We always say that the time goes really fast when you are having fun and it is true. So many gigs, so many outings, open air mic nights and it is almost the end of May! But the most exciting months are still head of us.
The next big date in our rock and roll diary is the 9th of June when we will be going back to the beautiful Sunflower Lounge to see the newest indie rock sensation, The Racket. The quartet is now on their headlining national tour and they decided to pop into the legendary Brum venue to show the West Midland folk how to play, fast, powerful songs and how to thoroughly enjoy the experience. The gig is brought on by the amazing crew at Modern Age Music and we cannot wait to step into the mosh pit.
If you are interested in purchasing tickets for the Birmingham show, please click on the link below:
Poster for The Racket gig on 9th July 2018 at the Sunflower Lounge
To prepare well for this musical feast, we sat down with the band to ask them several questions, from their early days in their hometown of Widnes, to musical inspirations, their newest single and some of the rock and roll antics that will definitely go down well into the history of modern music. The interview is one of the longest we did and we had a real blast. Thank you The Racket and hope you had as much fun answering these question as we had asking them and putting them on here!
The Racket – social media profile picture
Official bio: The Racket is an alternative rock four-piece from Widnes that receives more and more attention on an independent music scene. The band have played their own headline sold out shows at Liverpools Zanzibar Club and Manchester’s Night and Day. They completed their first UK tour in 2017 supporting Louis Berry on numerous dates up and down the country then topped off with a hometown gig with Trampolene. Such creativity, melded with high energy enthusiasm, has been rewarded by them being listed by This Feeling as one of the big in 2018 bands. Their trajectory is steep and they are building momentum with every lager stained, sweat drenched show – and that’s just the front row. Having recently finished recording with Al Groves in the Motor Museum, the second release is finished and will be coming out later this year to coincide with their first music video. The band is currently on headline national tour with several summer festivals booked in including Great Escape, Confessional and On The Hill Festival as the main support to CAST. The Racket will play The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham on 9th of June 2018 with support from The Jack Fletcher Band, FAITH and As Mamas.
You describe yourself simply as a “four-piece from Widnes”. Please introduce the band members to the readers of Indieterria.
Callum: I’m Callum. I’m guitarist and singer.
Michael: Hi, I’m Michael and I play the guitar.
Dom: I’m Dom, the drummer.
Colby: And I’m Colby. I play the bass.
Your home town boasts of strong musical heritage. Widnes lies closely to Spike Island where The Stone Roses held their legendary festival, it inspired “Homeward Bound” by Paul Simon (a song written at a local train station) and is referred in works of Belle and Sebastian (“Stars of Tracks and Fields”) and Elvis Costello (“Watch Your Step”). Jane Weaver and Mel C call Widnes home. The town also has a famous music venue – The Studio. Have your city and its history had any effect on your band?
Callum: To be honest the history of Widnes hasn’t influenced me at all and probably never will! It’s the present, the way people go about their daily routines today and their lifestyles. It interests me to write and sing about the people around me. Mostly just normal things, born mainly out of frustration but also out of enjoyment. I think all the best comedians, actors, songwriters are the ones who are down to earth and talk about normal things.
Michael: Widnes is just where we have grown up and lived. As for an effect on the band, well it’s the special people from Widnes that have carried us through since day 1 to where we are today. Without their backing, we’d be playing The Hammer and Pincers on a Friday night doing shit covers!
Dom: I don’t think it’s something we think about often. The town itself hasn’t had an impact too much, it’s more the people around us that have influenced us. Widnes is just like any other town in the UK and our songs are relatable because they’re about issues and problems that happen to people our age up and down the country.
Colby: I wasn’t very interested by music while growing up. I was way more into football, up until around 2005 and 2006 when there was a lot of new bands coming through like The Arctic Monkeys. I would say, from that time on, I was influenced by music more than anything else.
