Rattle are an experimental new drumming duo formed by Katharine Eira Brown (of Kogumaza fame) and Theresa Wrigley (of Fists fame). Their debut album is due to drop on 5 August via Upset the Rhythm and in conjunction with I Own You Records but TGA are thrilled to bring you the exclusive stream of the record ahead of its release.
Hypnotic and harmonic, Rattle sure know how to bring the beats. The band’s unique style “weaves and intertwines post-punk, minimalism and experimental rock, through off-kilter rhythms, patterns and counter melodies.”
Their eponymous LP marks the Nottingham-based pair’s first studio effort, created in collaboration with live sound engineer Mark Spivey (also of Kogumaza).
Delve into the thunderous sounds of ‘Rattle’ and read the track by track commentary below:
‘TRAINER (GET YOU)’
Katharine: This is a song designed to make the listener move in someway, and hopefully dance. We’re only just starting to have dancing audiences, many of our first gigs were supporting experimental musicians with a brilliant, encouraging, open-minded and thoughtful but a still audience. This song is our first to be just happy being a simple and hopefully irresistibly catchy beat.
The first section is an awkward experiment of sharing a drum beat, we don’t hit a drum at the same time. This awkward shuffle leads in to a unmistakeable dance.
Katharine: This song is definitely about the pauses and breaks as much as anything else. There’s a sense of urgency, excitement and reluctance/trepidation. You are not supposed to know what is starting, but feel a sense that something is.
Theresa: Repeating the same lyric phrase over and over so it becomes a mantra, maybe a positive one.
Katharine: Boom was the first ever Rattle song, and as such it is kind of the blue print of the band. The start of experimenting with one drum kit as a collection of several instruments and sounds, and giving each component the same importance and significance normally placed on guitar/bass/piano. I suppose this song really shows how we write songs, one of us starting with something simple, leaving space for the other person and a clear mind to where things might go, the other person adds to it and takes it somewhere different and then after a while or sometimes right away I will hear a vocal melody, often hidden in the ghost notes of the drums that I usually sing as notes before developing them into words, or not in the case of some songs like this one when words seem to clutter the song. There was the start of the idea in this song to develop in rounds and harmonies and layer up the vocals, which have a choral feel.
Katharine: Click continues where Boom left off, the vocals came really quickly with the beat and it instantly felt that there was little more that needed to be added, it was just a case of working out subtle details, and placing them in a loose order. I like to think of this song as soothing and meditative, as a head straightener.
Theresa: This was written really quickly but took longer to get right in recording; there’s layers of backing vocals which we recorded outside of the studio and one vocal line would clash with the other for reasons which we often couldn’t fathom, maybe we’d breathe in a strange way and that would put everything out of key. Sometimes the mic would pick up on things that are so incidental we’d have no problem at all putting in with a full band recording, but when there’s only two people it’s so much more stark that every bit of noise takes on a ridiculous amount of significance.
Katharine: This song was harder to pull into shape. I feel like we’ve taken this song to most of the practice spaces in Nottingham. I had lots of vocal melody ideas that I had tried out but nothing seems to pull it together until finally I got it so we restructured the song around the new vocal melodies. It’s one of my favorite songs to sing and play now. Tez adds lots of tension in the build up, and adds lots of dynamics.
Katharine: This is Tez’s favourite. We often get asked about the rhythm in this song, I’ve always loved unusual time signatures and rhythms come very naturally to me, it’s something I loved to do when I played guitar.
Katharine: This song feels like one of our straightest songs, I remember one of the first times we played it live someone saying “I could listen to that drum beat all day!” I thought ‘Good job’. I love the sword fighting feel of Tez’s high hat and cymbal hits.
In my mind, this is a cocktail song, I think I was ready to hear a song that you might hear at a busy cocktail party in a city apartment in the 1950s. We played with a lot of percussion on this one, you can hear the sound of the lonely mountain goat, the air freshener, the guiro. The glam rock section at the end is one of our favourite bits of the album.
Katharine: The lyrics to this song are from a very vivid dream. This song was also on our first EP, and our first ‘pop’ song. Percussive pop. The early songs are our most spacious, which is something I would like to not lose sight of and return to!
‘ELEGANT IN THE MOUTH’
Katharine: Sometimes you start singing words and you don’t really know why, maybe they were spoken to you and they are still reverberating around, they don’t really have any meaning to be understood and processed or place to be stored.
I loved the timing of this beat right from the start and Theresa’s snare and floor tom come in perfectly, both complimenting and turning the feel on it’s head at the same time. That is my favourite thing to happen in music and I wonder whether one person alone can do it. We’re very lucky in Rattle that in lots of respects we are both ‘in the same zone’. I don’t think either of us ever plays or sings anything that makes the other one think ‘Alright, easy, save that one for your funk rock side project!” Most often, the other person seems to fill the space perfectly in a way you could never have predicted or hoped. Mark Spivey, our live sound engineer and recorder of this album has added another unpredictable and perfect element to the song with his mixing at the end of the song.
Katharine: Dulling is my favourite song. I’m singing about lots of things but mainly about and for my Nain, Dilys Menai Davies. It’s the kind of song that makes you so excited about the next song that you write, because it’s opened up so many ideas and avenues of exploration. Rattle is definitely about economy, so any surplus and resulting ideas can be stored for the next song. We don’t want to assault the listener with too much to listen to, think about and take in, all at once.
7 August – Supernormal Festival, Oxfordshire
11 August – St Pancras Old Church, London (Album Launch Show)
12 August– Nottingham Writers Studio (Album Launch Show)
22 August – Chameleon, Nottingham w/ Massicot
9 September – International Beer Festival, Leeds