Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have spoken to NME about being given sweets by Metallica icon James Hetfield – as well as what to expect from their next record and new card game Halves. Watch our video interview with the duo above.
The band were speaking to NME backstage at the recent Mad Cool 2022, where Frank Carter and bandmate Dean Richardson started by reflecting on returning to touring and the world’s reaction to their 2021 album ‘Sticky‘.
“What’s happened live has been amazing,” said Carter. “It’s just developed into this beautiful thing. The idea behind the record was to make a live album. It was a nice realisation that we could get those songs right in the studio for the show.”
‘Sticky’ also featured a number of guests – including IDLES frontman Joe Talbot, Cassyette, Lynks, and Primal Scream‘s Bobby Gillespie. Discussing the latter, Richardson described the collaboration as “my favourite studio moment that I’ve ever had”.
“I felt like I was watching someone else’s documentary on something I thought was awesome,” said Richardson. “I even started covertly filming it on my iPhone, which is not something I’ve ever done in my life. I haven’t even watched it because I can remember it vividly. It was just a beautiful moment.”
He continued: “Even his approach to how he went about making it was fascinating – it was all art-led. It was only going to happen if he was inspired. That’s why it was quite special when he said, ‘Go on then, throw up a mic’. It was beautiful to see. He just wanted to like the music, and didn’t care if we were the biggest artists or the smallest artists.”
Agreeing that Gillespie was “one of the greatest of all time”, Carter said that the frontman “dropped a lot of wisdom, as well as dropping the mic”.
“He came in the studio just to listen,” said Carter. “We weren’t even sure that we were going to write something together. We played him some stuff, he asked for some paper, and he just wrote these lyrics – some of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard. He put it all down in two takes and it was phenomenal, he left, I went and grabbed these lyrics, turned them over, and it was someone’s record contract! Now I’ve got them framed in my house.”
Asked about future dream collaborators, Carter pointed to Metallica icon James Hetfield.
“We keep bumping into him and he’s a good lad,” said Carter. “He’s the king of rock’n’roll, he’s proper. I watched them the other day. I was side of stage watching him from his little guitar world – well, massive guitar world – and it was so fucking sick. I’ve been trying to downplay it, but it was one of the best moments of my entire life. I fucking love Metallica. I’m stood there, watching him play, he comes over to change his guitar and he gives me a high five and goes, ‘Wait, I’ve got something for you!’
“He goes and gets this handful of stuff and then drops in my hand some plectrums and these little Vocalzone pills. They’re these little throat sweets and he goes, ‘These are going to save your life and save your throat. This is in the middle of his fucking set and he’s literally giving out sweets!”
Carter continued: “He goes, ‘Do you know who put me on to these?’ I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Man, some fucking rock’n’roll legend’. Then he goes, ‘Tom fuckin’ Jones’, he puts his guitar back on and he goes back to the stage. I’m just stood there like, ‘Wow, that is fucking sick’.”
Richardson admitted that he was “about 10 times better at the guitar” when playing one of the plectrums gifted them by Hetfield, and that he was hoping to “write all the riffs for the new record with just that pick”. Asked about progress on album number five, Carter replied: “We’ve been working on it and writing a lot. I don’t really know where it’s going yet. It’s nice to just be free after a record and crack on. In September or October time, we’re going to properly dig in.”
Richardson added: “We’ve got a bunch of stuff coming in. You makes loads and then something cohesive seems to appear. In that moment, we get insanely productive. You start to see the glimmer of a record then you’re just like, ‘Quick, get it before it’s gone!’”
For now, the pair certainly have their hands full. As well as touring and Carter’s Hoxton Street tattoo parlour in London, they also recently launched the card game Halves as Carter & Richardson.
Halves utilises the player’s “superior intellect” to win points by guessing the word on their opponent’s card and stopping the opponent from guessing theirs. An arsenal of Trap cards designed to “deceive, disrupt and derail” players adds a twist to the game, and it’s described as “unfun for all the family”. They’ve since launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring it to market, smashing its £15,000 target.
“Halves was one of Dean’s big ideas,” Carter told NME. “We were sat next to each other on a flight out to a tour, and said, ‘You play games, I’ve had an idea, just let me explain’. He explained the premise of it, he problem-solved any obstacles that might come up, and the game was done by the end of the flight. We made a prototype that day. We went to WH Smiths, bought a pack of cards and some stickers, played it, it worked and it was really fun.
“We’ve got through a few prototypes and then eventually found the energy to get it ready for Kickstarter. Now it’s here. The rest is history.”
Carter added: “My daughter is seven and she schools me on it and beats me all the time. After game one, you know how to play it. It’s just a party game – it’s simple, ruthless and fun. You never really know who’s winning until someone wins. I like that about it.”
Feeling like they’re now “in the gaming world in a big way”, Carter said that they had no intention of “slowing down” and were just looking for their next “big idea”.
Like the punk rock Dungeons & Dragons?
“You’re looking at it! Dean is the dragon, I’m the doom and gloom,” Carter replied. “I’m the dungeon master. I set the traps.”
Carter & Richardson will be hosting an in-store launch event for Halves on Wednesday July 20 from 6.45pm at Draughts in Arch on Leake Street in London.
Frank Carter will be performing at festivals throughout Europe this summer – including a stop at Reading & Leeds – before further tour dates in winter. Visit here for tickets and more information.
Check back here at NME for the latest news, interviews, photos and more from Mad Cool 2022.