Frank Carter and his danger noodles (or The Rattlesnakes, as they’re more commonly known) are back with new album ‘End of Suffering’, and the band wanted to give themselves “some space” from their heavier output.
“It’s still got a lot of heavy songs on there,” Frank reveals. “‘Crowbar’, ‘Kitty Sucker’, and ‘Heartbreak’ are a bit punkier than some of the tracks on [debut album] ‘Blossom’, but we were already moving away from the hardcore element on [second album] ‘Modern Ruin’.
“Realistically we always wanna challenge ourselves so, y’know we did a hardcore album, we did a more punk rock, hardcore album on ‘Modern Ruin’, so with this, we wanted to push ourselves and make the rock record that we’ve always dreamed of making.”
There wasn’t room for everything that Frank & Co. put together though, including single ‘Spray Paint Love’.
“It was written between ‘Modern Ruin’ and ‘End of Suffering’, and when we got down to cutting the album together, I couldn’t find anywhere that it fit without it sounding quite jarring. I’m hoping we can find a place for it on the deluxe version or a special edition later down the line, but it was important that this record lived and died in its own space without anything being dragged into it.”
Rage Against The Machine legend Tom Morello features on ‘Tyrant Lizard King’, which some might think came about after their live collaboration last year which saw Frank perform ‘Killing In The Name’ with Prophets of Rage, but not quite…
“We’ve been friends for a long time, and he called me to ask if I would consider being on his second ‘Atlas Underground’ solo album which he’s gonna start working on soon, and I just yes of course! You’re my fucking hero; I’ll do whatever you want whenever you want it.
“I also said, we’ve just been in the studio, we’re about to finish this track, and I think you’d like it; let me send it to you and if you wanna play on it we’d be honoured. He gave it a listen and came straight back to us saying that he loved the track and he was just gonna do his thing. He asked if there were any limits, and I said absolutely no limits do whatever you like! So what we got was a pretty fucking crazy Tom Morello solo.”
Frank reveals that the album writing period was one of the darkest of his life. “The album is essentially is just about the last two years; there were plenty of times that were quite dark, so it’s not been an easy situation; it’s just the way it had to be.”
One of the best songs on the record, ‘Angel Wings’, was born out of the turmoil and sees Frank provide one of his greatest vocal performances.
“That song’s about the lowest part of my life to date,” he reveals. “It was about a time when I was feeling incredibly low, and incredibly fragile, and I didn’t really know how to be. I was scared of myself, and I was scared of the world. I just tried to do what I always do, write an incredibly honest explanation of what I was feeling at the time, which was battling a lot of really fucking serious demons.”
Explaining the differences between ‘Modern Ruin’ and ‘End of Suffering’, Frank says: “We spent a lot longer on the songs. Once they were on the board, it didn’t mean they were finished. We were breaking them even when we were in the studio. Lyrically, I think it’s my best work; it’s the most personal record I’ve ever made. I try not to hide too much of it in metaphor; I try to get to the core of what I was feeling and explain that to people.
“It’s a lot more intense,” he continues. “There’s a lot more space in it. We had a different producer work on it, he brought a totally different energy to the record. It’s different in every way from ‘Modern Ruin’, but in the same way that ‘Modern Ruin’ was different from ‘Blossom’. As a band, you have a platform, and therefore you have a responsibility to your fans to constantly evolve and challenge yourself. If you’re not doing that, then what are you doing?
“I don’t think it’s enough to just hit a good stride and write the same record four or five times, you should always be trying to push yourself as a musician, as an artist and as a performer, and that’s what we do well.”
Frank has withdrawn a bit from social media during the writing and touring of ‘End of Suffering’. “I felt like I needed a different approach. I still have an Instagram account, Rattlesnakes are still on social media, but I did delete everything that was on there at one point.
“Now I’m only posting pictures that are taken on my 35mm camera but it takes me a while to develop the film, and it means that I get the chance to post about stuff that’s already been and gone and I can think about it more and I can let the feelings of that moment really embed in.
