Interview: Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes

speaks to Frank Carter on family, his sell-out tour and why he wants to challenge his fans

PHOTO: Josi Hoffmann

PHOTO: Josi Hoffmann

Who are Frank Carter the Rattlesnakes? “We’re best band you’ve never heard of”, states frontman Frank Carter. From his time to Gallows to the short-lived Pure Love, Carter already has a full career under his belt. It appears this rock legend has only gone from to strength to strength, but what makes the Rattlesnakes the pinnacle of his career? “Because it is, it’s very simple”, Carter replies. And he’s right. Just a year since their formation, the Rattlesnakes already have bagged a top 20 album in the form of Blossom and managed to sell out every single show on their UK tour.

In comparisons to Gallows and Pure Love, Carter has no doubt that this venture is where he is hitting his creative peak. “I just think I have a lot more control, and I’ve got a better appreciation of what I have, and the opportunities I’ve got”, he explains. Perhaps the biggest secret to his success are his loyal fans who swarmed onto his tickets, selling out Leeds and London on the day of release. “It feels like this band is connecting with people in a big way, and the songs are resonating. Every show that we’ve played on this tour so far has been sold out, and that tells me I’ve made an impact on their lives”.

“Every show that we’ve played on this tour so far has been sold out, and that tells me I’ve made an impact on their lives”

Family has been a huge influence in Carter’s career, citing the moment he brought his young daughter Mercy on stage at Reading 2014 as the highlight of his musical career. Not only is she his biggest fan, however, she’s also his most important reviewer. “The song ‘Lullaby’ is pretty much all about her. We just recorded the video and she was watching it. At the end I went “what do you think” and she said “silly daddy”, and just walked off. That’s the most succinct review of a music video of all time”.

Despite having built a very successful career as a tattoo artist in his time between bands, Carter knew he couldn’t abandon music. “Life’s not about the money”, he states, “I’m 32 now and I’ve been doing music for fifteen years or something. Music is my identity”.

Throughout this tour, Carter has been wowing his fans with a floral Gucci suit, a strong choice for any frontman. “We’re not a band with big productions. We don’t have fancy lights. We don’t have smoke and mirrors. So instead I just bought a nice suit, and kind of hoped that would do all the work”.

“I think it’s a really beautiful sounding rock record. It’s heavy in a different way, it’s got much more weight to it, more width”

While the suit may be a factor, the bands intense and moving song writing may also play a large part. Whilst Blossom packed punch, upcoming album Modern Ruin is set to raise the bar.  “I’ve approached it with the intention of giving so much more life to the album. I think it’s a really beautiful sounding rock record. It’s heavy in a different way, it’s got much more weight to it, more width”.

What sets aside the Rattlesnakes from much of their competition is their depth and honesty. There is no pretence in this young father and husband, who is miles away from the aggressive stage persona many have experienced in the past. “With Rattlesnakes there are aggressive songs obviously, but the whole point of it was the positivity in that, finding the right strength and the right feelings that you need to find when you’re surrounded by tragedy”.

What’s unique in Carter’s writing style is his outlook. When writing Modern Ruin, he set out to challenge his fans, not just recreate the same sound. “If they think they understand what we are now, they’re going to listen to this record and they won’t know. It’s important to challenge people at all times. That’s how you make good music, better art”. It’s no wonder this band have hit the ground running, and are set for one hell of a year.

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