We caught up with Burton-on-Trent’s own Max Raptor. Drummer Pete and Guitarist Ben at Y Not Festival.
So this is your SIXTH Y Not Festival in a row?!
Pete: I believe so.
Ben: I actually got told seven last night!
Pete: It seems to be every year we get the call. It wasn’t last year but the year before we weren’t booked to play, but sure enough someone pulled out so they were like “please come and play”. So I think it has been six or seven years on the trot. We’re good friends with Ian who books the bands for the festival so he always calls us up, he’s a good guy.
How was the set last night? And it turns out now you are now playing a second set this weekend? That’s a new one for you..
Ben: It was great, bar a few minor technical issues. You had a bit of a birthday crowd surf didn’t you Pete..
Pete: Yeah, that was a lot of fun. It’s actually my birthday tomorrow!
Ben: We get to celebrate it twice!
Pete: We didn’t know we were playing again, so in the last song I got to do a little crowd surf which is fun when you are the drummer in the band, getting up and out there. I remember I jumped in and crowd surfed to the back, and this security guy came in and said “You can’t do that” and I was like “Well I’ve done it now, it’s a bit too late..” so I made my way back to the stage and finished the set. It was really good.
Ben: It was good, it was lively. Proper punk set!
Pete: I saw a few people standing there going like“what is this?!” But it was cool!
Ben: The crowd was good, there were a few people outside the tent which is always nice. Everyone was lively.
Pete: Well it’s good when there are people inside the tent and outside the tent.
Ben: Yeah, not when everyone is outside the tent not wanting to watch.
You guys are going to be here all weekend, are there any bands that you are going to seek out?
Pete: I keep forgetting, but I did make a list.
Ben: I can remember Tom Veck, Tigercub…
Pete: Andrew W.K., Tangled Hair, Bad Grammar.
Ben: Brawlers are in tomorrow.
Pete: Yuck, I think they play today. Weirdly the name isn’t an accurate representation of their music, but they are a really good band. Should be fun!
Ben: There’s quite a lot.
Pete: It’s always a good line up with these smaller festivals I think.
They do seem to have a nice mix of old school bands and emerging bands…
Pete: It caters for all sorts of people.
Ben: It’s good for the littler bands who come out and do a really good job, like us.
Pete: And of course Dizzie Rascal, I’ve never heard of him before,.. but I’m sure he’s quite good…!
Ben: There is that Turner guy as well…?
Pete: Yeh “Frank-Turner” is it..? Just some guy..
Ben: He does like metal on the side doesn’t he, doesn’t sell as well..
Pete: What was that band he was in? Million Dead, they were okayyy.
Ben: I thought it was Mongol Horde?
Pete: I don’t know, bloody Frank!!
You’ve played a couple of festivals this summer, Sonisphere and a few others. How have they been?
Ben: We’ve not done that many, we did Camden Rocks!
(-Interview is briefly interrupted by random people’s rearrangement of the interview tent-)
Pete: Bizarre. Anyway,.. we did Camden Rock’s last month, or even two months ago and then Sonisphere. They were both really cool, but we’re not really playing that many festivals this year because we are writing a new album. It’s been quite quiet on the gig front.
Ben: But the ones we have played have been pretty good.
That brings us onto the next question, new music. Obviously you’ve just said you are writing, is that going well?
Pete: We are yeah, we’re about half way through the new record.
Ben: Maybe just over.
Pete: It has been quite a slow process, we’ll have riff after riff and we’ll send it back and forth and create a song that way. Then we just demo it all in a little folder somewhere.
Ben: We’ve gone through about seven different methods of doing it I think. Wil (Vocals) is in a different city, and Matt (Base) will be next week so it’s essentially all very split up so we tend to put music together when and if we can and then just send it off to Wil to get him to sort vocals over the top of it. It has worked, it sounds broken up, but it does work.
So you just go- “ Here you go Wil- do something with this!” ?
Ben: Basically yeah!
Pete: Every time we go into record demos they sound completely different to the last set of demos, I don’t know what it is. There’s always a different vibe. So when we started this process for the second album, we recorded three and then the next two we did were completely different and then we’ve just done another.
Ben: Two in a completely different way aswell.
Pete: Sometimes we’ll write a song, be happy with it and demo it and then do nothing with it.
