Interview: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes [June 2015]

By James Fox

Infamously incendiary performer Frank Carter smashed back onto the UK music scene earlier this year with news of his new band Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes that featured a lineup compiled of some of the UK’s best and a sound that saw him returning to a more aggressive edge. Three tracks were revealed on the ‘Rotten’ EP, tracks that also appear on upcoming album ‘Blossom’, which only spurred more anticipation for their debut outing around the UK. We sat down with Frank on Brighton beach ahead of his first time at Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar to find out what his new project is all about.

First off, it was really exciting to hear that you were starting a band with Memby Jago.

He’s pretty special.

The intensity that both of you bring to what you do, his drumming and your vocals, is always on that same high level.

It’s a good combination. I feel the same about the other players as well. I’ve known Dean for a long time and actually written songs with him for years and years but it just never went anywhere and was never our time and now it really feels like it is. Mitch has this quiet sort of brooding intensity about him. I wanted to surround myself with people who I thought were really fucking special so it’s nice that he was a part of it as well. Mitch was the guy who actually recorded and produced the whole album for us. We got a pretty good sound just because of him.

Back in May you had your first show in a tattoo shop. How did that go? I understand you had some of your art on showcase too.

I think it went really well. I’ve made all of the artwork for the album and the singles so it was perfect and a really good fit. We probably won’t play anymore shows in a tattoo shop because there’s just too much shit you can break. It was nice for me because it was somewhere safe for me and not very safe for other people; I go and work there every day so it felt nice to move things around down there and do my other job which is punk rock. It’s just been good and everything so far has been going really well.

Has this tour been what you’ve expected?

No, it’s completely surpassed all my expectations actually. We’ve got a handful of songs, we’ve only got three songs out. I was quite surprised when we booked the tour, because I booked it myself, that it sold as well as it did. We sold six of these shows out completely which is kind of nuts.

St. Albans obviously?

Yeah, St. Albans went. But yeah, it’s been crazy and what’s happening is we’re seeing people come to the shows that just want to hear the music and really enjoy what they’re hearing. Obviously the three songs they know, those songs are exploding, but for the most part people are enjoying everything they hear which is really rare and nice.

I heard previously that this project might be you feeling like you wanted to write angry music again. Was there any particular moment that sparked those feelings?

Last year in 2014 I had a bit of a rough year and took quite a few hits along the way and that made it quite difficult for me and made it quite hard work. I don’t know whether that made me angry. It upset me, but I don’t know, I’m not sure.

Something great has come of it, either way.

Yeah, I think this is positivity through negativity. This band has been really really good for me. It’s keeping me focused and allowing me to push on and do new things and sort of make peace that was holding me up and trapping me a little bit so it’s been a bit of a lifesaver for me.

Where did the decision come from to put your name at the forefront of the band?

I think I didn’t want anyone else to share the responsibility. I wanted to not really have anyone to hide behind. I wanted it to be solely my thing. Putting my name out on the line, head in the noose (no pun intended), meant that I really had to deliver and that meant that I really stepped up to the plate when it came to writing lyrics. I think a lot of times in the past I’ve been written about in other bands because of performances and whatnot and I thought this was my chance to stake my claim personally in the world of music. Not with a band, not with a scene, not with a sound. Just “Frank is here, this is what Frank does, this is what he’s always done.” Sort of a flag in the sand type thing.

You’ve been in bands for years now and performing for ages. What’s significantly different about this project and why should people come and see Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes?

First and foremost, what separates it from those bands is that it’s fresh, it’s brand new and the latest thing. As a person you’re only really as good as your latest output, your last offering. I think this is my best work yet so if people wanna check it out they will; if they don’t, they won’t. I’m not trying to convince anybody. Obviously I’d like the world to love it but it’s just important for me and an important band for me. What that means is when I go play songs live that it’s honest, it’s an honest delivery, it’s true and it’s real. I think there’s not really much of that around lately. A lot of bands are more concerned about their brand, their status, their image. I’m not concerned with any of those things – I’m concerned with delivering a good performance because it helps me. I just go out and do what I do. If i’m sick then I go and do it while I’m sick. If I’m feeling really strong, I go out and do it while I’m strong. There’s not really much difference in it and every night it is the best performance I can give then and there.

I think people should come and see it because it’s helped me a lot and the songs have the ability to really resonate with people. I’m writing about things that affect everybody. I’ve always done that, but with this record specifically I’m writing about things that I don’t think I’ve ever really covered before. It’s been quite an eye-opener for me. A few people have come up to me saying, “The song ‘Beautiful Death’ has really stuck with me”. I’m hoping once people hear the album they’ve got a chance to read the lyrics and get that.

Previously, you’ve ran through what some of the new songs are about, for example, Paradise being to do with suicide bombers, terrorists and other similar terrible atrocities. What can people expect from the songs on the album that they haven’t heard yet?

It’s quite a bleak record, but there is hope in there as well. It’s mostly trying to find my place in the world and all the adjustments that come with growing up. That’s something I’ve had to do a lot of in the past year specifically. We lost people really close to us last year and that was really traumatic and quite devastating. On the other hand, my daughter was born so I was trying to adjust to being a father and the responsibility of that. So, I think this is just another step in my life. I’ve always tried to write autobiographically where I can because that helps me and it feels honest. I think this is definitely my most autobiographical work in certain places, and in others it’s just an honest opinion of how I’m feeling.

The album is coming out soon anyway and it’s called ‘Blossom’. The juxtaposition of the title is interesting with what you just described about the record. When is that out?

It’s out on August 14th, worldwide. We’ve just put it out ourselves with the help of a company called KLS, a label services company. What that means is they allow you to make the decisions which is something I was really eager for. Again, putting my name on the front, I wanted the weight of responsibility to end with me.

The point of the name was that we had a an EP called ‘Rotten’ and we had a song called ‘Rotten Blossom’. The song ties the EP and the album together. Blossom is a beautiful thing obviously but it’s here and it’s gone like the rest of us. It’s almost like a generational thing in a way. It’s brand new every spring and then it dies off. There’s a line in one of the songs that says “When we die is it really the end / Is it more than we can comprehend / Are we absolved, are we forgiven / Do we just die or are we risen / When we die is it really the end / Do we lay down, do we transcend / Are we lost, are we forgotten / Do we blossom or are we just rotten“. The song is all about me trying to find understanding about what happens when we die. It’s not anything I’ve really ever contemplated or spent time thinking about before and all of a sudden this last year, it’s all I’ve had on my mind because we lost a parent and it was just shit. It was really fucking hard. For me that’s one of the most important songs on the record. It’s very aggressive, very fast and there’s a lot of lyrics in it. Lyrically, I think it’s my best work and I’m really proud of it. It’s how I felt when that happened – confused and lost and I wanted answers and nobody had any for me. It makes me feel better singing it. All these songs make me feel better when I sing them which is what a record should do for you and for everyone.

Doing that for the rest of the summer is going to be really good. You’ve got your first festival appearance.


With this band that is, but you’ve played Reading And Leeds tonnes of times before.

This year is my seventh appearance at Reading And Leeds which I’m pretty stoked about.

You went when you were younger too, right?

Oh man I grew up going – I went every year. I love that festival so to go and be a part of the music and hopefully have the same effect that bands like Rage Against the Machine, Slipknot, At The Drive-In and Deftones had for me, that feels really special.

Pre-order the debut album from Frank Carter & The Rattle Snakes and check out upcoming tour dates by clicking HERE and check out footage of their first show using the player below:


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