The Racket is being compared to The Sex Pistols, Libertines and The Cribs. We can think of a dozen indie bands who would be mortified by the pressure to deliver. Comparisons to the greats seems to invigorate you. Do you have a way to handle music related stress?
Callum: We don’t often get stressed. We’re all good mates and we’re doing it because we love it. If people want to compare us to others, then so be it.
Michael: Every band gets comparisons as soon as they start. It gets boring when people ask, what sort of music are you? Get off your arse and go see a band live and it might just blow your mind! I think it’s in our nature to compare music to what’s gone before, but there’s no stress or pressure. We’re just doing what we’re doing and still would be whether people think we sound like The Sex Pistols or Danny Dyer’s Chocolate Homunculus.
Dom: It’s great being compared to The Sex Pistols and The Libertines because we’re fans of these bands but we’ve heard it that often now, that for me, it has become a bit meaningless. This is our band, we want to do our own thing, create our own sound and make our own impact. What invigorates me most is playing live and knowing that you’re playing to a crowd of people that want to hear your music and are going for it just as much as you are. Of course, we’re serious about the music and where we want to take it but we’re still four really good mates having a laugh and doing it cause we enjoy it. For me there’s no pressure on us.
Colby: It’s always nice to be compared to good bands from the past but I don’t think it affects us in anyway. We just want what they’ve got or had and it’s our music out there for everyone to hear an enjoy.
In one interview you mentioned that your songs are born out of “boredom, teen angst and social commentary”. Which song you have penned so far makes you truly proud of and what it is about?
Callum: Going back to what I said earlier about normal, mundane things. There’s a song I’ve wrote called “Two Minutes Hate” which is exactly 2 minutes long and goes through the routine of someone who gets up, goes to work, comes home, has their tea, goes to bed, repeat. Frankly, it’s most people I know! This is why, I think I’ve managed to capture it quite well. Quite proud of that one, but I also love the song called “Why Are You Watching Me” mainly cause of the riff!
Talking about teen angst, the photo promoting your single “Faded Days” shows your bare bottoms lined up along a wall. The picture is accompanied by a quote taken from the lyrics that states you are fed up being “bend over backwards for a man who’s in a suit”. Very risqué yet incredibly brave for a young band. Did it get you in any trouble?
Callum: (laughing) Not yet, no! Hopefully it does sometime otherwise we would have just stuck on normal picture there! And it’s funny you pointed out that lyric because we genuinely had it on there! We love playing footy and that’s how you end a football match where I’m from!
Michael: (laughing as well) The only trouble I had was having to look at Dom’s hairy arsehole all day!
Dom: We haven’t got into any trouble for it yet, still time though (laughing). I don’t know why anyone would complain though. I’ve been told on at least two occasions, I have a great arse.
Colby: Let’s just say, for the cover of “Faded Days” we wanted to do something everyone can relate to the lyrics in the song so…(laughing)
You will be playing important indie festival this summer – Liverpool Calling with all the hottest acts on the circuit: Sheafs, Soeur, False Heads, Himalayas, Strange Bones or Emily Capell. What do you prefer: large stages or intimate venues?
Callum: Definitely the small ones. Getting loads of energy in front of us in a small room is something special. Honestly one of the best feeling you’ll ever have. At the same time though, we’ve not played many “big” stages yet. From what we’ve done so far, I’d definitely choose the little scenes any day.
Michael: There’s no feeling like playing to a packed tiny room. People falling on stage and knocking mic stands over. I think when we’ve played the bigger venues, I don’t like being more than a step away from the rest of the band.
Dom: Playing intimate venues is great. Being so close to the audience allows you to feed off their energy and excitement, it’s a great feeling being in that moment. Playing bigger venues is something I’m looking forward to doing more because I think it becomes more of a challenge then A test to see if we can get what we want to say across to a bigger audience.
Colby: It’s always nice playing in front of new people at festivals and getting out there with your music but there’s nothing like a small gig with the fans that follow you to every gig. They always put on a good show for us to watch while we’re playing. We never mind them watching us!
