Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes have had a crazy year. They’ve played all kinds of festivals, have a new album coming out soon and are currently in the middle of their tour. So, here’s what happened when we sat down with Frank for a chat before their show in Leeds.
Your new album isn’t out until January, so why did you choose to tour before?
“We wanted to make sure that people got the most out of Blossom before we released the new album. After we released Blossom, we toured too quickly. People didn’t have chance to get to know it well enough because we went straight onto a support tour followed by the Kerrang tour and festivals. This is our first proper headline tour. But we’ll be back touring again in March for the new album, Modern Ruin”.
What can fans expect from Modern Ruin?
“12 complex rock and roll songs. We really tried to push ourselves with the album, we’ve done stuff that we never have before with it. There’s so much more depth to it. It’s an album about ancient things, the future and how relationships can tie these things together. We started writing the album in September last year and finished in December, but we wanted to let Blossom have its moment.”
The album artwork is really colourful and quite abstract. What inspired this?
“I’m an artist, and for the first album I actually hand painted so many album covers. We wanted another artistic element like this that was more practical. We ended up using iPhone photos from our lives and the tour, which were converted into their text files. We then typed some of our song lyrics into the text files, which fractures the images, splits the colours and either produces something awesome or s**t. So we picked the best ones for the album artwork, there’s some kind of magic in it.”
You’ve toured all over the UK and the world, what’s your favourite place to play?
“Travelling is definitely the best part of this job, it’s mad that we get to connect to people all over the world. No one place is better than another, they all have their pros and cons. But home will always be somewhere I love to play. It’s where I grew up going to gigs. It’s definitely easier to see the steps that we’ve taken in the UK, as we move onto bigger venues and more dates each time.”
Do you prefer smaller venues or festival main stages?
“There’s no favourite. But I’ve wanted to play Leeds main stage since I was 15, so that was a big moment. Ultimately, I’d love to headline one day. But I just really appreciate what I’m doing now. I really care about our fans. I had the opportunity twice already and lost it. But now I’m older, wiser and I really do care.”
Any festival hints for next year?
“We haven’t actually been approached by any UK festivals just yet. We’re hoping that Leeds/Reading and Download will have us back again. But so far we’ve agreed to a few european festivals and hope to play as many festivals as possible next year. I love festivals.”
What’s better now compared to Gallows?
“Everything’s better. I’m older now. I used to be obnoxious, tiresome, insecure and a bit of c**t. Back then I was scared of music, but now I realise that music is the reason I’m here. I’ve got so much more respect for the position I’m in. I used to be angry at myself but blame the world for it, whereas now I recognise when I’m angry at myself. Plus, we have better songs now.”
You were nominated for Kerrang‘s ‘Best Live Band’ this year. What makes your gigs so great?
“It sounds cliched. But every gig we play, I imagine that it’s the last one we’ll get to play. We give everything and we have so much admiration for our fans. I come off stage soaked and exhausted after every show, because I want to give it everything. I want people to feel the songs. I want the songs to come alive. I want the music to be a force. I’m so lucky to have this career, and when fans say ‘you’re my hero’ I say it back to them, because they are.”
How do you manage to fit in the time to be a father, husband, tattooist and the lead of a band?
“I don’t. I tattoo very rarely now, only the occasional week in the shop. The band is now my focus. We make all of our decisions and want to keep in control of everything, so there’s more work for us to do.”
What’s your favourite tattoo?
“My daughter’s name, because it’s close to my heart. I tattooed it myself after she was born.”
If you had to give music or tattooing up, which would it be?
“Tattooing. I’ve almost given it up now. For years I said I was a tattoo artist first, music came second. But performing feeds my soul. Tattooing brings more money for my family, but I don’t get as much out of it as I do with music. My family would rather me be happier.”
What’s the highlight for the Rattlesnakes so far?
“Playing main stage at Reading and Leeds and having my daughter watch. She wasn’t even one, so she probably won’t even remember but she’ll be coming to see us again soon.”
How do you find inspiration for new music?
“I write songs from experience. So, what I’m going through or what people I know are going through. First hand experiences. My music is autobiographical. Modern Ruin presents the idea that relationships are like a battlefield. This came from me watching news coverage of bombings and warfare, and drawing parallels between this and the way I’d been with my family. I’m not proud of it, but mistakes and success are equally important. I try not to live in the past or future though, only the present.”
Modern Ruin is out 27/01/17.
Preorder here: http://www.andtherattlesnakes.com
Interview conducted by Charlotte Crouch.
Written and Edited by Charlotte Crouch.