Ben: We’ve done that like what, three times? We’re basically just playing the numbers game and hoping something good comes of it.
Pete: Write as many popular rock songs as possible.
Ben: Try and make everything sound like the Foo Fighters!
What would you like to be remembered for?
Pete: Bringing the party, all the time- everyday- me bringing the party.
Ben: I like that all of our set lists involve having a go at me. That’s my legacy, swearing about me on all the set lists.
Your dream dinner guest?
Ben: John Bonham, come on Pete!
Pete: Rik Mayall. RIP
How long do you spend in front of the mirror?
Pete: I’d say five minutes.
Ben: You were at least eight minutes in the black window on the side of the van earlier…
Pete: Well that’s because I’m at a festival. Really the process didn’t take that long, bottle of water tip it over your head, get your comb out done!
Ben: You had some product Pete come on..
Pete: Yeah, it took two seconds. I don’t spend that long.
Ben: He’s got a comb in his pocket as well!
Favourite swear word?
Ben: How are you going to print this? We can put what ever we want.
Pete: I’m going to go with cunt as well. I like piss.
Ben: Fuck-knuckles is a good one. Concur
Best excuse you’ve ever used to break up with somebody?
Ben: I think you’ve been broken up with more than you’ve broken up haven’t you? I certainly have.
Pete: I was seeing a girl recently and she moved to Rome for six months. We started hanging out, and she’s like “do you wanna keep seeing each other” and I’m like yeah and she said “great because I’m moving to Rome for six months” I was like “ooh, that doesn’t really work for me.”
Ben: Bit of a loaded question.
Pete: But I was like “okay cool” and we went away and did two tours and she was out in Rome, and I finished the January tour and sort of said to her “look I don’t really see this going anywhere” and she was getting really upset and she was crying and I was like “you live in Rome, I can’t do anything about that”. It was a pretty good excuse right?
Ben: It’s got a bit Jezza hasn’t it, little bit Jeremy Kyle. Not really an excuse, just you letting out your emotions.
Pete: Well you know she wasn’t my type.
Ben: I’ve always been the shit one in relationships, so I get dumped first. Next question!
Best day of your life?
Pete: Best day of my life was this time last year, being on tour with a band called Dinosaur Pilot and there was a heat wave. So we were in Scotland and it was hot and just gorgeous, and the best day was being on the beach in Aberdeen. Yes, they have a beach and we were shit faced and I got hit in the face by a Burger King bag that was rolling down the beach in the wind, and because it was made of brown paper it really hurt when it made contact with my face. That was the best day of my life. Best day = being slapped in the face by a paper bag? Fair enough! Great advert for Aberdeen, lovely beach but rogue Burger King bags everywhere..
Pete: It was amazing, summer time in Aberdeen. What about you Ben?
Ben: I can’t even be bothered to follow that.. You can just use that! No, my first show was 2000 Trees which was last year, which was the best show I’ve ever played. So probably that!
Religious, Spiritualist, Humanist or None?
Ben: We’re all a little bit humanist I think, but I don’t believe in a God.
Pete: I’d like to believe, but I don’t! Lots of shit going on in the world that he could be sorting out right now, but he’s not.
Ben: Religion’s causing some of it.
Worst thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?
Ben: Well.. I once dated a Brazilian girl,.. No. I don’t know.
Pete: Will’s finger, I have definitely had Will’s finger in my mouth. Care to expand?
Pete: I don’t know, things tend to get quite weird…
Ben: You do tend to flirt quite a bit.
Pete: He’s mine!
Last band you went to see live?
Ben: Citizen for me.
Pete: I didn’t pay to see them though.
Ben: Well last band we went to see live, last show I went to that we weren’t playing was Citizen I think.
Pete: Yeah, a band called Citizen from the states. They were doing a UK tour a few weeks ago and basically they stayed at my house so we got to go to two the shows which was cool.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
Pete: Originally I wanted to be a Golden Eagle, I used to read wildlife of Britain and I just thought Golden Eagles were fascinating and I just wanted to be one. Failing that Fireman or Postman.
What would you say if you met the Queen?
Ben: What’s the point!
Pete: Hello Ma’am.
Ben: Mines a little bit less respectful than yours.
Pete: Pleased to meet you?
Ben: We’re not particularly eloquent sounding at this point.
Pete: I saw your head on a coin once!
Ben: Can you sign this fiver for me?
