Currently Unsigned: Ratking

Our quest to bring you top class independent acts takes us to Perth...

Perth surf/punk outfit Ratking have been busy of late, just recently releasing a new single/video in the shape of Girt, a track from their debut album Commonwealth; So obviously we couldn't have picked a better time for a chat with 'King guitarist AJ to find out a bit more about the band, right?

Right. So hello, AJ - who else is in the band with you? "We have Josh on vox, Nathan on guitar, Dalon on bass and Iain on drums".

And how long have you been together? "In a roundabout way, a long time. Years. In terms of being Ratking with the genre we play now, one year".

And how many releases has the band put out in that time? "We have two! Our EP entitled Wastelander and our album, Commonwealth".

Not a bad output for just a year's work! You're an independent act in the truest sense of the word - As the nature of the music industry changes, how important do you think record companies are in 2014? "I think they are not needed until a certain point in your bands career, where then they are essential. Long after that, I’d say they’re not needed once more. By this I mean, in the early stages of your bands career a record label is not essential. At this stage you’re more looking to gather a crowd in your own local scene. I believe as time progresses, your band starts requiring a record label to basically get you sorted on a larger scale, nationally and internationally. After that, given the size and popularity of your band you can probably do something like Radiohead did and release their album minus the record label. Obviously this requires you to be as big as Radiohead".

Haha yes it does. Although more and more act seem to be giving their music away for free a la Thom Yorke and co. these days. But if a label is only partly necessary, what about the other cogs of the machine - Managers, Merch companies, PR people, distros, et cetera - are they going the way of the Buffalo now? "I think their part is still valid. Unfortunately, most musicians are not 100% on top of all the stuff that may come once a band starts playing larger shows/festivals. There’s a tonne of paperwork, emailing and points of contact which can quickly go askew without a professional at the helm".

This is true. Nobody wants to be stuck on a rudderless ship. Or any ship really unless it's one of those 'metal boat' type things. But I digress. What have you found to be the most effective way of getting the band's name out to a wider audience? "Social media. By far. Getting your music to anyone with access to the internet is a huge deal. Yes, the market is absolutely flooded, but that’s why you’ve got to make a product that stands out".

Yes, there's a lot of background noise isn't there? Still I guess the bands making the good stuff will always be able to get heard in this environment if the product is strong enough. What about the least effective promo you've tried? "Posters. We live in a digital disposable age and attempting to not embrace it will just put you back further. Posters definitely play a part but by this day and age but it’s getting old. I think every poster should have one of those square barcodes you can scan on your phone that will bring up the event/website/facebook. Mix the old with the new".

You could be on to something there! Now, we've already touched a bit on this, but in terms of the band, If you don’t have a manager, how many hours a week do you spend on non-playing activities as a band?  "We don’t have a manager and it’s about an hour a day on busy weeks and a half hour every couple of days in the slow weeks. It’s a lot of work".

Gotta keep that helm manned! Where can people learn more about you? "Our Facebook - and our band camp -".

And finally - have you a last word for our readers? "We’re the hardcore band with the surf twist. We’re political, fed up, angry and our songs reflect that".

Don't believe the man? Have a listen and decide for yourself: