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INTERVIEW: ‘Goodbye’ Tweets and Tour Talk with Ratboys

By Jackie Swisshelm

Julia Steiner and Dave Sagan are Ratboys, from Chicago. For those who’ve ever questioned what ‘post-country’ music is, they make it. For simply two individuals making music collectively, their sound is huge. Their lyrics are likewise all-encompassing, spinning reminiscences that typically inform a story, by some means exuding a feeling of intimacy. In their songs, Steiner pairs dreamy vocals (assume Soccer Mommy) with steel guitar samples and the occasional nation drum beats.

For a yr and a half, they toured extensively after the discharge of their first LP, AOID, in 2015 and before sitting right down to make their 2017 release, GN. As of Tuesday, they headed out on tour once more for three months, holed up with further bandmates Sean Neumann and Marcus Nuccio. As they have been departing Chicago, we chatted with them about previous excursions, baguettes, and the significance of saying goodbye. Read our interview under.

GN by Ratboys

AP: I was taking a look at some photographs and noticed that you simply guys had toured internationally. Are you able to inform me how that have felt?

JS: It’s pretty totally different truthfully than touring within the States. In Europe it’s especially totally different as a result of you need to lease a car and lease all of your gear. You’ll be able to’t actually convey something with you so the overall planning of it is a little more difficult as a result of you must purchase all that stuff…

It’s good as a result of in Europe there’s a unique normal for hospitality, a minimum of within the DIY world. We haven’t carried out any international touring that’s by means of an agency, so I can’t actually converse to that. But the experiences we’ve had have been superb, mainly as a result of individuals in Europe, once they invite you to sleep in their residence, they make you meals. Even in a number of the venues, they have flats in the venues where you’ll be able to sleep, and they’ll make you dinner. It’s sweet. It’s few and far between, locations like that within the States, whereas in Europe, it seems a bit extra regular, which is actually cool. It’s identical to a complete sensory overload whenever you get to play music out of the country or another continent, the place they don’t converse English. It’s so exciting whenever you get to satisfy individuals you by no means would have in any other case in all probability gotten to satisfy. We really feel super, super fortunate that we’ve gotten to try this. Hopefully we’ll get to do it once more.

AP: Hopefully! Had you travelled internationally earlier than?

JS: Yeah, Dave and I each did a yr of our school in Europe. He was in Rome, and I was in Dublin.

AP: I really like Rome! I lived in Sicily for three years and obtained to journey. It was fun dwelling there, but I can’t actually imagine touring there with a band.

JS: Positive. It’s undoubtedly like a traveling circus. In a good way, although. Yeah, we haven’t performed [in Rome]. I haven’t made it that far south in Italy, but. Sometime, hopefully. It’s such a gorgeous place.

I’ll say, too, Dave has lots of extended family in Poland. And so, once we acquired to play there, a bunch of his household got here out and we stayed with his aunt. It’s really nice to get to reconnect with family that method, as a result of they stay actually distant. Additionally he was translating for us and stuff. It was nice.

AP: What’s your go-to pit-stop snack if you’re on tour?

JS: Oh, man. I really like bananas, and apples, and in all probability Sour Patch Youngsters.

AP: What about whenever you’re internationally touring?

JS: Oh, good question. In all probability several types of bread internationally are like, very exciting to attempt. In Europe, particularly, we acquired to go to the grocery store and get baguettes everywhere. And all types of several types of things. That’s in all probability my favorite thing. Dave and I each, on the aspect once we’re not touring, to make some additional money we do this grocery delivery enterprise. And so I’m only a complete nerd about like going to grocery stores all over the world and across the U.S. too, as a result of they’re so numerous. So yeah, it’s enjoyable to see what like how a rustic feeds its individuals.

AP: That’s not a interest that I’ve heard before.

JS: It’s pretty niche.

AP: What do you search for in a grocery store?

JS:  Properly, I imply loads of grocery shops, nowadays especially, in the US have ready meals, you recognize? Like a scorching bar and plenty of cool like store-brand stuff. I do know Wegmans has a crazy sweet wall. And Wegmans is within the Northeast, so I by no means really get to go there. It’s exciting.

AP: Oh, prepare. We’ve them.

JS: But yeah, it’s just fun to see the totally different little specialty choices. As a result of in all places is gonna have Kraft Mac & Cheese or peanut butter or no matter, nevertheless it’s cool to see totally different native things for sale.

AP: Good level. I’m going to ask about music stuff now. Are you able to speak about what sonically inspired your final album, GN?

