Maybe it’s a combination of vodka and orange, the sunshine or having played a well received set or Joe Maddocks, the frontman of Liverpool band RATS is always as vibrant and energetic as he is when we sat down with him and the rest of the band at Nottingham’s Meadowlands Festival over the Platinum Jubilee weekend.
OSM: How was that? I saw you guys, how was it?
Joe: Nottingham is always a place where we get a boss response..We’ve played Rough Trade a few times and we’ve always had a good response - even Derby as well which is close to here, we played a gig the other day one of the best small gigs we’ve played. Everyone is loving it, they know the words.
OSM: What’s it like playing a festival compared to indoor shows, it’s a different vibe isn’t it?
Joe: I do prefer outdoor gigs because with outdoor gigs like I wear a Berghaus on stage so you don’t come off sweating. And at fezzy’s you get that breeze.
OSM: You’ve all known each other since you were kids. That bond, what’s that bond like? Is it special when you are on stage?
Joe: We all have scraps every day lad. At the same time it’s probably more special for me.We were in different bands. I was playing guitar for a rapper in a reggae band. I was listening to Ed Sheeran and Alan was playing Jet kind of thing and his band made me want to start a band. Mikey (lead guitar) is a golden egg who came from our old manager and our families knew each other in the past which we didn’t find out until a long time after being mates.
Mikey: Joe was at my first ever gig.
Joe: And we didn’t even know that either. I used to go around youth centers in Liverpool and one had free piano lessons and one had free singing lessons so I’d go to any I could to get what I could get. I was at this one in Huyton and this kid played ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ but he proper f___ed up the guitar solo and it’s one of the easiest guitar solos. And he butchered it and all my mates started laughing at him and I remember me saying “don’t laugh at him he’s only about twelve, at least he’s giving it a go”. Then years later when me and him (Mikey) are homeless living in a tent in Ipswich we were talking about our first gigs and Mikey showed a video and it was from that gig. And I'm in the video! We are all sat there, heads blown off. Crazy.
OSM: You were the first signing to This Feeling Records. How did that come about? Are you excited about working with them?
Joe: Yeah we loved This Feeling. We’ve worked with them from the very start of the band. We did a gig with them at Phase One in Liverpool which we sold out, 250 tickets. We are doing a gig with them on Saturday (11th June). We did The Wind Factory which I think is the biggest gig they’ve ever done. We sold 1200 tickets. If you are an up and coming band right now they are the best people to go to. It’s a two way street, you’ve got to work hard do you know what I mean? That’s how it should be.
OSM: What have you got coming up next?
Joe: We’ve got a gig on Saturday, this Saturday the 11th of June. In the Arts Club (Liverpool). We’ve played there before, before the lockdown. We want to build it back up - a 250 (capacity), a 500 again, get back to The Wind factory, where we were ten days before all that shit began. The day we played to 1200 people is the day the first covid case got recorded in the UK.
RATS play at Liverpool’s Arts Club this Saturday, the 11th of June. Tickets are available here.