News The Racket

The Ramones, but with songs about boys and kissing, instead of heroin and Nazis.

London-based four-piece The Racket describe themselves as ‘the Ramones, but with songs about boys and kissing, instead of heroin and Nazis’ and ‘if Debbie Harry had married Dee Dee Ramone instead of Chris Stein’. That’s not a bad place to start, the two tracks available on their MySpace page (‘Let’s Fall In Love’, ‘I Don’t Like Your Friends’) suggesting a fictional world full of pink candy floss, blowing bubblegum and hanging around in single-sex groups outside a suburban cinema. We have a chat with all four members - Mar, Laura, Lawrence and Helen - to find out a bit more about them.

So, where are you all from, and how did you form?
Mar: I’m from Vancouver, BC, Canada originally but have lived in London (mostly East) for the past 6 years. We formed in my livingroom watching Ramones DVDs and Rock n Roll highschool. It was kind of a joke, I really wanted to play bass again in a band, Laura wanted to be in a band and Lawrence we just forced to play drums. Helen I knew from the Sexual Hot Bitches and drunkenly asked her to be our singer (with out checking with Laura or Lawrence) at a Drums gig. Luckily for me (and us) it all worked out perfectly and we’re all best friends now.
Laura: I’m from Madrid (Spain), but have been living in London for 3 and a half years now. I learnt to play guitar when I was like 12 and used to play at Church (sad, I know). I always thought I was really bad at it, so I quit and became a promoter (which I think I’m better at). However, I always had this thing of wanting to be in a band, and as Mar says, it just kind of happen!
Helen: I’m from London which makes me the most boring and unexotic member of the Racket. I make up for this by trying to kiss boys from across the globe. I can sort of play the bass and the guitar (see the sexual hot bitches) but I like being singer because I don’t have to carry any instruments around.
Lawrence: I’m from London too! But i’m half kiwi as well, and New Zealand has a good punk rock record which i’m hoping to help keep up. I play drums because Mar and Laura are harder than me and i was to scared to tell them i couldn’t really play them. Since then i’ve practised and managed to avoid getting kicked to hard for me lack of paradiddles and flams (what are flams?). We formed because being in The Racket is awesome!

You played your first gig together back in March, have you done much touring since then?
Mar: Do you count train trips to Brighton? Then YES! We’ve played Brighton a few times and everytime has involved spin the bottle or making out at some point.
Helen: I went on holiday to Peru….

For those who won’t have heard you yet, how would you describe your music?
Laura: Law is the best to reply to this.
Helen: Hot tunes about boys. Written by a boy. For girls. What does that say about Lawrence?
Lawrence: It’s just a big fast messy melodic lovely punk rock noise. Lots of warm distortion and fast sexy bass lines. It’s The Ramones, but with songs about boys and kissing, instead of heroin and nazis. Like if Debbie Harry had married Dee Dee instead of Chris Stein. And Helen’s correct I write all the songs as if I was a girl, which gets me lots of funny looks when I play them for the girls at rehearsals. I always think it’s more fun to write songs from the girls perspective. i just draw on experiences from my ex girlfriends or my elder sister and think about the situations from their perspective. Racket rehersals also often involve lots of gossip about boys, so the girls give me plenty of ammunition for the songs. One or two of the songs are definitely about boys one of the girls has dated - so if you’re going to cheat down on a Racket girl… BE CAREFUL!

Is London a good place to be a young band? It must be a bit competitive?
Mar: Having been in bands in Canada and bands in London I can safely say London is a 1000000 times better place to be in a band. There are so many more opportunities, people, bands to play with and all the towns in the UK are so close. Touring is so easy here. The EU makes it so easy to tour Continental Europe without having to have a visa. Flights and travel are really short between places. It’s amazing you can just go play France or Germany or wherever on a weekend and be back in time for work. These things are definitely not possibly in Canada/USA. European bands have such a massive advantage.
Laura: London is ace for music. In fact, one of the main reasons why I fell in love with this city and moved here was music. As Mar says, there are a lot of opportunities to have fun if you’re in a band (there’s less if you wanna make a living out of it, but I don’t think any of us thinks of The Racket like that).
As for competivity, I don’t really see it. In fact, something I love is how bands seem to be friends with one another, there’s a really nice feeling of community.
Helen: Young band… hmmmmm. It’s really fun to be a band in London – you get to know loads of people – which is how I ended up in the Racket, play gigs and get free drinks!
Lawrence: I love London. But I think the thing the girls like most about being in a young band in london is playing with all the other young bands which are full of loads of other young boys.

If The Racket had a mission statement, what would it be?
Mar: Um, I think it would be something about pulling cute boys.
Helen: get your pants off and dance!!!!!
Lawrence: Rock fast and hard, Dance fast and hard, Kiss Fast and hard, and long!

You were chosen by the DMD girls to appear on their recent tape compilation, that must have been arranged rather soon after your formation?
Laura: This is probably gonna sound really bad, but I’m one of the DMD girls, so this was quite an obvious choice! The Racket and DMD are two very close things, not only because of me but because we’ve all been really good friends for a really long time. Mar’s something like the unofficial DMD girl: she’s played and DJed for us millions of times!
Helen: And Laura and the DMD girls are so up on their music they’d never let the Racket on unless they actually thought it was good.
Lawrence: In a strange way having to write songs that people like Mar, Laura and Helen would like is challenge enough, and it would just be to embarassing for us all if the Racket were awful when the DMD girls are some of our best friends. Thankfully they love us and in a way that’s all we set out to do when we formed the band. Impress the rest of the DMD crew… oh yeah and kiss boys.

Do you have any other releases or interesting projects in the works?
Laura: well we’ve talked about recording new songs and self-releasing something… but nothing too serious!
Helen: we want to make a video in a hair salon.
Lawrence: We want to play ATP. Then we won’t have to spend all our spare money on tickets for it!! That’s the dream!! I also want the perfect leather jacket. It’s a project all fans can help me with! I also think maybe a tape EP before christmas, a pink one!

What other up and coming bands should we be checking out?
Mar: I really like Lovers Love Haters from Canada and the Disappearers from London.
Laura: I love Cold Pumas and Please (both from the UK) and Las Robertas from Costa Rica (South America).
Helen: umm I only really like bands that are from around 1950. The Sonics are hot! And Phil Collins.
Lawrence: Mar and Laura know more new bands than anyone else in the world ever. People like them should be inspirations to anyone trying to play in bands and put on nights. I just hang out with them and try and absorb it. Also everyone should read ‘Please Kill Me’ it’s a book about the Punk Rock scene in New York in the 70s. After Rock N Roll High School, it is the second pillar of Racketdom. It’s cool, sexy and sleazy, like The Racket!

Tags: The Racket, Neu

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