Today on the blog we’re thrilled to bring you one of our favourite interviews of the year! Melbourne’s Tranter (Hood Pass Radio presenter/DJ extraordinaire/all-around nice guy) was really the only choice for us when we were given some time with Eric AKA Sporting Life from Ratking, the NYC based trio who’ve managed to take the world by storm with their 2014 debut album ‘So It Goes’.
Tranter: You boys talk a lot about life in New York yet your sound identifies with genres from all over the world. Do you think that the notion that a location defines how you sound is still applicable?
Sporting Life: We definitely tried not to re-hash stuff we had done before, and with the internet you can do a lot of research on different sounds and find out about different events stuff, both of which had a lot to play with the inspirations on the album.
T: With the boom of genre crossover and how easy it is to contact fellow artists via the internet these days, is there anyone you would like to collaborate with in the future?
SL: We meet a lot of cool people on tour we’d like to collaborate with, like King Krule who we pass stuff back and forth with, Dev Hyne (aka Blood Orange) we have traded music with also, but right now it’s about breaking the ice and seeing where things can go from there. I’m interested in moving from an insular style of production to getting a more collaborative thing going.[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAWzCmkJqpc[/youtube]
T: You have been compared to bands with the attitude of “fuck it, let’s do own thing”. Bands like The Beastie Boys, Television and even Suicide. Would this be the Ratking attitude?
SL: It’s not completely “fuck it”, you have to have some understanding of the people who are listening to the music. You have to have a certain understanding of what’s going on other than what you’re making outside of your room. At the end of the day, you need to decide to do it on your terms, win lose or draw. If you get big off of whack shit, you’re gonna have to wear that mask for the rest of you career or at least for a big portion of it. I think it’s better to come out raw and let it develop itself, develop into a baby. From my perspective and as the point guard of our team it’s all about building the skill level. We tried to look at like sport but also like art. Art is not finite, it’s subject to everyone’s opinion but if you look at it like sport you can actually gauge your performance and your progress. Our attitude is build skill and we’ll go places.
T: How do you feel about the over analysis of lyrics happening these days with websites like Rap Genius making it possible to add context to every line in a song?
SL: Patrick (aka Wiki) really hates that, but it’s interesting to me. I think it develops a different kind of listener that’s more detached because it’s not about arguing with your friends about the meaning of a lyric, it’s instead going on a website and reading what somebody else wrote. You don’t even know who that is, or how they’ve been fed it to make that kind of interpretation. How is someone even qualified to know what that means, a lot of the times it isn’t even what it means at all. I sometimes wonder what I’d be like if I grew up reading the lyrics like that. I never really read the lyrics or liner notes as a kid, I just listened and memorized, so it’s kind of funny to see people go and read lyrics and analyze the meanings of every little thing. Sometimes it’s good to learn the slang, especially if you you’re not from New York City, but it is a little weird still.[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpBCXWKx4Tg[/youtube]
T: When recording music, what comes first, the beat or the vocals?
SL: Individually we are constantly working on things, a lot of times we would save a bank of song titles, or a word and a beat, and if the word looks when you write it and the beat sound dope that’s generally the building blocks for a song. After that Patrick will then start writing for it for a while and then I’ll write to it for a while and then we’ll play it out and if it makes the cut we’ll play it for a while and then we’ll try work out how it can be best represented in an mp3 recording.
T: Your shows are know to get quite crazy, what would one expect from a live Ratking show?
SL: Hopefully a good sound system (laughs). Somebody might put a microphone to your forehead, a lot of different stuff really. I mean, hopefully it’s technically sound yet has the rambunctious feeling of a punk show.
T: Are there any plans yet to make it to Australia?
SL: We have discussed it, we’d definitely be down to go to Australia, even though the flight is really long. One of my favourite skaters, Lewis Marnell, is from Melbourne, so I‘d love to go there.