JS: For positive. I mean, I feel *laughs*. We recorded that so long ago, I’m simply making an attempt to recollect. Properly, I’ll say that once we recorded our first ever album, AOID, I had simply purchased my electric guitar and amp, like, two weeks before we started. And I had by no means played a show with that gear. I used to be fairly new to it, to say the least. So, I didn’t really have any kind of expertise in dialing-in sounds with the electrical guitar and stuff. And so in between recording that, in 2014-2015, and then recording GN in early 2017, I performed a ton of exhibits with my gear and turned far more snug on the electric guitar. So I’d say that confidence was big. I don’t know if it was an affect on the songs in any respect, nevertheless it undoubtedly influenced how the whole lot ended up sounding on the recordings, because I felt more intentional about how the recordings ended up sounding, at the least my part.

That collection of songs is type of fascinating to me, as a result of a variety of them are previous concepts that I type of rehabbed, identical to, songs that I had written in high school, however by no means really acquired the lyrics right or by no means really finished the thought. However then, Dave and I ended up revisiting them and transforming them. So, it’s exhausting to pinpoint one specific concept or inspiration really, because numerous the songs have been from very totally different time durations. I will say going ahead, it’s exciting to me to type of get away from that. The document that we simply finished making is nearly there. And the one which we’re working on now’s undoubtedly going to be all from one time. So, I feel it’ll be more cohesive in that means, so far as all the songs being written within a sure month or two months.

AP: So, on that word, I used to be going to ask in the event you’re at present writing music. It feels like you’re?

JS: Yeah, yeah. We recorded an album just lately that we’re nonetheless figuring out the small print of when it’s going to return out. Hopefully later this yr. It’s weird. We have now to plan this stuff to date prematurely and plan around different individuals’s schedules. But we’re working on that proper now. After which within the meantime, we just, you already know, we like to put in writing songs. So we’ve just been working on new ones, too.

It’s weird because the brand new one isn’t even out but, however it’s fun to consider the subsequent thing. We’ve simply been engaged on that at house.

AP: Can you converse to what’s inspiring this subsequent report that you simply haven’t but recorded?

JS: It’s arduous to say. We now have like three songs achieved for it. I have just sure little concepts in my head. I’ve listened to lots of Land of Talk and I need to make a track that honors them. I need to do a brief pop music. So let’s do this. And, I don’t know, it’s fascinating. It’s simply no matter comes out. We don’t actually have like an overarching theme or something. Sooner or later, I really need to do a concept album about animals, but I don’t assume we’ve enough but for that. So we have now two, however ultimately that might be cool. In all probability not for this one, however perhaps for the fifth one.

AP: I’d love to hear that! Did you say Land of Talk?

JS: Yeah, they’re one my favourite bands. I’m still pinching myself that they got here back. I used to be fairly satisfied that she wasn’t gonna come back, but I’m so glad she did. She’s one in every of my favorite songwriters for positive. For like, ten years now.

AP: That’s superior. I learn some past interviews the place you converse to the themes on your 2017 report. Certainly one of them was saying goodbye. So my subsequent query is, what do you assume is so exhausting about saying goodbye?

JS: I just tweeted about this, saying goodbye to all my neighbors in Animal Crossing this morning *laughs*. I attempt not to let myself get too dark about it, because it may be really limiting and counterproductive to worry too much about it. However it’s robust to say goodbye, because you by no means really know for positive that you simply’ll get to see someone again. Or, on the very least, you don’t know once you may see them again. It’s only a very emotional, turbulent expertise typically, even for those who attempt to tamp all that paranoia down and just reside your life. I feel it’s especially, perhaps not robust, however resonant for me to think about that because I have three younger siblings, so I really like lots and all of them stay far and wide, like throughout the country. My sister lives in Mexico proper now. It’s arduous as a result of I really solely get to see my quick household all together every year. I get Christmas, if we’re lucky. And that comes from a spot of large privilege. We’ve all been capable of depart our hometown and do what we need to do elsewhere. However it’s just a little totally different from somebody who lives in the same metropolis with all their household and sees them every single day. And it’s the same with tour. Lots of my associates I don’t see very often because we’re gone so much. So whenever you say goodbye, you gotta make it rely.

It’s weird; [Dave and I] didn’t really have that in thoughts once we wrote [those songs]. It just sort of comes out typically, like whatever’s behind your mind or in bottom of your coronary heart. It just surfaces if you’re making up stuff.

AP: Yeah, and then wanting again you’re like “Oh, shit.”

