Rat Boy - the pseudonym for Jordan Cardy - has been cruising monumental hype over the past year.
With his rebellious approach to music, constantly juggling genres and samples, the Essex song-writer has carved out a very individual lane.
Taking ownership of the word scum and turning it into a statement, Rat Boy’s innovation stretches way outside the box of his musical output.
Heading out on his biggest tour to date, Rat Boy surprised his fans with a seven-track release, 'Civil Disorder.'
Clash caught up with the artist right before his first ever gig in Ireland to discuss the recent release, collaborations and tour expectations.
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'Civil Disorder' - what’s the idea behind this kind of project release?
I think it’s like two more tracks that an EP, so it’s a little bit longer. It’s kind of a mini-album. I just wanted to start and see what it would be like releasing an online sort of mini-album. I wanna do them throughout the year. I’ve got another one that’s called 'Truth Of Youth' that I’m working on. That’ll be eleven tracks I think. I’ll just keep releasing them throughout the year, because I’ve been working quite a lot lately, and I want to be able to put it all out while I’m in the right frame of mind for it.
So it is kind of a stream of consciousness way of releasing music?
Yeah, definitely. With the first album, what happened was that I had loads of stuff, and only a few songs were used. When it finally came time to mix them I’d like a different song, and it wouldn’t get put out. The whole process of releasing an album takes so long.
Do you think that releasing music in this kind of format is something we’ll see more of as we go forward?
I think so. I don’t think CDs are as popular, people just stream stuff in their cars. It’s cool to be able to put out music quicker. All the production of making CDs and stuff - like with the first album, it took so long.
What is 'civil disorder' to you?
I think it’s some riot innit. It’s supposed to be loads of noise and heavier stuff, I think the lyrics on it are more like aggressive.
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The tracks feels a lot of heavier and darker than your previous work, do you have any new influences for this release that you brought along?
I think some of the songs on there were quite old. I’ve been making music like that, but it wasn’t really stuff that suited the album. I’ve got quite a few songs that style that I’m gonna be putting out. I feel like they’re a part of the same sort of thing. These songs didn’t really suit 'S.C.U.M.', I think 'S.C.U.M.' was a bit more like happier. Or, not happier, but it was a bit more upbeat and this stuff sounds a bit darker. This is more the direction I’m going in at the moment.
How was it to collaborate with Clams Casino and Lord Apex?
Clams Casino were like two years ago. We made that beat together and it was literally like an instrumental beat for ages. I found it on my SoundCloud again, so I carried on working on it. I played bits of drums, and he’d do bits of guitar and we’d chop it up and reprocess it. he’d be doing the drums on an ipad and stuff like that, so it’s kind of like a weird mix of instruments. It’s cool.
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And Lorde Apex, he’s sick. We did a gig together in 2016 at Heaven in London, and we’ve chatted since then about doing something. That was kind of done online, he sent over some bits and then I put it over that track. It was originally for like a different track, but. ‘Be My Anime’, it’s a bit of a change in style for me. ‘Straight to hell’, you know that Clash song, I was sort of going for that kind of vibe but with trap over it. Like the M.I.A. song, ‘Paper Planes’, I like the way that song channel into hip-hop.
Up until now it seems that there has been a certain expectation for your lyrics to be a statement, do you feel like there’s still a pressure to having to say something?
I think them songs are the easiest for me to write as I’m going on a rant basically. If I’m trying to make something that’s more catchy I’m like “ugh”. With 'Civil Disorder', all the lyrics are right from that. I go into to the studio every day for like a week, and I did all the lyrics. I wasn’t really worried about trying to make like a massive chorus, I just wanted to write lyrics. I feel like that works better.
I feel the biggest pressure on me is to make something catchy. That’s the main pressure. When I make stuff, it’s good if people can sing along to it, but you know, I make quite a lot of stuff, so. It will come out by chance.
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You have a track on the release called ‘Salve To The System’, what is that about?
It’s about work. I was working in Wetherspoons, and I used to do the night shift. By the time I got home it’s be 2am and I’d be knackered. I’d try and make music when I got home and it was just so difficult to try and put both ends together. I was in college as well at the time so.
Do you think there is a lack of support for creatives when they try and start out then?
Yeah, definitely. Even the school I went to, I don’t think they even had an art department. I went to Chelmer Valley high school and I don’t think it’s really good for creative people.
You’re on tour now, how’s that going?
Good, we played our first gig two nights ago, that was fun. We weren’t expecting it to go down so well. We were quite worried about it, but the crowd was sick. The first song was a new one that we’ve never played before and that no one’d ever heard, then everyone was just mental. It’s not out yet, but everyone really seemed to like it so we’re really excited to put it out now.
Going out on this tour, did you have anything extravagant planned for this stage show wise?
The way that we positioned the stage was like, doing a backdrop which have a guy riding a horse on it. It’s massive. Then we have a big scum sign in the middle that lights up that me and my dad drew up, and then he did it out of wood, so it’s a big glowing sign. Then we’ve got a Ratboy carpet and stuff. It’s cool, I think we’ll just literally go mad on stage and just jump around.
What’s your future aspirations?
I’m gonna try and release as much music as I can this year. Maybe work with a few more people in different genres of music just to try and collaborate.
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Words: Aurora Henni Krogh
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