, we made our own, so it was a way to get a different sound.

How old were you when you first played music?

E: I took guitar lessons when I was 10 or 11 then I bought a 4 track in 9th grade, once I had that I spent a lot of time just making stupid songs… horrible songs. Then I made horrible songs up until I was 23.

M: Me too. Yeah, I don’t think I made a single cool thing until I was about 23.

In high school were you popular? Or were you the kid who was sitting in the corner with his headphones on?

M: I wasn’t very popular. I didn’t drink or anything so I never went out to parties. I feel like some people knew who I was, like, ‘Oh look, that dude plays guitar.’

E: You had a rep

M: Yeah, I had a serious rep, but I only had two friends

E: I went to a really small high school and I didn’t really like anyone there.

So if you’re listening and you went to Evan’s high school, he hated you.

E: I liked Rob; he was the one person I got along with. All my friends went to school on the other side of town. I would just get to school as late as possible and leave as early as possible.

M: High school sucks.

Where did you get the name Ratatat from?

M: Remember that Dr Dre song? (Mike sings) Rat-a-tat-tat, want me to sing the whole song?

Only if it’s radio clean…

E: See, (silence) he’s singing the clean version now.

M: I guess that’s where it came from. We had this test where we had a possible album cover where we would put our name and they all looked stupid, except Ratatat.

What’s the best city you’ve played in? And you don’t have to say Burlington.

E: Well aside from Burlington, Paris was pretty nice

How about in the US?

E: LA is really fun to play in, it’s warm.

When do you think you’ll have a new album coming out?

E: Hopefully by the end of the year

M: That’s very hopefully

Who is the rapper that you have samples of throughout the cd?

E: It’s Will Smith. No, his name is Young Churf, he’s from where we live in Brooklyn.

Is there anything that you want to pass on to your fans or tell people about the show tonight?

M: It’s going to be good! I don’t know, hopefully come.

E: We’re gonna go crazy

M: We’re going to burn the house down with our sounds.