Hi. Tell us something about Rats Don’t Sink project.
ALEX: It somehow goes back to 2013 when I was in the Navy. I was on a mission off the African Coast and I was getting bored as a rat in the hold. I had been involved in the local Hardcore Punk scene in Marseille for a while before then and I missed it a lot, I really needed to get back on shore and make music again, not to sink into depression. I started to write lyrics in my cabin, cuting myself off the rest of the crew. I wasn’t with them anymore, in my head I was back to Marseille Hardcore. And as soon I finally got back home, I left the Navy and started a band with my old friend JC, and we called it Rats Don’t Sink. Because ”the Captain sinks with the ship”, but rats abandon it before it happens. It is also a social metaphore: when you’re a rat, outcast from society, you cannot sink anymore but rise, as a middle finger to the rest of the world.
What does it mean to be a Hardcore Punk band today? Tell us something about it.
JC: It’s a mix between 80’s Hardcore Punk sound and a more “modern” one. We take this spirit of freedom and teenage anger as a legacy and we try to transpose it to our generation.
ALEX: I think the main thing in Hardcore Punk is the message you give, beyond the music itself. You can have a shitty life but you have to stay positive, always looking forward. And DIY!
VINCE: Play loud, scream till you’re voiceless, riffs that make people mosh their ass off.
CEDRIC: It’s all about beer and sweat!
Tell us something about your last album “From Sewers With Love” relased on december 2015.
ALEX: We were playing shows for a year and a half and still we didn’t have any music for the people to listen, except some low quality rehearsal records or live videos on YouTube. So JC brought us to Full Metal Studio and we recorded this 4-tracks EP. I think it sounds a bit too Metal, we’re not this clean when we play live, but I think the FMS crew did a great job.
CEDRIC: It was our first studio experience, so it opened our eyes on our good as bad points, and how to structure the rhytmic parts to make our songs sound better.
VINCE: It was a good experience, showing us how we have to work in the future.
JC: There obviously was room for improvement.
Which artists have influenced your style & sound, if any?
JC: Comeback Kid, Have Heart, Verse, Gallows, Norma Jean, The Exploited and above all the US Thrash scene, but the boys restrained my Metal influences ahah
CEDRIC: My main influences are bands like August Burns Red, Norma Jean, As I Lay dying, Hatebreed… but I suffered the same treatment!
VINCE: As for the sound, Tim Commerford, and for the style Lemmy, definitely! And I’m fond of Verse, Frank Carter, Worst, Modern Life Is War and Refused.
ALEX: I’m a big fan of the New York Hardcore and Punk scenes, bands like Agnostic Front, Warzone, Judge, the Casualties, the Misfits, the Ramones… I also love bands like Verse, Gallows, Comeback Kid, Miles Away or Bishop’s Green. I think we made a mix of all our influences and the result is really between angry Punk Rock and old school Hardcore, with a soft Metal touch brought by JC and Cedric.
How is being a band from Marseille – France? Tell us something about it.
ALEX: I think qualitatively there’s a very good Punk scene in France, and there’s lots of bands. The only problem is that the audience is not very large, especially in Marseille which is a huge Hip Hop town. So it’s sometimes a bit hard to book shows, but we get by quite well, thanks to passionate people, like Crapoulet Records, La Salle Gueule or Neanderthal Prod in Marseille, who fight all year round for our scene.
JC: There is an active Hardcore scene in Marseille for nearly 20 years, with cult bands like Unfit or None Shall Be Saved or more recently Wake The Dead to name but a few. But the biggest part of the iceberg stays underground.
VINCE: Hardcore shows in Marseille are really restricted to a few pubs and concert halls, it’s not really the municipality’s liking!
What’s the best live act in your area?
VINCE: The Arena of Nimes!
ALEX: I agree with Vince, a show in an ancient Roman amphitheatre is really something incredible. And I’ve always had a crush on La Salle Gueule (ex O’Bundies and Black Hand Inn) a great Punk bar in Marseille, I’m a barfly there for more than 10 years, it’s like home to me!
CEDRIC: I also think of the Secret Place near Montpellier and Le Cabaret Aleatoire in Marseille, that’s where I’ve seen all my favorite bands!
Have you made any tours in Europe in the past? Are you planing to do a European tour in the near future. Did you use Livetrigger.com to book any show?
JC: We haven’t booked any shows with Livetrigger yet but we’ll surely do! We have a bunch of contacts all over Europe so we’d like to concretize a Euro Tour, but maybe start by a French one first.
ALEX: I’ve made an Italian Tour with one of my previous bands but with RDS we’ve never toured outside the South of France till now. I hope we’ll soon be able to do it because it’s an amazing experience to share your music with people from other countries, other cultures, away from your place.
VINCE: I’ve never toured before but I hope we will soon! And I think Livetrigger will be helpful to fill gaps in our route.
Tell us something about your best and your worst memory on the road.
ALEX: I think my best memory with Rats Don’t Sink is when we played at the Up&Down in Montpellier! We had an all-you-can-drink deal with the bartender and we played dead drunk in front of a mad crowd in a tiny basement. We were so close to the pit that we were hit by the people who were moshing and the jack of my microphone was litteraly torn out as I got caught in a circle pit so I kept on singing a capella till JC gave me his, it was crazy!
And I don’t have bad memories, I’m always too drunk when I should ahah
JC: Alex is too often drunk. I remember our very first show, his first words were “Hi, we are Rats Don’t Sink, we’re a bit drunk but fuck it!”, and he slipped on a puddle of beer and fell full length on the floor during our first song! But it’s not really a bad memory, it was pretty funny.
CEDRIC: My best memories are our show in Montpellier where the crowd was insane but also our shows in Marseille at La Machine A Coudre with Purple Thunderskull and The Sicilian Disasters, and at the Hello Fest where we played open air in the street, in front of the passers. My worst one is my first show with the Rats after only a little more than one month in the band, I was so nervous that I couldn’t even remember what I had to play!
VINCE: Hello Fest in Marseille is my best memory, it was so powerful! And our show at the Up&Down was pretty cool too. My worst memory is our last St Patrick’s show, I didn’t feel any pleasure playing, conditions were not good and we were very frustrated after the show.
What do you think of Livetrigger.com? Do you think it could be a good tool to facilitate the process of booking and organizing shows? Do you have any suggestions?
ALEX: I really love the concept of Livetrigger.com, it’s an amazing tool for bands and bookers. You can search venues, local bands, bookers, around the whole world! It’s a young network, so there’s not a huge contacts base yet, but I really hope it will grow because it’s hugely helpful to small DIY bands like us.
VINCE: Definitely! It’s a great idea! Thanks a lot for your interest, and I hope we’ll soon be able to visit you with Livetrigger’s help hehe