Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes hysteria

FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES // “It’s One Of The Best Songs We’ve Got – Can We Afford To Not Put This Out Into The World?”

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have been tripping the light fandango around the punk and rock realms for over eight years.

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Falling somewhere between indie, hardcore, and more rollicking fare, the band, consisting of duo Frank Carter and Dean Richardson, are renowned as much for their explosive and inclusive live performances as they are for their meaningful rock‘n’roll. And as the clock ticks on in 2024, there’s a whole horde of fun in store for Rattlesnakes fans, with a brand new album Dark Rainbow set for release on January 26 – and an Aussie tour this April also offering the ultimate icing on the 2024 Rattlesnake cake. 

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A genuinely prismatic album of sleek light and poignant shade, Dark Rainbow blends introspection and sonic diversions with plenty of trademark swagger sprinkled throughout. But, as both Carter and Richardson recently revealed to, it’s also an album that found its way alongside an array of songs that pre-date some of their most recent work.

“Honestly, you hit it on the head when you said it’s a prismatic record,” says Carter. “I think in the past we’ve been guilty of leaning too much into the dark or trying to lean too much into the light, and this was the first time I felt like we were really able to embody the full spectrum of life in a record.”

“And I think that’s because: for some of the songs, they’ve been appearing for us over years, like many years,” Carter adds. “Some of these songs that are on the album were written before we wrote Sticky. They’ve been trying to find their place and they speak to you and you’re like: “yeah, not right now”. You know what I mean? Just: “no one would take you seriously right now”. And I think that in order to make a record like Dark Rainbow – you have had to live it.”

With a staggering amount of self-reflection, Dark Rainbow feels simultaneously intimate and energetically meaningful. But instead of leaning solely into the doom and gloom of life, the album also flashes with chameleonic charm, capable of instilling calm, celebrating highs, or commiserating lows – and it’s this very fact that was made entirely by design.

“While it’s an introspective record”, says Carter, “it’s also a hopeful record among all of the darkness out there. I look at it as more like the shadows of things, as if you were in a big bramble bush; you could see the light outside, but you just know that you’re stuck in a problem at the moment. Or when clouds come along – they’re going to pass. They just leave you in darkness for a bit.”

“The record had to have all of that,” Carter continues. “We just really wanted to try and find a way to make a record that really felt timeless. For me it’s like – you can put it on, and any time you listen to it, it can be the soundtrack to that day that you are having.”

I think in the past we’ve been guilty of leaning too much into the dark or trying to lean too much into the light, and this was the first time I felt like we were really able to embody the full spectrum of life in a record.
[ Frank Carter – Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes ]

For a band who rarely look back stylistically, Dark Rainbow’s evolution alongside reworked songs from the past gave both Carter and Richardson a rare opportunity to exist momentarily in the past, present, and future of the band. And while there was no shortage of material to uncover, some songs were predestined to end up on Dark Rainbow.

“It’s interesting because with this – we had no shortage of songs,” says Richardson. “There could’ve been a scenario where we used stuff because we needed songs. But there’s a whole other album that we’ve written along the way that didn’t get made to get to this.”

“It is fascinating,” adds Richardson, “we just got them all running at the time, and I’ve always seen it as: they sort of make friends with each other. And they almost say: well, if this one’s coming out, I need to be with this one. That could be on a lyrical level probably, but I experience it more on the instinct thing. Sun Bright Gold Happening is one of those songs. As soon as there were a few songs around it – it felt like it was the only one that was never not going to make the list. It’s a timing thing, and it is the right time for these songs and we sort of let that come to us, not push it on the songs if you see them as a slightly separate living organism.

“It’s interesting because when they come to us,” says Carter, “we talk about it as an old song, but actually whenever you find it at the time – you kind of know that that isn’t a song for now. It’s like a song from the future, that’s what it feels like. It’s something that’s fallen down from the heavens and you don’t really know what it is right now, but it will make sense in the future. And with things like that, all you have to do is protect it. You’ve just got to keep it yours for as long as possible until it makes sense to you. And I think that’s been the biggest learning for us. It’s like the appreciation of those things now because we watched that pattern happen a few times, but we didn’t know at the time.”

“You always had more confidence to say: no, that’s for the next record,” says Richardson to Carter. “It used to scare the life out of me. I’d be like: it’s one of the best songs we’ve got – can we afford to not put this out into the world? From right back to the first record, we’ve been doing that, but I think I caught up on the third record and started to understand, partly from seeing that happen on those earlier records.”

“And then he started doing it,” Carter says, laughing. “Then he would be like: no, not that song. And I was like: what are you doing?!”