The new single “Know It For A Fact” has received rave reviews and is promoted on BBC Introducing Merseyside. We have to admit it is incredibly powerful track, which surely will start mosh pits. You are one of few bands that manage to bring the fury and dynamics from the live performance onto the record without losing an edge. Any secrets to your recordings?
Callum: The last single was recorded live with hardly any takes and minimal over dubs. I think that makes it sound exciting. This time, we have done it differently. We worked with Al Groves at The Motor Museum and he has done an amazing job. I think just the amount of time we spent getting the best, most exciting, angry drum take possible made everything else a lot easier. Full day for the drums for one song!
Dom: I think it’s just a case of spending enough time on getting great takes and getting the sound right. I was definitely conscious of putting the same amount of energy into the recording as I do when playing live and hopefully that’s something that come across. Al Groves, who we worked with on “Know It For A Fact”, has done a great job and it’s his input and ideas that have made it what it is.
Colby: There’s no real secrets to how we record our records. We just go into the studio knowing what we want the song to sound like. For “Know It For A Fact”, we knew we had to do a powerful recording, because that’s how the song comes across live. It is important for us that it should come across exactly the same when you are listening to the track at home.
On 9th of June 2018 you will be playing at the legendary Sunflower Lounge. Is it your first time performing in Birmingham? What can we expect during the show?
Callum: I never been to Birmingham before but expect a set of fast, loud rock and roll tunes. It’s also a Saturday night so expect a lot of drinking to get done! (laughing)
Michael: We’ve only ever been to Birmingham New Street station on our first trip to London as the band, so to us it’s a new experience. You’ll have to show us some good pubs for before the show! As for the gig, expect some poor attempts at Brum accents in between songs. (laughing)
Dom: It is our first time in Birmingham and I’m really looking forward to it. I think what people can expect is just a lot of energy and a lot more sweat. We’re going to put everything into it and show people why they should be paying attention to us.
Colby: As others said, we have never played Birmingham before. I’m expecting a good night, plenty of drinking. We play every gig loud and fast so the crowd should love it
This tour is your first as a headliner. You will be playing dates all over the country across the month of June, ending with a gig in Liverpool. Is there anything you want to do, any places you want to visit?
Callum: It’ll be good to go back to our favourite pubs in different cities like The Harley in Sheffield, Good Mixer in London, just as long as Sunday morning, we’re in The Bradley in Widnes!
Michael: I’m looking forward to London. We know there has been demand for a gig down there for a while, so that’s set to be a good one. Sheffield is always fun. Finishing the tour in Liverpool to our crowd will be the perfect end!
Dom: I’m just looking forward to visiting new cities, new venues and playing for new people. We’ll be out of our comfort zone. It’s our first headline tour so I’m just buzzing off that.
Colby: Really looking forward to headlining each night. The one I’m looking forward to the most is probably Sheffield. We had a really good time last time we played there and hopefully we will have the same great atmosphere again.
Last obligatory question: where do you see yourselves in five years’ time. We predict Pyramid Stage at Glasto. Your picks?
Callum: Well, The Pyramid Stage is the big one for me, always has been! I think as long as we’re still together playing music we love, whatever that be at that time is the most important. Right now, who we are, and what we’re doing is perfect and the future is looking bright for us.
Dom: As long as we’re still together, playing the music we want to play and enjoying it, then I think I’ll be sound, I’m also ambitious and the thought of playing bigger venues and bigger and better gigs and doing all the major festivals definitely motivates me. I want us to be successful and to not only be around in five years but for people to know who we are.
Colby: (laughing) Probably jail for strangling Mike at some point!
You can learn more about The Racket by visiting their social media pages:
More articles about the band:
Please come back soon as we will have interesting interviews and reviews coming up shortly!
Have a good week and don’t forget to drop us a message or leave a comment.
Rita and Malicia