JS: Proper! It’s weird, on this album that we simply finished recording, in every track Marcus, our drummer, pointed this out to me. He’s like, “You talked about waking up a lot. Like, in every song. There’s at least one line about waking up in the morning.” I used to be like, that may be a coincidence. Or perhaps not, however it wasn’t on function. I don’t know. I do not know what meaning. I’m making an attempt to determine it out. I assume I identical to sleeping or dreaming or no matter. However it’s funny how there are specific patterns that show themselves in very apparent but strange methods.

it never gets any easier to say goodbye to those you’re keen on 🙏

— Ratboys (@Ratboysband) April 23, 2019

AP: When did you start writing music?

JS: Nicely, I started enjoying guitar once I was 13 and I began creating little songs instantly. I assume it was eighth grade. I might make up really ridiculous songs about my pals. I never was actually concerned in much drama rising up, but all my associates have been and I might simply type of assist them and additionally snigger with them about it. And so a lot of the songs have been about that type of stuff. However I started actually enjoying it writing songs more for myself once I was like fifteen or sixteen; getting slightly extra moody, teen vibe.

AP: Bless. What kind of music have been you into at age fifteen?

JS: Oh man, properly I actually favored Rogue Wave, that indie man. He’s superb. And I really favored Guster. I simply saw them once more final week.

AP: Guster was one among my first live shows!

JS: That was my first concert once I was 13! All via highschool, I liked them. I still love them. I just love them because they’ve built such a tremendous career and they don’t take themselves too critically. They’ve so much enjoyable. That’s my aim. The show final week was insane. Everybody was going nuts. Plenty of antics. I really like that stuff. But I used to be into all types of various stuff. I’m an enormous Sufjan Stevens fan. I wasn’t into an excessive amount of heavy music until I met Dave. After which we confirmed each other a bunch of bands and broadened our horizons.

AP: So when did you guys meet?

JS: We met on the first day of school my freshman yr, during freshman orientation, which is an excellent chaotic, strange process at Notre Dame, where we went to high school. I’m positive it is all over the place however there especially, as a result of all of the dorms are gender segregated. So it’s only a bunch of groups of boys wanting over at teams of women like ten ft apart, not figuring out how one can speak to one another. It’s very unusual. It was bizarre. We like met immediately though, and realized we’re into the same stuff, and ought to just stick together and be pals.

AP: That’s cute. What’s modified about the way you write music, or even, think about lyrics as you age?

JS: I’ve sort of accepted the fact that it takes me a long time. Typically I’ll get fortunate and it’ll all come collectively very quickly. That’s like super uncommon, however tremendous satisfying. I type of used to wait for that to occur or depend on that. However now, if I’ve a musical concept, I let it sit, especially on tour. Then I try to write words over time. I don’t have to do it all in in the future. And truthfully, it’s good to revise typically; to look again and change things after a while. I’m just more open to being gradual with it.

AP: Yeah, get some perspective with time?

JS: Yeah, baby! It’s sensible. Sure.

AP: All right. So, final question: Can you tell me some Chicago, or Midwest, or native bands which are in your radar right now?

JS: Oh. My. God, sure. Chicago has so many great bands. I might in all probability just reply with that. I only recently noticed Palehound, from Boston, who was on the town.

AP: Love!

JS: Yeah, they’re not who I’m speaking about, however they’re one in every of my favorite bands. They played an superior basement show with this band, Not For You, who’s from Chicago. They are superb. Probably the most gifted— and I don’t mean this in any type of sarcastic method. This lady screams so superbly. I just had no concept. She has such an instrument with her voice. It’s really cool. They only put out tape, and I’ve been listening to that so much. Lala Lala has been like touring a ton and they’re superb. They are superior individuals and nice musicians. They’re not on Sooper Data, but they’re affiliated with them. And that label is superb. They put out tons of nice music. Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, who’s in a bunch of bands here on the town, he co-runs that label, they only put out a music but by this artist named KAINA, who’s a sort of R&B, very soulful, curious songwriter. She’s superior. And she or he additionally performs in Nnamdi and Sen Morimoto’s band. That entire collective group— I’m simply so psyched to be dwelling in the same city as them. It’s fairly spectacular. They maintain changing their sound and hold touring. I’m so excited because lots of people who’re superb musicians don’t typically get out of the town, which is ok because it’s an ideal place to reside. There’s a lot right here to do and individuals to play with so there’s not all the time a ton of motivation to go away. However they’re doing it and touring, and I hope that everyone will get to hear it quickly.

AP: Anything you want readers to know?

JS: Nicely, I’m so excited we get to return to Boston twice! It’s going to be absolutely ridiculous. We’ve by no means performed in a room this huge. It’s Royale. It’s gonna be nuts. We really feel insanely lucky to be a part of this tour. We’re gonna play some new songs. So I’m very excited for that.

Ratboys open for the bought out PUP present at present on the Royale, and a second show on Might 18 (for which a number of tickets just opened up).