The Rapture - Return of the People we Love
Friday, 1 February 2008
“I am a little bit of a perfectionist and find it important to really bring a Rapture show to people. I think some of the shows are gonna be smaller this time around, so I’m excited about that.”
The New York band, who have their origins on the West Coast, owe their breakthrough to 2002’s House of Jealous Lovers, a contemporary club classic.
Luke Jenner grew up with drummer Vito Roccoforte in suburban San Diego and they transplanted themselves to San Francisco, forming The Rapture in the late ’90s. It took several personnel changes – and their working through an iconoclastic punk phase – before the final line-up was in place.
The pair encountered Mattie Safer while gigging in Washington DC and, with Luke the original frontman, he became their second vocalist. Along the way The Rapture moved to the Big Apple. They connected with DFA, who guided their debut, Echoes. (The Rapture’s early mini-album, Mirror, is best forgotten.)
Mattie’s cousin Gabriel was the last to join. He entered The Rapture’s fold during recording sessions. Significantly, the multi-instrumentalist forever altered the dynamic.
“Luke and Vito started the band,” he says. “Luke was kind of a maniacal person and was a very controlling person in the band. Mattie joined – and Mattie was younger than both of them. He had always been a singer and bass player in bands and had written songs.
“There was a big struggle in The Rapture between ‘the old Rapture’ and the new blood and, when I came into the band, it helped balance things out. Before you had this one person in the band who, whether he was the driving force [or not], he was the biggest pain in the ass in the band and was very controlling about what happened.
“In the past few years it’s become a more even dynamic. Different people take the reins on the direction and the songwriting. That shows on stage when you have two singers.
“The band is like an investment – and something that we all share together. At least when we play live you’re watching four people doing their band just to play their songs in the most fun way possible.”
The Rapture hired unusual producers for 2006’s Pieces Of The People We Love – the indie Paul Epworth (whose studio credits include Bloc Party, The Rakes and Maxïmo Park), in cahoots with electro DJ/producer Ewan Pearson, plus the hip hop DangerMouse, half of Gnarls Barkley. Thanks to DangerMouse, Cee-Lo cameoed on the title-track. The Rapture have come into their own.
“Pieces was really about honing in and making a more consistent album than Echoes and, more than that, it was more centred to the band as a whole than Echoes.
“None of it was written in the studio, whereas half of Echoes was, so that was what that album was about – realising where everybody in the band was at and where we are gonna be and what we wanted to make together.
“Now we’ve actually been starting to write again – we’re building a studio – [but] we’re yet to see what the direction is gonna be. I think with more touring and more writing you just basically get more comfortable in your own skin. At the same time, everybody’s growing. I like that about the band – there’s always room for growth. In some ways we repeat ourselves, but it seems like everybody’s always wanting to push. We all wanna individually push our abilities and not just sit in the same place and do the same thing over and over again.”
The Rapture were hoping to have another album ready for the US spring, but Gabriel admits that’s unrealistic. Maybe Luke is less of a control freak, but some scenarios don’t change.
“It takes a while to do these things,” Gabriel observes wryly. “We’re all stubborn so it can take us a while to get four people to figure out what songs they wanna be playing together.”
They’re still considering producers, he says. “I’m not so sure who’s gonna be producing the next record. We have some names that are out there, but we really haven’t been talking to anybody yet.”
However, the band do want their third LP to be an event.
“Hopefully it’s gonna be more than just a record,” Gabriel says. “We’ve been talking about expanding the scope as it’s kind of an old model – people make records and market the whole band around a record and tour on a record – and, for us growing up in indie and punk scenes, you put out seven inches, you put out EPs, you put out albums, you put out little zines, and you’ll always be playing shows.
“I think that you can do, not exactly that same thing, but you can do that in [a] larger culture now with the internet at hand. You can make short videos, you can make movies, you can put out something for just online. So, besides the next album, we’re thinking about making music and art for the culture at large – and throughout the different media.
“A lot of those things have just been taken by record marketing people and this and that. For us, it’s trying to take that back and making it as artful as possible.”
What’s more, The Rapture could preview material at Good Vibrations. “It might be the debut,” Gabriel reveals. “We might try out a few things, probably not tonnes, because you don’t wanna play a bunch of songs people don’t know, but we might try out two or three songs that the world hasn’t seen live yet.”
WHO: The Rapture
WHAT: Play the Metro Theatre / V Festival, Centennial Park
WHEN: Friday 15 February / Saturday 16