I like China Rats. I like their raucous, brash pop sound, their whogivesa attitude, and their blissfully brilliant 3 minute songs. So I thought I would talk to them.
There’s no denying that Leeds has something of scene going on, but for China Rats it is more the music that they listen to whether in the city or on the stereo that gets them going. Presumably they listen to glistening 50s pop, cutting garage rock and attitude heavy punk then, this being the cocktail of sounds that weaves its way into and straight back out of their music. Like most bands a whole host of colourful influences paint the China Rats picture: we’re all into different stuff but probably a lot of old bands like The Clash, The Ramones, The Rolling Stones etc. Also stuff we grew up with… Bit of Blink 182 for good measure…!’
From their local Leeds scene they recommend long time favourites ‘Soulmates Never Die is awesome, he plays fuzz folk and is releasing a new vinyl soon on an American indie label. Savages are cool too, we saw them at Live At Leeds and they had so much energy! These Monsters are sick as well.’
Although they have been gaining a local following, it was in Spain that things really took off. Back in July 2012 the band played the Villa Camp stage at Benicassim, and impressed so much that they were asked to headline the second stage as stand in for Bat For Lashes. Widely touted as the start of the band’s success, their main memory was of it being ‘hot and sweaty, with a full on mosh pit..’ The opportunity to play the headline slot was something they enjoyed to the full. ‘That show was even better… it was magical.’
Of course that was only the start of a huge host of gigs, festivals and parties. One of the favourites has been a show for legendary French label Kitsune, the week after SXSW 2013. ‘One of the guys from Daft Punk was at the show so that made it pretty special… Doubt he was there for us though! After the show we were sipping champagne in a brothel turned nightclub with Jagwa Ma. The French know how to party!
Manged by Once Upon A Time Music, China Rats seem to have been lucky to have found or be found by a management company with a similar ethos. ‘They’re cool guys and are behind us 100%. It’s great to have them pushing our music.’
As well as crashing riffs and enigmatic melodies, these are songs with open and direct lyrics e.g. ‘I got no money and I wanna die, I got N.O.M.O.N.E.Y’ (on N.O.M.O.N.E.Y) However, this transparency is not always intentional, but a natural product of the song writing process and general life experience. ‘We set out to make each song mean something but some of the tracks are more direct than others … I guess we write what we feel at the time and our own experiences.’
The band will be returning to Benacassim this year, as well as playing YNot and Bingley Festivals.