Some bands on the harder spectrum of music sacrifice animals, or break everything in sight, but these guys (metaphorically) stew up their own mascot and serve it to your earholes – and it’s delicious.
Baxter Shordon and Dartanyon Hutchison are the two-piece who whip up such stew – like ratatouille, but with extra Rat and the recommended use of a blender.
‘It’s like a weird mix between grunge, thrash, punk obviously’ and progressive, say the guys, which explains the stew-sound: ‘a combination of so much shit you can’t really put a name on it.’
And the Rat theme?
Baxter: ‘It’s almost like it’s a theme…?’
Dartanyon: ‘We’ve only got like six or seven rat-themed songs.’
We caught up with the guys to talk about their first album ‘Licking Brains and Taking Names’, recorded with Archive Audio and released in July under Scrapyard Music.
They’ve (almost) written their second album, likely to be called something else rat themed, for release in 2022. Among crafting their own album artwork, Citizen Rat design and lino print their own bleach-dyed rat shirts, as well as making shirts for their good friends Haters (@hatersloveyouxo).
The (postponed) album launch saw Citizen Rat shake the hall while the audience chewed out the flooring. An event by ScrapYard in Nambour, the guys played with locals Old Home, Haters, Foul Face (Brisbane), FatDog, Burkel and Big Fish.
Citizen Rat (formerly Scrappy Coco) is a decisive shift in sound and technique from the band’s previous projects. Their artistic process (surprise) is also somewhat rat themed; riskin’ it for the biscuit.
Baxter: ‘I love trying new things and getting creative. I just take so many risks and see what happens.’
Entering a more creative and lucrative space, Citizen Rat have been playing together since early 2020.
Dartanyon: ‘When we became a 2-piece our sound changed a lot. Baxter is mental on drums, so it was sort of a step-up – we could break through to a heavier kind of genre’.
So what influences their music?
Dartanyon: ‘My influences don’t match up to our music – at all. I listen to a lot of horror-punk, and folk-punk. I really like Korn.’
Baxter: ‘Well I do really love transformers – the Michael Bay series, it’s a big inspiration.’
Dartanyon: ‘I listen to classical like 80% of the time [and] I take inspiration from classical all the time. The song ‘Citizen Rat’ is a re-composition of something I heard on ABC Classical, and then we just made it our heaviest, thrashiest song’.
Talking to these guys is a conversation where somehow nonsense makes an uncanny amount of sense. We learnt that if they were to choose an animal mascot (that wasn’t a rat) they’d be ‘a jumping spider crossed with a termite’, or a ‘citizen wood-eating jumping spider’, said Baxter, the closest thing to rat that isn’t mouse.
Is there anything they’d like to say to their fans?
Baxter: ‘I’m not sure we have any fans. Fans, try not to listen to us if you can.’
Dartanyon: ‘Go check the album out I guess? But don’t listen to it, just look at the art or something.’
Baxter: ‘If you like music, maybe you should consider listening to [licking brains and taking names]. Also, watch Cars 2.’
Dartanyon: ‘And also, get rat-themed tattoos everyone.’
Citizen Rat will be gnawing on a stage near you, catch them headlining at Eleven Dive Bar on the 18th of December. For local punk-esque music events, run by Dartanyon and Nat, follow ScrapYard (@scrapyardmusic).
Spotify – Citizen Rat // Instagram - @citizenratmusic