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Ratatat [rank: 74]

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"Ratatat is a New York City electronic music duo: guitarist Mike Stroud and synthesizer driver and producer Evan Mast. Stroud and Mast met as Skidmore College students, but did not work together until Cherry in 2001, a track that later would end their debut album. Their 2004 debut, Ratatat, was written and recorded in Mast's Crown Heights, Brooklyn apartment on Stroud's PowerBook. This album is entirely instrumental, except for occasional excerpts of dialogue at the beginning and end of some tracks.

The band started out on the independent label Rex Records, on which they released their first single, Seventeen Years. They released that single again on Evan and his brother's record label Audio Dregs. They then signed for XL Recordings, releasing their debut album and the single Germany to Germany. Ratatat occasionally remix other artists' songs, most notably on their limited 2004 release Ratatat Mixtape Vol. 1 which garnered the attention of Rolling Stone. Both musicians have had experience with other projects, such as Mast's E*vax and Stroud's stage work with Ben Kweller, The Vash and Dashboard Confessional. Ratatat has toured with bands such as Mouse on Mars, Interpol, Clinic, The Killers and more recently they supported Mogwai in Japan."

[reproduced or excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Ratatat" and its use is thus licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License]


Bandega Interview with Evan Mast of Ratatat (December 2008)

Crawl across the floor with Ratatat.

Q: How have your shows changed over the years? Has your perspective on performing live changed?
A: It's been a slow evolution. We keep adding new elements and expanding on old ideas. With the most recent tour we started switching instruments more than we used to in the past, which we had to do to accommodate the new songs. The videos are also becoming an increasingly important part of the show. They're much more involved and complex than they used to be. I like the idea of taking the focus off the musicians and directing it to something more interesting. In some ways it's always been a struggle for us to adapt our songs for the live show. We do so much layering and involve so many different sounds while recording that we can't get away with doing the normal band setup, and at the same time we've always been against doing something like a laptop or DJ set. We've settled somewhere in between, but we're always looking for ways to change it up and to allow for more freedom and spontaneity while we're playing.

Q: Describe the most memorable live show you've played.
A: We played at Coachella 2 years ago it was near the end of our touring for 'classics'. It was the first time we played to an audience that big and it seemed like they were actually there to see us! Not some other band we were opening for. It was a really amazing shock. There were some rough patches of touring leading up to that, so it was this unexpected high point. The crowd was going nuts and we we're just kind of floored by it.

Q: What venue do you consider to be your "home", where you feel most comfortable, with the crowd and the place itself?
A: There are a few venues that we've played a bunch of times now like the Black Cat in DC, the Showbox in Seattle, and Razmatazz in Barcelona. I wouldn't say any of them are really 'home' but there's a comfort in playing a place that's already worked in the past. I love all those venues. The Bowery Ballroom in New York is pretty amazing too.

Q: Describe the most enjoyable show you've ever experienced as a fan.
A: Wow, it's really tough to choose one - Bjork at Coney Island, Boredoms at Terminal 5, Daft Punk in LA, CSS in Brighton. Before they broke up, I saw Men's Recovery Project at Brownie's in New York. It was amazing. They played all the hits. At the end of the set, Aam Mcpheeters, still shouting into the microphone in his hand, crawled on his stomach off the stage and across the floor, the entire length of Brownies, and out the front door - and that was the end of the show.

Q: You've spoken about the making of LP3, of spending 40 days and 40 nights in a big house full of instruments, making fantastic meals each night and listening to the day's work. Do you think that you and Mike have arrived at your ideal setting/surroundings for making music together? Could it get any better?
A: For that moment in time the setting was ideal. I can't imagine anything that would've suited us better, but a big part of it was that is was fresh and new and we went into it without expectations. Next time around I think we'll have to find a new setting. I think you have to jump into something that's unknown in some way to get that kind of payoff.

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