Interview The Rakes

‘It is four years after we started so you’re going to feel slightly jaded and a bit wiser. I mean, I don’t quite feel like Mick Jagger or Bono yet.’

Sitting alone backstage as his band prepare to open for The Jesus and Mary Chain in Australia, a jet-lagged Alan Donohue sips red wine from a beaker. Wearing slippers over his socks and a ‘Meat is STILL Murder’ tee shirt, he is still the embodiment of awkward indie cool that we fell in love with in 2005.

It has been twelve months since ‘Ten New Messages’ was released, but The Rakes have not been resting. Instead, they have been hard at work on album number three, and the band have a few surprises up their sleeves.

‘Its weird going away from regular life and working out what to write about,’ explained Alan.

‘The one thing that has remained consistent in our lives, and what we’ve been writing a lot about, is sex.’ Ahem. ‘Maybe not quite like Barry White, though.’

‘We’ve written about half or three quarters of it. I guess we’ll record it this summer and it will be released early next year,’ said Alan, but he was unwilling to let too much more slip.

‘We want to create an air of mystery and surprise about it. It’ll be a lot lighter than the last record.’

And he’s not wrong. Later that night they play a few new tracks, the stand out being ‘The Light From Your Mac’. Driven by a big dumb bass line, it is The Rakes at their poppiest and sounds like the sort of thing The Strokes would dream up on a Summer holiday in East London.

Sex aside, what else has been influencing The Rakes?

‘This time round we just thought we’d do what we are good at; get a live sounding record and give it depth without sounding Mod or garage rock or American rock.’

‘With the first album you’re just writing songs that sound good live, you never expect you’re going to get a deal so you sort of road test them on stage.

‘The second one is a lot more of a studio album and we put a bit more thought into it.

‘It can get swollen with ideas so you have to calm down a bit, so for our third album we are thinking about a good era when good bands were proper bands with guitar based music without crossing it with dance music and seeing what happens.’

Since ‘Capture/Release’ hit the shelves in 2005 there has been a whole host of Rakealikes cropping up on our musical landscape. Alan, remains indifferent however, insists the band will always have their own sound.

‘It is four years after we started so you’re going to feel slightly jaded and a bit wiser. I mean, I don’t quite feel like Mick Jagger or Bono yet.

‘Within ourselves we’ve got this confidence that we can make a really good record and not be influenced by everyone around us.’

The Rakes are currently rounding up a few more festival dates in Australia before they head to Russia, an experience the band have been enjoying.

‘These have been our first shows for about three and a half months and it was really good fun to be back on stage again and because we’ve been playing to people we’ve never played with before it was just like starting over.’

However, it could be a long time before they play in the UK again, as Alan ruled out any festival appearances… and had some harsh words for the Glastonbury organisers.

‘Were not going to do any festivals, we’re just going to focus on this album.

‘Last year when we played Glastonbury we got cheese and onion crisps on the rider instead of salt and vinegar so I’m not going back until I’ve got a written apology from Michael Eavis.’

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