Often when it comes to bands, a name is the first impression you get. Rad Pitt‘s name my make you laugh, but their music is far from a joke. It’s nothing but a fun blast of math rock influenced post-hardcore with some solid guitar work. Vocalist Nick and guitarists Chris and Mat discuss their origins, music, covering the Eagles of Death Metal ‘I Love You All The Time’, the Colchester scene, Brad Pitt himself, and more in our fun chat.
Jack: So how did Rad Pitt form?
Chris (Guitar): It was nearly two years ago. I decided that…
Mat (Guitar): You needed some riffs in your life?
Chris: Yeah. I needed some more riffs. I play too much Math Rock. I therefore needed to play some riffs and not sing. So I connected all of the other guys and they were up for playing some stuff.
Mat: Arms were twisted.
Chris: Nick was originally asked to play bass and he didn’t want to do that. He wanted to go berserk.
Nick (Vocals): Yeah. I didn’t wanna play bass so…
Mat: He wanted to go booloo in peoples faces.
Nick: Damn right and “booloo” is the correct phrase. I just wanted to be in and around their faces.
Jack: As a band you play a form of hardcore, did you set out to become a hardcore band or did it just happen?
Nick: We definitely did not set out to be a hardcore band.
Chris: We fall into that genre rather than trying to.
Mat: It was all about playing riffs. So that’s it.
Chris: Next question?
Jack: What are your main influences?
Chris: Our Main influences? (Laughs)
Mat: Math Rock.
Chris: Probably riffs combined with Math Rock to make weirder riffs.
Mat: …and awkward time signatures.
Nick: Right. Despite the fact Chris said in the first answer that we wanted to play in a band that wasn’t Math Rock?
Chris: No. Well [Laughs] No. It says influences! That influenced me to write stuff like this.
Mat: It’s the darker end of the Math Rock spectrum.
Chris: Yeah. Bands like Blakfish, Black Peaks, and Reuben inspired me.
Mat: Fugazi and Million Dead.
Chris: Don’t listen to Mat.
Mat: They were an influence for me.
Nick: I don’t care.
(Note: Nick does care but wasn’t in the mood to go into the ongoing dispute with Chris about the importance of Fugazi. Both Mat and Nick think they are one of the greatest bands. Chris disagrees).
Jack: Your debut has been out for a few months now, are you happy with the response?
Chris: Yes. Purely because we expected nothing when we released it but surprisingly people have liked it and downloaded it.
Mat: Plus it was picked up by BBC Introducing Suffolk off the back of that. Their support has been fantastic. We also played a show for them in Stowmarket which was pretty rad.
Nick: That was a highlight we really didn’t envisage would happen. We basically thought we would get booked for gigs by the promoters who used to book our old bands. Who would be hugely disappointed when we turned up and performed for them sounding nothing like our previous bands.
Chris: They’ve all pretty much turned their backs on us now.
Nick: Fortunately other doors have been opened.
Chris: Indeed they have (laughs).
Jack: For the CD, you do a pay what you can service for them. What was behind this decision?
Chris: We decided we weren’t interested in making money from it. We also thought more people were likely to download it if they had the option to pay what they can afford or just have it for free.
Jack: What was the recording process like? Did any possible experience from previous bands help?
Nick: We wouldn’t have any recording or any songs if it had not been for Chris Smith.
Chris: Cheers guys.
Nick: Fortunately Chris can write, record and produce music. Which meant we were kind of covered for the recording process.
Chris: The recording process was actually really really quick. We did most of it live. The thing that took the longest was waiting for Nick to record any form of vocals.
Nick: Yeah. To actually be happy with a form of vocal.
Chris: I would record my guitar to Jim playing drums without a click. Then Mat and Sean could record their guitars and bass respectively.
Nick: The rest of the guys could then sit back and wait for me to stop fannying about and record my bits.
Mat: Whilst waiting for his Ribena to chill.
Nick: Yep. Love Ribena. #bena.
Jack: What lyrical themes do you tackle on the album?
Nick: (Laughs) Well they cover a range of subjects really. Got one track called ‘Maths, Maths, Maths’ about Bill Gates’ ridiculous net worth and how he could make a change with his fortune but won’t. ‘Cooper’s Damn Fine Coffee’ is about the greatest TV show of all time: Twin Peaks. Obviously. Also got a track about the Son of Sam serial killer and his reign of terror in the 70’s aptly titled ‘Berkowitz.’ It all depends on what I’ve been reading or if one of us has been angered by something in the media. For example we are currently writing a song called ‘Hot for Hardy’ after watching the nation’s heart-throb Tom Hardy in Legend. It’s essentially a love song.
Jack: Your song “Cooper’s Damn Fine Coffee” is about Twin Peaks, what do you love about Twin Peaks?
Chris: I’ll let you and Mat answer that.
Nick: What do you love about Twin Peaks? Argh. How long have we got?
Mat: It’s just weird…
Nick: Everything about it. The casting, the score, visual setting, Agent Cooper and Diane, Jerry’s baguette with Brie and Butter, Audrey…I could go on.
Mat: I like having to actually think about it and what it means.
Nick: The depth of the storyline is seminal. David Lynch did not want to make it an easy watch but it entices you in with the flawless direction. Me and Mat have pretty much grown up loving Twin Peaks.
Mat: Twin Peak Geeks. Oh right!
Jack: Fellow Essex band The King is Blind described recording their cover of ‘I Love You All The Time’ by Eagles of Death Metal as ‘contemplative.’ Given the recent tragic events in Paris, what was recording the cover like?
Nick: Quite straight forward really. We found out Tom Donovan was offering sessions to bands who wanted to record their own version of the song and jumped at the chance.
