Frank Carter (The VH Interview)

It has only been a matter of months since we spoke to Frank Carter here at Vulture Hound, but since then the world has changed in many ways and also people have decided to stand-up and take even more notice of Frank Carter and his Rattlesnakes. We caught up with him a few days after his explosive set at Download festival, and following the release of the music video for new single ‘Snake Eyes’.

First off, the new video; congrats on that because it is fantastic.

Thank you.

The video subtly shouts a message that can be interpreted in a number of ways, be who you want to be, underneath we are all the same. What was the idea going into the video, what did you want to say with it?

From a selfish perspective what I was looking to do was make a big change to peoples perception of me and the band, really. I’ve got a bit of a legacy of two vastly different musical entities, and when we started Rattlesnakes it was very much about the aggression and the speed of the former, mixed with the song writing of the later, but what happened was people decided that it was very heavy and like Gallows, I understand that but and it’s a lot of who I am but it’s not the final word. With ‘Snake Eyes’ the song is a lot about depression in the lyrics and stuff, a lot about trying to overcome your fears and keep a grip of your situation within yourself, the video it doesn’t really tie in with the lyrics that much, it can do and in hindsight it fits perfectly. But for me it was just all about making a bold statement and a change, to try open peoples eyes to the wider picture.

[Phone cuts off]

Sorry, you were about to mention about being pigeon-holed.

Yeah, so I was just saying that I needed that video to do and say more in three minutes, than I ever could in my entire career and I think it was able to do that. People got to see me in a very different light, and they saw that there is a lot more to me than just shirtless screaming into a camera or someone’s face. Granted that is a lot of my make-up, but it isn’t all of it there is, there’s a lot more to it. Really I just wanted to start an intelligent conversation about perception, and hopefully open people up to seeing that there is more to us than ‘Juggernaut’, not to belittle that song or the record because I am incredibly proud of it and I love playing those songs, but it’s not where it ends, it is where it begins. I was talking to someone before you, and they said “Download was amazing, how was it for you” and I said “it was great because it felt like we turned a corner, we’ve got a bit of a new look on stage and new music to back it up” we’ve got songs, we are coming with songs this year, which is the best thing for me because I’ve never had that before. I’ve had some great music and some great songs, but never had songs that really got stuck in your head. We’re hoping we’ve got a few hits on the next record.

In terms of the video, how much hard work was that both physically and emotionally? I imagine it could be quite emotionally draining, because it is quite a vulnerable video to some extent.

The whole point was to put myself out there in a way that I never had before, emotionally it wasn’t too tough on me, because I was playing a character so I was able to step in and out of that. In a lot of ways the vulnerability didn’t feel mine, to be honest with you mate I put on a pair of heels and I felt really fucking powerful. It kind of had the opposite effect of what most people would think, if anything it made me feel stronger being a woman, which is a really amazing feeling. Physically, it was one of the most demanding things I’ve done. Whack a pair of heels on and just try and do ten squats, it’s insane! I have an insane amount of admiration for anyone who dances like that, or just walks around in heels during the day because it is fucking brutal, we’ve not even started on corsets yet! Corsets are insane, it is disgusting, I don’t know how people wear them, I honestly thought I was going to pass out a few times. It was a real eye opener, I thought I had it rough in the ‘Juggernaut’ video jumping at a screen for an hour, this video was next level. It was hard work man!

Is this the first track off the album, or is this just a taster to keep appetites wet before the album comes out?

Well it’s a little bit of both, it’s definitely going to be on the record because it is a great song but it’s still a little bit early to start a campaign. We released the first album in August, so we missed last years festival season so coming around to this years festival season you’ve had almost a year since the album came out, so we needed a little boost just to remind people that we are going to be doing a lot of touring and that if we are at a festival near you, you should come and see us and here is an extra reason why. It was kind of like just to bridge the gap you know, but it is definitely going on the next record because it was one of my favourite things on it.

I was listening to the album this morning, and ”Trouble’ hit me as particularly relevant. Do you get people telling you that certain songs effect them differently, in different situations? ‘Trouble’ lyrically to me was speaking quite politically, especially in the light of the referendum.

