The rock-tronica duo hits Minneapolis

How bright is Ratatats future?

Image by Photo Courtesy Ratatat

How bright is Ratatat’s future?

by Conrad Schoenleber

WHAT: Ratatat, DOM, Bobby Birdman

WHEN: Sept. 11. 6 p.m.

WHERE: First Ave. 701 First Ave. N

COST: $20/$23 (Sold Out)


It’s not about the drugs. Ratatat producer, bassist and synth player, Evan Mast, is insistent about that point.

“Every time we post a video on YouTube, like every other comment is something like, ‘these dudes are on so much LSD.’ Neither Mike [Stroud, guitar] and I have even tried those”. But with song titles like “Drugs” from their latest full-length, LP4 (June 2010), it’s easy to see why people would get that impression.

Along with recent Kid Cudi and MGMT collaborations, the Brooklyn duo has been pushing for new levels of experimentation and fame. “LP4”, their fourth studio album, takes their sound in an increasingly complex direction.

The once simple yet catchy formula of guitar riffs over a strong beat of their older albums has become sample-heavy with esoteric drums. The track “Neckbrace“ exemplifies this sample-driven approach with stretched out sounds and reverb galore. The track “Bob Ghandi“ sees the duo experimenting with their beats. Middle Eastern drums add an interesting twist to Ratatat’s typical sound.

The duo considers themselves to be a band of producers, not desiring an outside source to aid in creating their music. Their previous remix albums, which included the party-friendly remix of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Party and Bullshit,” show off their producing skill.

The band likes isolation and time when creating. “We rented a huge house upstate with a ton of different instruments and set up shop for four months,” Mast explained. “It was totally secluded so we could produce something that we were actually proud of.”

For their sold out Minneapolis show, the rock-tronica duo promises the trippiest, spaced-out light and sound show ever. “We’re incorporating 3D holograms that no other band has ever used before”, Mast said.

Ratatat aims for more: “I would personally want to put on a show that people can’t get from any other band,” he added. “We want them to come to us, because we make it worth it.”

The members of Ratatat like to keep a low profile live, allowing their stage show and music to speak for itself. At previous Minneapolis shows they only spoke to introduce themselves and to say goodnight. They feel the music carries the show, not their personalities, though perhaps this is because they just don’t have much to say. Mast is soft-spoken and used short sentences.

Allowing their music to display their personalities has worked so far, but it’s doubtful it will hold up. “LP4” is a solid effort, but lacks the catchiness and intensity of their previous endeavors. Listeners crave character and quirks in their artists. If Ratatat doesn’t increase their repertoire it’s doubtful they will continue to sell out Minneapolis venues.