Rat:Daddy – Interview
Ian: “I had problems with my throat, which was causing a lot of trouble with our live shows and delaying the recording of our album. I found out that I had a scarred voice box, which explained why I had been losing my voice on tour.”Tim: “We were going to look for a singer, but I jokingly said ‘I might as well do it’ and then I started to think that maybe I actually could. Jon called me and said I should give it a go and that gave me the confidence to try it.”Jon: “I thought to myself, if someone turned up with a voice like Tim’s, we’d think they were good and want them to join the band.”Tim: “I had to get my head around it though. Eventually, I decided to try it just with acoustic guitars – then through a sound system and finally by getting Ian to play drums one night so I could try it with a full band. It was a new challenge and I really enjoyed it.”Ian: “… and you didn’t need to set up a drum kit!”So with the front-man position suitably filled and on the look out for a drummer, Rat:Daddy started writing some new material.Ian: “We wanted to move on musically without losing the catchiness and energy. We didn’t want our music to be perceived as cheesy anymore.”Tim: “…we wanted to lose the cock but keep the balls!”Ian: “We had a new line up and we didn’t want to try and make it sound like the old one. It was time for a fresh Rat:Daddy with more innovation; still us, but better. It helps that I can concentrate more on playing bass so the lead vocal can be more separate from the instruments.”With a subtle but important change of direction, lead-guitarist Gavin left the band and on the drumming front, ex-Bushbaby drummer Kev Bonett slotted in to fill the all important gap – not only on the drumming front, but also contributing to the creative process.Kev: “I had been on a 10 month break from being in a band and I hadn’t touched a drumstick until that first rehearsal.”Tim: “We have an odd sense of humour and we were quite worried that we would put Kev off, until we found out he was weird too!”Jon: “No one human could have come up with some of the strange time signatures that Kev invents!”Kev: “I thought they were obvious!”
You know a pub is little bit classy when they supply drinks with odd names. More so when they serve your drink on a frilly paper doyley and supply your change on it’s personal tray. Branded soap and nice towels are always an indication and a chap that sprays you with expensive scents and polishes your shoes in the toilet and a clear sign.With all these internationally recognised symbols of false-poshness and psuedo-class on offer, it’s a shame that I discovered that my pub-destination was a bit beyond your typical local by being mistaken for some kind of porter on my way in – I’m not even sure that this place had rooms. However, with hardly anyone noticing the rude gesture I gave the offending party, I made my way to the bar to order a drink.With the intuitive movement of a Swiss timepiece, Rat:Daddy arrive just as I reach the bar and the first round is eventually organised and distributed to the comfy leather chairs at the back of the pub where we all look a little out of place amongst the business-casual dress code.The big news from the Rat:Daddy camp is a dramatic line-up change that sees drummer Tim Hardwick stepping out from behind his kit to take over the lead vocal duties from brother Ian:
Clearly, the new line up is getting on like Arthur Brown and fire. So was it all hugs in the R:D practice room?Ian:
“There is always going to be some tension between me and Tim.”Jon: “It’s mostly sexual tension.”Kev: “It’s a brothers thing.”Ian: “I was worried about Kev getting put off if me and Tim really went at it.”Tim: “We did get quite bad when the music wasn’t right. We had some terrible gigs that were making us pissed off, after which we had to endure a three hour drive home confined within a small car.”Ian: “But that’s all changed now and I feel the pressure is more evenly distributed with our current line up and none of us are scared to tell someone what we think, or if we want to try new ideas.”Tim: “It’s all open and honest, the suggestions are good and none of us mind asking for help. I feel quite a lot of pressure at the moment trying to learn all the words. It doesn’t help that I’m a bit retarded!”Jon: “Ultimately we all share a lot of respect for each other.”So with all this sharing, what is the new material like?Kev: “It’s rock. It’s melodic. There are indie elements too. It’s all about huge vocal hooks and guitar hooks.”Jon: “Tim’s singing has taken us away from a big belt-out vocal. It’s more dynamic and it changed our sound instantly.”Ian: “It’s more contemporary and there are less lyrics about doing it! It’s more mature, although that sounds like a dangerous word.”Jon: “The danger is that Rat:Daddy will become more credible. We’ve always been an entertaining band, but want to be remembered for our music. No more comparisons to White Snake and no more leather trousers.”Kev: “It’s got to have more to it than a 40 minute cock rock show.”Jon: “Not that we’re about to go up our own arses.”Ian: “No – we think we will still appeal to all our fans. In fact, I think we needed to move in a new direction for them. They’ve been so supportive in the past, we hope they haven’t forgotten us!”
So when do we get to hear it.Kev:
“We will have a demo ready within a month. We’re working with a great producer who’s worked with Rachel Stamp, Gay Dad, Ace, Ginger and The Wildhearts.”Jon: “Some of the songs we had just finished are on our website – but the new ones are even better.”Ian: “It’s quite exiting to work with a producer – we’ve never done that before. In the new recordings we sound much more like a band, rather than relying on any star instrument. I’ve also had to shorten my strap a couple of notches as I couldn’t reach the last string, which I never used to play.”When do we get to hear it live then?Ian: “We’re playing on the 20th December at the Railway Inn.”Tim: “We want to do plenty of good gigs with great support bands so we can get our reputation back. We’re really enjoying ourselves now and we think that’s going to come across.”Ian: “We still want to recruit a keyboard / guitar player to complete the line up. We want to get those atmospheric and epic sounds that the keyboards will add.”With the regulars growing increasingly upset by the energetic discussions, laughter and irreproducible dirty jokes, it was almost time to leave, but at least the chances of being mistaken for staff were now greatly reduced.So if you’re anywhere near Winchester on 20th December, get along to see Rat:Daddy at the Railway Inn and if you’re not – keep an eye on their website for samples of their new material: http://www.ratdaddy.co.uk/ If you’re anywhere near The Clump in Chilworth any time at all, try not to dress like a hotel porter – you won’t even get tipped!