“But I think for me,” says Richardson, “there’s a confidence to trusting that you’re going to make another record. When you first make records, especially when you make rock music, you’re not assuming you’re going to make five. You’re kind of just like: let’s make this one. So, when you start putting songs onto the next one, it used to stress me out! But this time I think it has made a lot more sense. With these songs – this is where they’re supposed to be and some of them are my favourites. So it was hard for them not to exist.

“And this is exciting for me,” says Carter, “because I know we’ve got some in the bag. I know we’ve got another album hearing him speak this, I’m like: okay, we’ve got another record at least sorted!”

“It’s still stressful for me,” Richardson says laughing.

With a plethora of songs lying in wait to unwrap on Dark Rainbow, the intimate moment of limbo for the pair between finishing the album and releasing it to the world has also allowed for temporary rumination on the rare Rattlesnakes magic waiting within. 

“I love Can I Take You Home,” says Carter. “ I think it has one of the biggest choruses I’ve ever written. And musically, there’s a little bit at the beginning that I wrote late one night on a piano and I brought it to Dean. I was like: I’ve got this weird thing. I have been threatening to bring music to the studio for years, and I think that’s the only bit I ever have apart from Tyrant Lizard King. So, whenever it happens – we get a good song out of it, but it is very rare. But that one, for me…it’s a sexy song. And it’s the type of rock music that I want to listen to.” 

“It doesn’t feel sleazy,” Carter adds. “It feels honest and it feels fun and gentle. It feels like you are watching two people make love that have a really strong connection and good communication. And that, to me, is the sexiest part of it. When we got the lyrics out, I was like: okay, this makes sense. This is nice. It’s a nice break on the record as well because obviously with a lot of records, some of the record gets very serious for me lyrically. And depending on the day, it can be tough to dive back in on that. Once it’s out, I relinquish all of that. It’s the world’s record, but until it comes out, it’s still very much mine.”

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“It still feels intimate at this point, doesn’t it,” says Richardson. “Very few people have heard it right now, but I think for me a favourite is Sun Bright. I realised after we recorded it that dating back to even my bands before, I was in hardcore bands, heavy hardcore metal bands growing up – and I would still try and put a piano song into an album. I would just be like: “hey guys, what about if we end on this?”. And in my old band, they got thrown out every single time. They were like: we’re trying to be Architects or something.”

“We’ve done a lot more of that, opening doors that “shouldn’t make sense”, adds Richardson. “But if we love it – we did it. Songs like Sun Bright have just, for me, been an odd constant since I’ve been making music.And I think it’s probably the best version of that type of song. Sometimes you realise that you’re mining for a certain type of song for years, you’re still looking for that certain one. And it’s also one that we got delayed. I knew it wasn’t right to come out when we made it originally, but I was so desperate for that to come out one day. I mean, even at one point we just started talking about putting it out on its own. It’s a special song, but to me it is so integral to the flow of Dark Rainbow. When I get to that, it feels like it was written for that specific moment in the album.”

Set to return to Australia next April, also arriving with Dark Rainbow in tow, not only will the upcoming Rattlesnakes tour offer fans a chance to catch some new and old favourites in action – and it may also offer Carter a chance to redeem himself after a previous visit to Shark Bay went somewhat awry. 

“The last time we were in Australia, we went swimming in Shark Bay,” says Carter. “We jumped off this boat, and at the time I couldn’t swim. Now that I can swim, I want to go back there and actually enjoy myself and not have a day of absolute fear.”

“I jumped off the top as well,” Carter adds, “and I said to the guys: I cannot swim, so you have to come get me. And they’re like: yeah, yeah, yeah. So I was like: well fuck it, here we go. And I jumped in and then all I saw was the boys swimming over like: fuck!!”

As soon as you came up out of the water, I realised you meant it that you can’t swim,” says Richardson. “People say: I can’t swim. And what they usually mean is: I’m not a great swimmer, but I can physically swim. But as soon as I saw your face when you came up, I was like: shit, he actually cannot swim. I felt so guilty. That’s probably the most I’ve peer pressured you in my life to jump off.”

“I know how to cannonball now,” sats Carter. “I spent all summer in Porto with my daughter learning how to cannonball – so I’m ready for it!”


Tuesday, April 16 // Magnet House // Perth
Thursday, April 18 // The Gov // Adelaide
Friday, April 19 // 170 Russell // Melbourne
Saturday, April 20 // Barwon Club // Geelong
Tuesday, April 23 // Triffid // Brisbane
Wednesday, April 24 // Crowbar // Sydney

Dark Rainbow is out Friday 26 January via International Death Cult / AWAL.

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