It was the last day of a tour that kicked off immediately following an extensive festival season which had included trips to Reading and Leeds, Latitude and Bestival. In front of me were four lads who, quite frankly, had probably had enough. “Should we do the whole interview with oranges in our mouths?” quipped Jordan Cardy, the frontman and brains behind Rat Boy. “You have to say your name after you say something,” he says before Liam, one of the three backing musicians, replies, “They should learn to know my voice”.
The four are hard to crack; when asked the best thing about being on the road Jordan answers, “I just love playing music, man, to the people,” to sniggers from the others. Sarcasm? Possibly, but it’s clear that despite the trouble they get into on tour, from, “that time when you pissed in that venue, Jordan”, “when I burnt Noah’s ear” and “when you kicked two cups of piss all over the bathroom”, they are living the dream. “Normal 19 year olds are boring anyway,” Noah says, being deadly serious for a change. Maybe that’s a statement that simply reflects their outlook. If you don’t find urinating in a green room funny, you might be considered boring.
Musically, there have been obvious comparisons to Jamie T, yet that would almost be an insult to Jamie T; it’s clearly the angle they are aiming for, to become ‘the voice of disaffected youth’. Rat Boy is more marketable than his Wimbledon counterpart Jamie T, and supporting The 1975 later this year is a stroke of genius on his management’s behalf; a slightly grubby nineteen year-old who simply couldn’t care about seemingly anything and is more than happy to fart into a microphone during an interview has the potential to go down well with The 1975’s legions of teenage fans.
Perhaps I’m being unjust, maybe if I was at the end of a tour I wouldn’t be up for an interview; and his attitude is hardly surprising given his on stage antics, which are simply ridiculous. From girls breaking legs at Truck Festival to stage invasions and mass mosh pits, there’s actually something rather charming about Rat Boy’s ability to get people going. Maybe it’s the hundred miles per hour riffs, or the anti-establishment theme, although the ‘Fuck UKIP’ sticker on one of the members guitar is somewhat over the top and is hardly going to provoke a controversial response when in a room with ‘hipster’ teens covered in glitter and wearing clothes too big for them.
So what is on the way for Rat Boy? Three mixtapes down and latest single ‘Fake ID’ is currently getting some airtime on Radio One and Radio X and there is an album in the pipeline. In between showing me the new paper mâché phone holder/charger Jordan made/stole, he tells me the album is due, “supposedly April/May time but it’s nowhere near finished”. Despite this, it doesn’t stop the crowd’s enthusiasm; chaos is what Rat Boy is good at, and it is what the fans love.
It would be easy to accuse the four of being immature, and farting into a microphone amongst other things would certainly justify that. But there’s more to it than that. There is hype around Rat Boy for a reason, and only time will tell if the hype can be lived up to.
Rat Boy will be supporting The 1975 later this year, returning to Southampton to play Guildhall on the 21st November.