Last time you were starstruck?
Ben: Sonisphere- well me anyway. I don’t even like the band but we were in the backstage area and we saw Mastodon and The Bronx just having a chat, who are two great bands and then Kirk Hammet from Metallica just wandered past. I’m not a big fan of Metallica at all but I was like “fucking hell” that’s quite a big name to just be ambling, (and on a random addition) the food there was good as well! You got any starstuck stories Pete?
Pete: I remember seeing Dillinger at Download 2010 backstage, and I’ve always just been a huge fan. Yeah, I still get a little bit starstruck with Dillinger Escape Plan. I don’t really get it as much any more because everyone is just so normal.
Ben: We are stars!
Pete: You get a bit de-sensitised to it all because you realise that they’re just people, and most of them are happy to have a chat. I did have a photo with someone at Sonisphere..
Ben: That kid from Trash Talk?
Pete: Yeh. Drummer called Devon Bentley plays in a band called Trash Talk. I had a photo with him, he’s amazing.
Weirdest moment of your life?
Ben: The first thing that springs to mind is that van journey we had back on tour last year, where Pete got naked and started discussing some quite personal issues with us al… In the rear view mirror all you could see was Pete, with his pants sort of knee high- investigating himself. You said some weird stuff, and then Matt slammed on the brakes and Pete fell face first into the front seat!
Pete? Do you remember any of that?
Pete: Not really, I just remember seeing the picture the next day on Instagram of my willy. Nice..
Pete: Yeah, that was quite weird.
Pete: So many weird things have happened to me I don’t know where to start. It usually involves being drunk.
Would you prefer to only ever whisper or shout?
Ben: Shout! I’m far to unsubtle to be able to whisper for a lengthy period of time.
Pete: I’d like to go with shout, I think. But if you are if you are the only person in the world that does that people are going to get sick of you pretty quickly.
Ben: But they’re not going to like you any more if you just whispered all the time either. Imagine trying to talk to a girl you’ve only just met by whispering into her ear.
Pete: Yeah, I’m sure some girls are down with someone who just shouts at them all the time.
Worst job pre-band?
Ben: My job during band isn’t brilliant, but pre-band I worked in a call centre selling first aid and health and safety training and it was the worse thing in the world. Phoning up hundreds of people per day who do not give a shit what you are trying to sell them. It makes you feel incredibly unimportant.
Pete: I’ve only ever worked in bars and restaurants and that kind of sucks, but it’s easy money. I didn’t like teaching drums actually- because it should be something that’s really fun and you can pass on a bit of knowledge doing, but kids that don’t practice are the worst. Their parents turn up and are like “why aren’t they making any progress?” and you are like “because they don’t practice” and because they suck maybe.
Ben: Probably don’t say that to the parents..
Pete: Yeah, I didn’t enjoy teaching that much.
Who would like to hear cover one of your songs, and which song?
Ben: There is a Scottish band that covered The King Is Dead in a really funny way, that message us every few months “we’ve done another cover” I’ve no idea what their name is, but they’re quite cool. But as for proper bands, I’ve no idea.
Is it slighty surreal, when bands are messaging you saying “we’ve covered one of your songs?”
Ben: A little bit, but you almost form a friendship with them don’t you?
Pete: Yeah! Those guys are from Glasgow right?
Ben: Yeah, and they came out and watched us.
Pete: Always come to shows, they are quite terrifying when you look at them.
Ben: They’re like massive bald guys aren’t they!
Pete: I’d like to see Throbbing Gristle do a cover of one of our songs!
Ben: You should probably explain who they are Pete.
Pete: Maybe do Heavy Hearts, because that’s our ballad song. So if Throbbing Gristle took that and made it like noise and crying sounds, and bleeps. Have you guys heard or seen Throbbing Gristle?
No. Ben: You certainly need to! It’s like.. (The guys go on to do a demonstration)
It sounds similar to Ross Geller (from Friends) solo keyboard music?!
Pete: It sounds like the worst thing on Earth but they’re massive, they pioneered this kind of industrial jam electronic music. They’ve got such hits as ‘Persuasion’ and ‘Discipline’.
Ben: Now you sound like Troy McClure.
Pete: They’re horrible but it’s really like, fascinating.
MAX RAPTOR- One of the longest interviews ever, but random and funny, thank you!