The thing about a lot of these lyrics is that I write them throughout out the day, I kind of just write as it comes into my head. When we start writing a record I delve into my notebook and see what I’ve got in place. ”Trouble’ I wrote the first half when I got lost in this horrible video of a Jordanian pilot getting set on fire, and it was horrible, it really caught me off guard, and just watching this man totally trapped, who couldn’t escape who knew he was going to die, it made me think about that whole situation out there. The second half I wrote when I woke up and realised I hadn’t registered to vote, and I felt like that man, I felt trapped in a cage without a say, it was never meant to be a political statement, all my lyrics, I’m never trying to pick a side, I’m just trying to show that there is more to it all, I want people to do their research and come to their own decision on it all. Every song on there though, even ‘I Hate You’ you could look at that politically in a way, but ‘I Hate You’ is my love song to a piece of shit.

The beauty of music, is that it can be interpreted in so many different ways

Exactly, that was one of my biggest worries with the ‘Snake Eyes’ video, for me the video was something very powerful and strong and I wanted it to portray that, but the lyrics “what did I do last night, and will I be ashamed” and I was nervous that people would construe those together. For me it was an enlightening experience, a profound experience, and a positive one. But luckily it would seem that I’ve got pretty intelligent fans as it goes, everyone has been really supportive and everyone seems to like the record. More often than not I write some lyrics down and they get misconstrued, but this time round they are resonating with people in the right way. Who knows, maybe I’ve got it right this time.

Its interesting because my wife watched the video first, and she’d just been reading about the tragedy in Orlando, and she said that watching your video it just felt really poignant and really hit her hard.

It was one of those things, it’s a moment that you can’t plan for. We had already set the ball in motion to release that video, and then we woke up the day before to that tragedy, and I was just like “well we’ve committed now” and out of respect of those people it would have been wrong not to release the video. I feel bad talking about it, because I never wanted to make it about anyone other than me.

That last couple of weeks for me, it feel like you guys and especially you have been getting the plaudits and respect you deserve, with the Kerrang awards and nominations, and playing the Radio One thing. How has it felt for you, does it feel like all the hard work is starting to show?

Definitely, to me it feels like a completely different world I’m living in right now. To go and play Download right off the back of being awarded a signature award at Kerrang for everything I’ve done in music previously, then going to Austria and playing a show, when I’ve only ever played one show in Austria in my whole life and we took Rattlesnakes there and there was two and a half thousand people come to watch us and then knew all the words, it was amazing you know? I feel we are in this position now where we are turning a corner, people are starting to realise that there is more to me and I feel like now is my time, life is about a little bit of luck and the right timing, I feel like we are in the right time, we’ve just got to capitalise on that and not mess it up. My track record is that I get gifted something amazing, and then I fuck it up, so I’m really trying hard not to fuck this up.

You made a little guest appearance at the NXT show at Download, and you’ve provided a song to TakeOver: Dallas. It feels like there is a nice little relationship building, how did that all come about?

It came about because Dean is a huge wrestling fan, like honestly wrestling was his life when he was a kid. It means more to him, it’s like people being a devout football fan their entire life, that’s what wrestling is to him. Once our manger found that out, he put the word out to NXT and said “we’ve got some songs, do they fit?” It was funny, because the day he spoke to them, he got off the phone and we’d had an email from that day about using our track ‘Devil Inside Me’ and they thought he was calling because he’d seen this email, but he was just calling to set something up. It was just one of those things that was meant to be! Wrestling is good fun, and there is a lot about showmanship and theatre.

Finishing on Download, your set, as is always, you pushed the boundaries. What was it like playing that 3rd Stage, you looked like you were having a ball?

For me, I’ve played a lot of big stages in my life, but a lot of times I felt like I didn’t deserve it, so I’ve always had this inner struggle trying to work out where I fit in with it all. This time round, I am really trying my hardest to earn it, I’m trying to speak to everyone I can, put myself out there and be more open to things. To walk out on stage in front of ten thousand people and have them sing your lyrics, it was a big moment for us and one I’m not going to forget for a long time. I’m looking forward to going back there next year!

You can watch the video for ‘Snake Eyes’ here, and if you are heading to Reading or Leeds festival, don’t be a fucking mug, make sure you are there when The Rattlesnakes take to the Main Stage.

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