Cover Feature Maximum Carnage: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

The Rattlesnakes kicked off the summer as the first festival headliners in a changed world. With hedonistic fourth album ‘Sticky’ the rule-breaking, positive punks are riding the party into the night.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have always been pitted as the underdogs. However, what was intended as a solo venture for one of punk’s most visceral performers after a decade-long career in an unforgiving scene has evolved into an entirely new beast. With his do-or-die approach to music, and a do-it-yourself attitude to all aspects of life, it’s no surprise that the heavily-tattooed frontman is now at the pinnacle of his career. At the heart of everything that Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes throw themselves into, there is one very clear motivation: do more.

At the backbone of punk, there has always been a refusal to conform - to reject overbearing political ideologies and go against the grain in order to facilitate a space for the outsiders. Punk was born out of necessity, and it’s a genre that remains in flux: one dominated by voices using their platform to enact change and provide a form of escapism from a world that increasingly feels dystopian.

“Someone said to us, ‘This will be the one you remember’ and that’s getting more and more significant as the day goes on,” guitarist Dean Richardson tells DIY from a cosy dressing room at Download Pilot. While revellers get their bearings on the hallowed festival grounds, we’re seeking respite from Drownload’s intermittent showers and catching up with the band ahead of their performance. “This is such a big moment for me personally, and it’s a historic moment for a world trying to get gigs back,” Frank says, echoing his partner-in-crime. “There are so many things hitting at once and it’s a bit overwhelming to think about.”

The band had originally been billed on the festival’s 2020 lineup after the success of their sold-out Alexandra Palace gig in support of third album ‘End of Suffering’. It’s difficult to use the word serendipity to summarise a period of time in which the world was turned on its head, but in this instance, it rings true. Within 12 months they had gone from gearing up to make their main stage debut to actually headlining the festival.

Frank has always been a pioneer for promoting inclusivity - not just in the music scene but in all aspects of life. It’s something that’s been ingrained in him from years of being on the punk circuit: if you have a platform, you must use it for good and share it if you can. When Download Pilot released its lineup, there was a strong focus on fresh UK talent and, to much surprise, a prevalence in acts who are women and part of the LGBTQIA+ community for the first time in the festival’s near two-decade history.

“It’s really fucking important that the Pilot’s focus was on inclusivity across the board. I hope that we set an example on stage with the people we’re bringing out. It’s not just the festival - it’s the least the festival can do. Every band [should have] a platform,” the frontman notes.

“You can meet other artists from different backgrounds, different cultures, and you can come together. What we’re trying to do tonight is to set the bar from day one. Not only have we been trying to be progressive and inclusive from the beginning, now we’re going to talk about it even more because we’ve just lost 15 months of it.”

Maximum Carnage: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Maximum Carnage: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Maximum Carnage: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Maximum Carnage: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Maximum Carnage: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Maximum Carnage: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Maximum Carnage: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

As featured in the September 2021 issue of DIY, out now.

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