A Ratatat on Your Door

Peter Rosewarne

New York’s experimental electronic duo RATATAT are not new. Establishing themselves firmly in the music scene for the last nine years, Ratatat have built a rapport and toured with the likes of Interpol, Björk, Daft Punk and Cansei de Ser Sexy. They’ve released three albums and an array of reputable remixes (check out how much they amplify the energy of Björk’s Wanderlust).

Every time they release something they take a progressive step forward. Last year’s release LP3 saw them move beyond the synthesizer and guitar and introduce instruments like organs, harpsichords and even a mellotron. This playful process is something Ratatat plan to continue, as Evan Mast, the producer and synthesizer-playing side of the duo explains. “There are a lot of instruments I’d still like to use. I like to get really unfamiliar stuff around because when you’ve centred on guitar and keyboard for so long you’ve developed all these habits. Picking up an instrument that I have no idea how to play forces me to think differently about melodies and chords.”

The focus on playing around with different instruments may stem from the simple fact that Ratatat are an instrumental band. Though initially Evan had attempted to write songs with vocals he found that he and bandmate Mike Stroud were more comfortable with the instrumental. Given their love of remixing, particularly hip hop, would they ever consider guest vocals on future albums?

“I’m interested in working with rappers and vocalists,” Evan reveals, “but I think probably not on our own records. I don’t want to be one of those producer bands that just add a different guest on every song. I would find that style of compilation album pretty uninteresting.” Ratatat won’t shy away from collaborations though, and have recently played live sets with rapper, Despot.

Ratatat’s success sees them touring a LOT over the next few months in numerous venues across the United States, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia. “[The tour to Australia is] going to be different than the last couple of trips,” Evan considers. “We’re playing these regional shows and festivals outside the major cities. Every time we’ve been there it’s always just been for the major cities. We’re also going to have a couple of days off. Usually it’s show, show, show and we don’t get any time off. I’ve heard so much about the beaches and the Great Barrier Reef.”

While Ratatat love the, er, liveliness of performing live, Evan admits they have a propensity for the studio. “Generally we prefer recording and writing to touring. They’re both fun and completely different experiences but the feeling of creating something new from the ground up, that’s my favourite thing about music.”

With their fourth album on the way Ratatat’s future is as promising as the past has been and while they continue broadening their musical horizon, the positive response to their live act continues to mount. Despite his preference for the studio Evan’s excitement from one of his first big events is undeniable. “I never went to any festivals growing up. The first big festival we played was Coachella. That was awesome cause we’d never been in an environment like that. Everything was coming together at one time. There was this massive audience; it was a really good response! It was a good day…”

Ratatat will be performing at ANU Bar on Sunday May 10 supported by Regurgitator’s Quan. Tickets for this 18+ event are available through Oztix at http://www.oztix.com.au

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