Chris: It was more for us to take part in a collective project offering a positive response.
Mat: I think the whole thing really hit home in Colchester.
Nick: So many people were standing up and making something positive from such a tragic event. We were just honoured to take part and help raise awareness for the PAIX Project.
Jack: Your cover of the song is excellent. Was it challenging adapting the song to the Rad Pitt style?
Chris: No. Took me 10 minutes.
Nick: I remember thinking it may be a bad idea but Chris had re-written it and sent us the Rad Pitt version before my cheese on toast was ready.
Mat: It took me about 5 minutes to learn it from a mobile phone recording.
Nick: When it was finished and we realised it as 1 minute 30 seconds long we were pleased with that.
Mat: I think we recorded it live 5 times with Tom in the space of about 15 minutes and had it mixed/out of the door by 20!
Jack: Do you ever play it live? If not do you plan to?
Chris: We do.
Mat: We played it at the BBC Introducing Show available on their Podcast.
Nick: Shameless plug there. No doubt we’ll play it again at some point.
Chris: Yep. It sounds more like a Rad Pitt tune than it does the original.
Mat: Which is what we were aiming for.
Chris: (Laughs) Yes. It fits in our material really well.
Jack: You played your first show at Colchester Free Fest. How did you feel as a first show it went?
Mat: Bloody amazing!
Chris: Me and Mat were really hungover.
Mat: We’d been out for my birthday the night before. Incidentally it was my birthday at that gig.
Chris: Yep. Caterpillar cake.
Mat: I was saying to Chris a minute ago that it was probably the first time you’ve seen someone bite the head off a caterpillar cake at the beginning of a set.
Chris: It was a really good show and a really good response.
Mat: Just not having any idea how it would go. Jumping straight into that first song ‘Old Rope’ and everyone in the band going fucking mental was just perfect.
Jack: You also recently played Three Wise Monkeys in Colchester with Telepathy, Three Thrones. and Grand Collapse how did you find this show? How was your live show developed since then?
Chris: Show was really good.
Mat: Still never used the stage.
Chris: Yep still not used their stage. Our live show is pretty much the same.
Nick: It’s always been the same I think. We turn up. We plug in. We play.
Chris: I think we’re more sure that what we’re gonna do will sound ok. With our first show we didn’t know how it would go but now we go in knowing that it will probably sound ok.
Mat: We have totally perfected our stage moves.
Jack: The Colchester scene is held in very high regard, what do you love about the scene?
Mat: Everyone is very supportive of all the other bands. The other day we were on at half seven and there were just as many people there for us as there were the headline bands. It is amazing. Everyone came out to watch every band.
Nick: I think there’s a nice ethos in Colchester at the moment. Everyone respects each other regardless of genre. You find you’re welcomed by people.
Chris: Plus Friday was the second show we’ve been provided with home cooked food. Which is just ridiculous. I’ve never known that! I think that is a reflection of the scene and the bands we play with. We all seem to look after each other.
Nick: There is allot of love in Colchester. Caring and sharing.
Jack: What are your plans for the rest of the year? Any tours or new music?
Nick: Well. We are currently in the midst of recording our second album. About 4 or 5 tracks done. That will be out very soon. Probably have a third one before the years out (Laughs).
Chris: No tours as of yet but the gigs are piling up. So…
Mat: Watch this space.
Nick: We’ll take any little giglet we can get our hands on.
Mat: Possibly a music video too? We’ve had offers.
Nick: As long as people are willing to take payment of a bottle of Captain Morgan.
Mat: Yep and nothing else.
Jack: What I love about the band is the cardboard cut out backdrop which reeks of DIY ethos. What was behind creating this?
Chris: It was created by me before a music video if any of you guys remember? We tried to record a music video and I made that as a backdrop. As a kind of concept we tried to do a dingy/Go Pro-y and really poorly lit video and I made that as the shit backdrop. Everyone saw it and thought let’s have that as our actual backdrop. That’s kind of where it started.
Mat: It’s been used at every show we’ve played at now.
Chris: It also symbolises what Rad Pitt mean I guess because it’s not that we don’t care but…
Nick: It illustrates how much we care about those elements of the band. We don’t care what we look like or any of that stuff.
Mat: It’s all about the riffs.
Nick: And good times.
Jack: What’s your favourite Brad Pitt role? Mine is ‘Fight Club.’
Chris: I’ll let you two answer this one.
Mat: I quite like ‘Fight Club.’ It’s pretty rad.
Nick: Despite the fact he has nothing to do with the band my favourite film is probably ‘Se7en’ because it’s dark. I did like him in ‘Burn After Reading’ as well.
Mat: ‘Inglourious Basterds’ is a pretty good one too.
Nick: Arrrghh. Amazing film. Arrivederci! Can I add that Brad Pitt is an amazing actor and picking one role is very difficult because he’s so on point. With exception to ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ that’s not a great film.
Jack: Finally as I’m writing this Master of Puppets has turned 30. Does this album mean anything to you?
Nick: Well Chris is currently shaking his head.
Chris: I’ve never listened to it so…
Nick: Me and Mat are both over 30 so to us yes it means something.
Mat: The track Master of Puppets is pretty rad. When Primus covered it and Les Claypool played the whole song on bass it was pretty spiffing.
Nick: I remember finding it a very useful gateway album. When I got down to Master of Pups I found I could get into stuff like Slayer and then start working my way back to things like Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath. Master of Puppets was very much their pinnacle album but it’s not my favourite. That would have to be …And Justice for All. It’s a bloody classic. It’s just a shame the record has turned 30 with dignity unlike the band.