RATS’ Joe Maddocks talks rebelling against stereotypes as an indie band from Liverpool

By Dom Smith
By November 22, 2021 Features, Interviews, News

Dom sits down with Joe Maddocks from the scouse indie band RATS to talk all about success, what the future has in hold for the band and how far they’ve come. Joe believes the definition of success to him is a lot to do with the fan base.

“For me it’s like setting an example for other people. It’s all about the fans, appreciation and making that connection with people. That’s success, that’s where it starts anyway, that’s good enough for me.”

The music that RATS produce is quite relatable, and it involves a lot about real-life experiences and the audience/listeners appreciate this from the band, Joe reflects on some of the songs they have written and addresses what each one meant to the band at the time and why certain songs are the way they are.

“The song ‘weekend’ was written at the very start of the band and that song was always trying to sound very cliché indie, we were trying to make that ‘cliché indie music’ it’s not that I don’t like that type of music, I just think its been done before and I like making new sounds so I was always trying to incorporate that kind of hip hop element to it, that’s where tunes like ‘Jack’ come across. And ‘Daily Grind’ lyrically it is like that but musically it’s a bit like Circa Waves.”

There are a lot of different influences in RATS music which are very diverse from giving us an indie feel to having bits of SKA weaved through, it is a unique approach to making music as a lot of artists just stick to one vibe and genre.

“Well, the band started off originally as like a reggae 3 piece and I modelled it off Sublime, it’s like when you have those pivotal moments when you’re listening to bands, so for me as a kid it was like when the Arctic Monkeys released AM, that was like everyone wants to get into a band! For our generation that was like the album for everyone. When I got into my 20’s, I’d stopped making music and then I heard Sublime and I thought that’s the kind of music that would make a band work and it made me want to jam again.”

Rats as a band has been through quite a lot and it has been quite a rollercoaster with members of the band leaving due to lockdowns and just the band moving around and changing naturally trying to break out of a mould from back in 2018 and Joe standing up to make the music he wants to make and dress the way he wants to dress.

“We’re not the type of band who want to dress in black leather jackets and skinny jeans or Chelsea boots and that, no offence to anybody who does because that’s their thing, but it just isn’t our thing. Every other band we see seems to follow the same formula, we wanted to make something that was different, and we wanted to break the mould.”

So, what inspired Joe to start creating music?

“For me, what inspired me musically is my family, a lot of my mum’s, mum’s family is musical, my great grandfather was a bit like a jack of all trades he played the guitar, piano and harmonica and he was Irish, gypsy background and they had like 10 kid’s, and they all sing, so every time there was a party my nan and all her brothers and sisters would join and harmony, sing and stuff like that. When we were kids, we’d all get made to sing, music was always in the family. Even my uncle Brian, my nan’s brother, he was in a band back in the 70s.

My mum and dad especially inspired me because they own and run a little printing shop, which made me want to be creative because that is a really creative job, they have a big range of invitations which they design themselves, it’s really artistic, my mum was doing leaflets for a music shop that was opening down the road and they had an event on with open mic and a special guest and I managed to get an invite. So, I ended up performing with another person from my school and we sang Wonderwall, and I was up there singing like Liam and then I noticed Bonehead standing there and Bonehead was the special guest! And this is the first time I’ve ever sang in front of anyone aside from family parties. So obviously I clocked him, and they stopped trying to sing like Liam instantly and I got to speak to him outside.”

Things to look forward to from RATS in the future:

“Next year in Liverpool we’re going to do the biggest gig we’ve ever played. We’re on tour right now, we’ve just come off the back of 5 dates, we did two nights supporting DMA’s in Leeds, we’re huge fans of them, met them and had a few drinks with them afterwards. We did a gig in Glasgow too, it’s one of the best places ever, then we played Manchester after and that was more love and energy. We’re back on tour so we’re at Birmingham and then Sheffield and then London with the DMA’s on Friday (19/11/21).”

For people who haven’t heard RATS before, if you could come up with a Frankenstein monster for the RATS sound what is it?

“When you’re listening to our new stuff it’s like ‘The Clash’ with ‘Eminem’.

To the supporters of RATS, Joe and the other members are thankful.

“A lot of people have been in the shadows forever; it’s all come so organically, and we wouldn’t be anywhere without them, and I’d like to thank them.”

New single “Patsy Decline” is out now!

Rats Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialrats

Interview: Dom Smith / Words: Katie Lovatt

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