Text: Sarah Fluit
Cover picture: Bente van der Zalm
Picture in text: Ivana van der Zant
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes make in your face hardcore (post)punk. After their mega success at Pinkpop, they performed twice this month in a jam-packed TivoliVredenburg. We were allowed to ask Frank Carter and Dean Richardson (guitarist) a few questions before the show.
What was your first real interest in music growing up?
Dean: Mine comes from my dad , my dad is a guitarist. I grew up sleeping in the corner of pubs when his band would be playing so I was always around it. My mum’s part of the Elvis fanclub so I just grew up around music. I feel really lucky for that, I realised, at an older age that that’s not the case for everyone. There was constant music in my house, silence was not allowed.
Frank: Honestly, it is the same for me because my dad was a DJ growing up, so there was always so much music in the house. One of my earliest memories is just dancing around the house, and now I just do that with my daughter.
You guys recently released ‘The Drugs’ a single with Jamie T, what was working with him like?
Frank: It was good, he is amazing. I have known him for a long time, like 15 years or something. Because I’ve known him for so long I have wanted to do something with him for a long time but it never really worked out. But in the pandemic he called me up randomly and just said “I’m making this new album” and he had this crazy idea of releasing 80’s songs and I said: “Jamie, that’s a bad idea”. We ended up singing some Misfits songs which was really fun, and when his album came out I sent him a message and said: “I love it, it’s amazing”. I was in the studio next week and asked him to return the favour.
Dean: I think it was so much fun, wasn’t it. I think that’s how you know those things were right. It’s a big thing going to the studio with somebody, it takes a lot of trust, you have to feel relaxed. I’d never met him before, we spent that day in the studio and it instantly felt right. That’s how you know it’s going to sound good.
What was one of your favourite moments on tour?
Dean: Some of my favourite moments have been this summer, the pandemic was a huge factor in touring. Before that we were off tour for ten years, the only gap we had really was the pandemic.
Frank: What it did for us as a band and as people, it gave us a whole new perspective on what we had and what we then could lose. The level of appreciation I have for touring and music now is crazy. I am heartbroken that I ever took it for granted. When you’re in it and you’re doing it every day for ten years across three bands, it’s work you know. Now I’m excited to go to work every day, now I do everything I can to make sure I feel like 200% when I walk up on stage.
Touring is obviously something really fun and an opportunity not many people get but doesn’t touring get boring every now and then?
Frank: Boring? No.
Dean: It doesn’t, the travelling can be wild. I think you found out very quickly if you’re someone who enjoys travelling or not. I think if you don’t, you won’t do this job. The amount of time we spend in transit versus on stage is huge. So you have to enjoy that.
Frank: You’re always on the move. You’re always doing something in a new place. Touring is not for everybody but it definitely isn’t boring. I know what you mean though right, I see a lot of department lounges and a lot of hotels. But I don’t think it is ever boring.
Your shows always look insane, the crowd always goes mad and the atmosphere looks unreal. Did you guys ever get injured on stage?
Dean: I’m currently injured, so yeah we do. This one hurts a lot actually haha. We’ve both taken each other home in a wheelchair. Frank injured his ankle in Berlin for example.
Frank: Dean almost snapped his ankle in Poland, he jumped off stage. I did a front flip off the stage and I fucked my back up. I don’t know exactly how that happened.
That sounds rough! Do you think that the injuries and craziness on stage is all part of your stage presence?
Dean: I don’t.
Frank: I think when we’re doing a show and we’re in the moment where all logic goes out the window. Your risk assessment is not present, and you live in the moment. Sometimes that moment is jumping off the highest thing in the room, and I like living like a kid. They just have the most fun, they just experience life and they are fearless and they are reckless.
Dean: Kids are not trying to hurt themselves. We’re not trying to hurt ourselves but it just happens.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has done at a show?
Frank: Sometimes fans just make decisions and you sort of think like you have no thought this through and last night this girl snuck under the barrier on stage got past security, ran on stage and ran past me and made the jump. I was like there’s no way she’s making that jump. She landed on the barrier and just folded.
Where did the idea of the woman’s mosh pit you guys have at every show come from? (This is part of Carter’s show)
Frank: I think every artist should make that a part of the show, until the landscape of rock ‘n roll is truly equal and until there are no more misogynists coming to rock ‘n roll gigs. Every band should make it a priority because that’s the least we can do. As white men, we’ve already taken up too much space. I think that now it is our duty to really pursue that and create a safe space for everybody, and like I said, we have a platform so we have a responsibility to use that well. There’s nothing I hate more than bands that are still running that same old rhetoric of 60’s glam rock shit. It wasn’t cool then and it certainly isn’t cool now.