They were announced for the lineup of the 2015 Meredith Music Festival earlier this year and instantly became one of the festival’s biggest draws. Now, fans will get to spend a little one-on-one time with Brooklyn-based rocktronica duo Ratatat this month.
The band are currently hot on the heels of their long-awaited and eagerly anticipated fifth studio album, Magnifique. The record follows on from the experimental sounds of their LP3 and LP4 releases, but includes a return to their core guitar-driven sound.
The album was recorded over the course of four years in various studios in different locations, including in Jamaica, upstate New York, Long Island, NY, and their home studio in Brooklyn. The result is an album that’s sure to get fans rabid for Ratatat once again.
Tone Deaf recently managed to steal some time from the Brooklyn duo on the eve of their latest Australian tour. We spoke to Evan Mast, one half of the multi-talented pair, who took us behind the scenes of the band’s discography.
“The entire thing was recorded in my tiny bedroom in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Basically, it was super casual. Mike [Stroud, bandmate] was coming in and out of town a lot, because he was touring with another band, and whenever he came into town we’d get together and just mess around and record stuff.
“We didn’t really know we were starting a band or anything in the beginning, we just recorded stuff for fun. I think we had four songs recorded when we started getting interest from labels and got signed and we were like, ‘Okay, guess we’re making an album.’
“We sort of ran with the sound we were developing and got more and more excited about it and we didn’t really have any equipment or even a microphone so it was just plugging guitars directly into the computer through a distortion pedal and seeing how much we could with a really simple setup. It was really fun.”
“For the self-titled record, there wasn’t really much left on the cutting room floor. There was maybe one or two songs, but basically everything we made we put on the album.
“With Classics we did a lot more experimenting and we were starting to get into hip-hop and experimenting with hip-hop production.
“So sometimes those experiments would end up being another Ratatat song or just end up on a mixtape or just a little piece that nothing happened with.
“We ended up calling it Classics is because we had all these little experiments floating around and whenever a song came together and elevated above everything else we put it into a folder named ‘Classics’ on our computer.”
LP3 (2008) / LP4 (2010)
“Classics was this sort of long process of experimenting and figuring out the sound and then refining it. LP3 we came across this really amazing home studio in upstate New York that we could rent through a friend and that was like our first experience of actually going into a studio.
“We rented that place for like 40 days, I think. We were able to record with all these awesome instruments we never recorded with before like organs and harpsichords and this amazing grand piano and nice microphones.
“We got the ball rolling and it snowballed and we ended up recording way faster than we had before. That’s why it ended up being spread over two albums. We had LP3 done and there was still time so we recorded LP4 during the same sessions.”
“Magnifique was more along the line of Classics. We were doing a lot of experimenting and trying to figure out which direction to take it. We did a bunch of different recording sessions in different places.
“At that point too we’d already made four records, so basically we didn’t want to put out another one unless it was really great. So we were just trying different things and hit on stuff that really excited us.
“There were a lot of times that we would make a song, be really excited about it, and then listen back to it later and it just wouldn’t feel like it had staying power. There were a shitload of songs that just didn’t make the album.
“The one thing that we kind of discussed going into it was we wanted it to be more about guitars.”
Ratatat Australian Tour Dates
Wednesday, 2nd December 2015
The Tivoli, Brisbane
Tickets: The Tivoli
Thursday, 3rd December 2015
The Metro, Sydney
Tickets: Metro Theatre | 02 9550 3666
Sunday, 6th December 2015
170 Russell, Melbourne
Tickets: 170 Russell | 1300 724 867