RATTLE - "S/T" OWN007
he duo formed quite by accident in Nottingham in 2011, where Katharine and Theresa knew each other from playing in other local bands. Katharine was a guitarist who had recently started playing drums in the band Kogumaza and Theresa is the enthralling drummer from Fists. They originally met up to skill swap guitars and drums but soon enough they found they were having more fun with a double drum set-up and started making the sound of their first song “Boom”, which became a blueprint for their new band’s sound. As Katharine explains; “It seemed obvious right from the start that nothing else was going to be required in terms of instruments.”
They wanted to find a band name that was onomatopoeic and Rattle fit perfectly. Their set-up remained roughly the same as from that very first rehearsal. The minimal framework meant that they had to use their imagination and think of different ways to create new songs using the same simple ingredients. They honed their sound live, with the drums set up facing each other which allowed a dramatic interplay between the players, lending a theatrical element to their performances.
When it came to recording the album it made absolute sense to bring in their regular live sound engineer Mark Spivey (also of Kogumaza) who has been working closely with the band from the beginning. Live, he adds additional effects and manipulations from the sound desk and these techniques were transferred over to a studio setting at The Big Mouse House, in Sneinton, Nottingham (in the studio owned by Tony Doggen, of Spiritualized and coincidently where Jake Bugg recorded his new album). A lot of time and attention was taken to get the best sound possible from the drums in the room. As Mark explains: “We wanted the record to be and sound very real, and to sound like what it is, which meant (by definition) that it needed to sound unlike anything else.”
Although the pair listen to a vast array of musical styles, it’s almost impossible to reference directly to any influences as the band sound so utterly unique. Having such an a-typical set-up means that it’s really difficult to sound like a typical guitar band. As the band point out; “Music can be so steeped in obvious references to other bands and eras that it can become a bit choking.”
Having mostly played in experimental or avant-rock settings Rattle first discovered that they could make their awkward audiences dance with opening track “Trainer (Get You)”, which was specifically designed to make the listener move in some way. Whereas other songs embrace different moods, for example “Starting” has a sense of urgency and a repeated lyric phrase that becomes a mantra, and “Click” is more soothing and meditative. The high hat and cymbal hits in “Sorcerer” have a sword-fighting feel and “Stringer Bell” is more of a cocktail song from a 1950s city apartment.
Often starting by picking out the ghost notes from the drums to develop a melody, the song then reveals itself in rounds and harmonies with layer upon layer of rhythm and vocal, lending a choral feel to some of the tracks. Rattle effortlessly blend the avant-garde with irresistible melodies and hypnotic drum beats, using rhythm and harmony to create a refreshing sound that is utterly new - a pretty rare feat these days when we’re saturated with so much music. Their live shows conjure all the magic and excitement from their exhilarating creative process, allowing the audience to share in the very special bond between the duo as they dazzle with their drumming skills.
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