“Social media is all about instant gratification, and for me, I wanted something that was gonna be a little slower, because it’s just a bit too intense.”
It hasn’t stopped him communicating with his fans; at his shows, Frank tries to promote safe spaces, setting a song aside for women to crowd surf; no men allowed.
“You’ve got three options,” he considers. “You can do nothing about it, just focus on yourself and ignore the problems in the world – and if you’re doing that, I don’t wanna fucking know you. You’ve got a platform, and you’re not using your platform in the right way, and therefore you’re completely shirking your responsibility.
“The second option you have is when you see things happening in the crowd, you see someone getting assaulted, you can stop the show, and you can call that person out. That’s reactionary, and that’s already a failure. It’s not enough; it’s not enough at all. Because for that to happen, someone in the crowd has had to have been assaulted. We’ve already failed one person.
“The last option is, you can do what we do. We’re an incredibly proactive band, talking about issues that are important to us. When you have a platform, you have a responsibility to use it for good. We dedicate a song early on in our set to female-only crowd surfers or crowd surfers who don’t define themselves as any gender. It’s specifically for them, and it’s not for men.
“The reason for that is because a lot of men, they can crowd surf with no fear. They’re not worried about being touched inappropriately, they’re not scared about it because it doesn’t happen to men a lot of the time. We create a safe space for women to crowd surf so that they can have a positive experience.
“In doing it and talking about it and being proactive about it, it also completely changes the mindset of the men in the audience, because we’ve raised the awareness. A lot of the time men are ignorant to that because it isn’t a problem they have to face.
“So that’s what we do. We’re proactive. I think honestly, every other band in the world should be the same. They should be proactive in this, and the quicker we all are, and the quicker we all start to eliminate this anonymous, Neanderthal behaviour of assault, verbal assault, groping – the minute you start being proactive, it changes the way people think about it in the crowd, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
“It’s what everyone should be doing, y’know? I’m not okay with anyone being assaulted, whether it’s verbal or physical or sexual at our gigs. I’m not okay with that happening anywhere in the world. We’ve got the power to change the landscape of gigs, and I think that’s what we’re doing right now.”
The Rattlesnakes’ live shows are known for being ferocious, but Frank’s been playing live for a very long time, how does he keep himself hyped for every single show?
“We have a playlist, and we listen to it before we go on. It’s really, really cool, with a ton of music that we love – Travis Scott, Post Malone, Brockhampton, Kid Kapichi, Black Keys. We just listen to some music, and we’re just hanging with our friends. It’s so much fun; I love everything about it!”
Over the years, Frank’s played everywhere from tiny toilet venues to massive stadiums. “Every single show has pros and cons, they all have different things that are good and different things that are bad. I just like playing gigs; I don’t care whether we’re playing a stadium or a tiny club. I like being able to get close to our fans, and I like seeing the passion in their eyes when they’re singing my words back to me.
“Obviously playing stadiums is different – it’s a fucking stadium, and that’s a lot of people, there’s nothing quite like seeing thousands of people bouncing up and down to your music, it’s a real special moment. But also I’ve spent a lot of time playing music, and I know that there’s a lot to be said for those smaller venues – they make you, they help you cut your teeth, those are the places where you learn how to be a musician and a performer.”
Frank wants the Rattlesnakes to “be the biggest band in the world,” he says. “I want this album to connect with people on a deeper level, I hope that they listen to it and love the songs, but I hope more than anything it gives them strength. I know that the songs I’ve written, they’re about problems everyone’s faced, y’know?
“I hope that me going through it, and living through it and showing that there is another side, there is a better place you can get to. I hope that I lead as an example for people when they’re feeling low or when they’re struggling, so they know that you just have to keep going. All you have to do in life is keep going. We’re not here to give up.”
Taken from the May issue of Dork. Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes’ album ‘End of Suffering’ is out 3rd May.
Words: Josh Williams