Date: 1 Nov 92

Ratcat slips into the grove

"I think we've got the success thing under control now," says Simon day, lead vocalist and guitarist with Sydney trio Ratcat.

"You don't realise it's happening at first and then you have to work reall hard to not let it affect you."
For 26 year old Day, the "success thing" happened last year - in a big way. His band had been a feature of the Sydney independent scene since the late 80s, but in 91 Ratcat went through the roof.

First there was an EP titled Tingles. Contrary to all expectations, it shot straight into the top 10. Thanks to singles like Don't go now, the new album that followed Blind Love fared even better.

In 12 short months, Ratcat had moved from the lower reaches of the Top 100 to the number one spot. They went from playing small, undistinguished pubs to headlining the Horden Pavillion and opening for INXS in front of crowds of 12,000.

"The first thing we noticed about all the success was that we got alot busier." Day says.
"We've always been busy, because in the early days we all held down day jobs as well as playing in the band. But Suddenly, there were alot of demands on our time."

"We also started popping up on TV and the covers of magazines, which made us alot more visible - and then you go through all that stuff where your friends think you've changed because you're famous."

"But quite honestl, we've really hidden from success. It's very important to me that we keep out heads clear and out focus correct. We want to keep making good music, and things like success and fame aren't necessarily helpful to that process."

After a successful bout of Australian concerts, Ratcat headed overseas late last year for some "exploratory" touring in the UK. The band then returned to Oz took a well deserved break and began work on a new album.

As the group began recording, it became apparent that changes were afoot for Ratcat.

For a start, the music was clearly developing beyond the two-dimensional pop of 1991. There were also internal problems that would eventually lead to the departure of bass player Amr Zaid.

Many months after the event, Day is still reluctant to discuss the reasons behind Zaid's exit.

"It was just one of those things that happen as a band develops,"he offers.

"I guess you could say it was attributable to everything that happend to us last year, but only indirectly."

"What can I say? Things move on, people change."
On the new album, Inside Out, bass-playing chores are shared by Day and british musician Steve Garney (of the legendary punk band The Buzzcocks).

"When we started making the new record, we wanted to move on and little," Day says.

"We've never been ones for jumping on the bandwagons, but we wanted to reflect what was happening in music. I guess we basically wanted to get more of a groove happening."

The new sound Ratcat does indeed reflect a new emphasis on groove. As evidenced by their recent single, Candyman, and new release, Holiday, the group is successfully combining their grungy rock and roll with more dance-oriented approach.

"You have to be careful with that 'Dance' tag" Day says.
"People have always danced to Ratcat, so to me we've always been a dance band. With the new album we've concentrated on three things; groove, grunge and melody.

Email tingles@ratcat.mine.nu | Ratcat Page