RatatatNYC hipster duo bring their sounds to Vietnam
Rock-tronic instrumentalists Ratatat are hitting Vietnam for one-off shows in HCM City (Pacharan, May 29) and Hanoi (Thai Tu Ga , May 30) on the last stops of a quick Asian tour. Their formula of cracking beats under layers and layers and layers of guitar and synths has been tweaked over the course of three albums and two remix bootlegs since 2004; their latest release, 2008’s LP3 adds a heavy dose of international rhythms and instruments to the mix. The pair has been selling out around the world as headliners and has toured with bands like Bjork, Daft Punk, The Killers, and Interpol. Their appearance here is a rare treat for Vietnam’s music-starved masses--this is the real deal, folks, so come out and represent...
AnyArena caught up with Ratatat’s Evan Mast before the band’s appearance in HCM City on May 29
What are your feelings about coming to Vietnam? Anything you really want to see / do when you’re here?
Sadly, we've got two shows in two days in Vietnam so I think it'll be quite difficult for us to do much sightseeing. I'll be happy if I get to eat some pho and wander around the cities a bit. Are there monkeys in Vietnam? I'd like to see some mischievous monkeys harassing people.
Your latest album, LP3, added a lot of international sounds to the mix. Why’d you go in that direction? Does touring the world influence your sound?
We're always interesting in using instruments that are unfamiliar to us. It’s nice to have new tools because it forces you out of your habits. We were listening to a lot of Middle Eastern and African music before going into the studio so some of those sounds rubbed off on us.
What music have you been listening to on heavy rotation during this tour?
We've been having shows nearly every night so usually I try to give my ears a break during the day. I think Bach is the only music I’ve listened to all tour.
Your music has been used to sell Hummers and Jaguars. In Vietnam everyone rides motor scooters. Does Ratatat have any good scooter songs?
Yes, the next album is full of motor scooter and row boat jams
Being in a band together and traveling long-term with someone are two ways to destroy a relationship. How do you guys make it work?
We care about our music too much, so even if we go through rough spots its impossible to turn our backs on the project. Generally we get along quite well though. We've been doing this long enough that we've learned how to stay out of each other's way when we need to.
What do you miss most about home/NYC when you’re on the road?
Naturally, I miss my friends most. I also miss being able to work on projects - whether it’s music or videos or whatever. its tough to really do that kind of stuff on tour.
Your songs are famously lyricless. Which of you is a better singer?
Mike is probably the better singer. He sounds like Barbara Streisand when he sings. People will weep. I sound more like Louis Armstrong or the guy from Creed.
I heard that you have a collaboration with Kid Cudi in the works. Any word about that? And is there another Ratatat album forthcoming?
We worked on a song with Kid Cudi just before leaving New York. I think it may be on his album, I'm not sure. It came out really good. We've been talking about getting together to make some more tracks once we're back from tour.
Finally, what advice do you have for audiences in Vietnam to prepare for your shows?
Do some stretches, drink plenty of milk.
WORDS: Tom Maresca