Interview with China Rats
A burst of guitars. A slice of pop rock. Lyrics about the times, as well as good times with mates. All of this combines to equal the fantastic Leeds band, China Rats, the latest buzz band from the UK. The band first came to the attention of PeteHatesMusic with the release of their EP, To Be Like I.
After that, the foursome – Graeme Thomson (Lead Vocals / Guitar), Luke Smith (Lead Guitar / Vocals), Jedidiah Allcock (Bass / Vocals), and George Riley (Drums) – set out on a tour (what a novel idea!). They landed an afternoon slot at the Benicassim festival in Spain. However, the combination of playing a rousing set in front of one of the festival organizers, as well as having the tour bus of second stage headliners Bat for Lashes breakdown, and suddenly this four piece are headlining Benicassim!
After a few more great songs and videos that thoroughly impressed us, China Rats are preparing for the release of their newest single, (At Least Those) Kids Are Getting Fed. We caught up with bassist Jed Allcock over email to talk about this crazy year and what else is on tap.
PeteHatesMusic (PHM): I love how highly accessible and catchy songs your songs are, yet despite the often poppy sound, some of the subject matter is less than cheerful. Is this to sort of trick the listener, or to try and put a happy spin on sad situations?
Jed Allcock (JA): I guess we want all of our songs to be accessible so people can connect with what we’re saying. A few of our songs describe bad situations but we try to reflect on the positives as well. We wrote N.O.M.O.N.E.Y about being skint but wanted to show you can still go out and have a good time. It’s not all about flash cars and new clothes! If people can read something deeper in our music then that’s great.
PHM: Are the lyrics to songs like (At Least Those) Kids Are Getting Fed and N.O.M.O.N.E.Y. reflective of things going on with you and your mates, or is it more what’s happening in Leeds and around the UK.
JA: A bit of both, we’ve written both songs about our own circumstances but also about where we’ve been and what we’ve seen. Of the two songs you’ve mentioned, (At Least Those) Kids Are Getting Fed is somewhat more reflective and observational.
PHM: You guys went from a lunchtime slot at the Benicassim Festival in Spain to night time slot as well. This happened after 2 fortuitous events – by blowing away the crowd and gaining a fan with one of the organizers, and having not one but two of Bat for Lashes’ buses breakdown on route to her original slot, which you took over. How nerve wracking was playing that second set? It’s tough to win over a small bar full of people who only know a few songs, but what about tens of thousands
JA: Well we had a great show on the Friday night and the crowd was really getting into it. The next morning George our drummer got a call from the main promoter while brushing his teeth. He returned to the campsite and explained that we had a headline slot on the second biggest stage! It was pretty surreal and we were still recovering from the night before. The news definately sobered us up!
Once we started our set it felt strangely natural. I think big festival crowds are sometimes easier to win over because everyone is having a good time. Easily the best moment for us all so far! Maybe it was fate but we’d like to thing we made our own luck!
China Rats – (At Least Those) Kids Are Getting Fed
PHM: How much did you pay the mechanics to make the second bus break down in order to get the headlining slot – be honest!
JA: Haha, let’s just say we have a few friends in Spain…
PHM: You have one EP and a new single – what are the plans for future releases?
JA: (At Least Those) Kids Are Getting Fed is being released on 8th October through Once Upon A Time records. There are more singles in the pipeline and we’ve been recording lots recently. We can’t wait for people to hear all the new songs.
Do your ears a favour, and make them happy by checking out the China Rats’ past and upcoming singles. This guys are the real deal.
China Rats – To Be Like I