“I had a nightmare last night that I went on stage at The Great Escape and it was like a primary school assembly and everyone hated us,” tweeted Rat Boy, aka 19-year-old Essex newcomer Jordan Cardy, on the morning of his Brighton show. “I’m really nervous for some reason,” he explains hours later, walking along the seafront. “I think it’s ’cos its 18-plus and I think the older people might not get it.”
It’s a logical fear to have. After all, Jordan’s music is innately youthful – a chaotic barrage of sounds that exuberantly clash together (a potent mix of Blur’s cockney knees-up side, the urgency of The Libertines and Beastie Boys’ in-yer-face raps), and lyrics depicting the highs and lows of growing up that are relatable to everyone in their teens and early twenties. It’s music that matches his personality: cheeky, upbeat and always on the lookout for fun (within a few minutes of Radar meeting him, he manages to piss off security on the pier and photobomb a group of bemused Japanese tourists).
Even when singing about losing his job in Wetherspoons and having no money on infectious debut single ‘Sign On’, he manages to make the struggle of figuring out life post-school sound like a riot. Ironically, he’s since scored a deal with Parlophone (home to his musical heroes Blur and Babyshambles), keeping him far away from the dole.
Musically, Jordan’s keen to follow in Mike Skinner’s storytelling footsteps and is working on a third mixtape (to follow the soon-available ‘Neighbourhood Watch’) with a narrative thread that runs throughout. “I think it’s amazing how someone can tell a story the whole way through,” he says, wide-eyed. “I don’t think I’ve got the attention span for it, but I’ve been writing down ideas and trying to put stuff together.”
His main ambition, though, is to not mess up his chance to hit the bigtime. “I really get nervous about that, but I can’t help but be a dick,” he laughs.
RAT BOY: NEED TO KNOW
BASED Chelmsford, Essex
FOR FANS OF The Streets, Blur, Jamie T
BUY IT Debut single ‘Sign On’ is out now via Hometown Records
SEE HIM LIVE Colchester Sound House (May 20), London Dublin Castle (27), Brownstock Festival (July 12), London Boston Arms (24), Reading & Leeds Festivals (August 28–30)
BELIEVE IT OR NOT Jordan got banned from a Chelmsford pub for trying to get a recording of a glass smashing for ‘Laughter’. “Well, my mate’s banned, ’cos I used his ID,” he grins cheekily.