“It’s the most personal record I’ve ever made…” - Frank Carter opens up about making Modern Ruin
After he announced that his post-Gallows assault at the big time Pure Love had come to an end, there were a lot of predictions that we wouldn’t hear anything else from Frank Carter, but he proved them all wrong.
First, we got the raw rage of his debut album Blossom, but he’s now back with a very different second record Modern Ruin, which is a thicker and more powerful record, more in the vein of Queens Of The Stone Age than Black Flag.
We sat down with Carter to talk about making the new record and why he’ll be DIY until the day he dies...
Your new album hits shelves today, has it been a long progress to get here?
“We made our first album Blossom in February of 2015 and it was released in August of that year and we started writing Modern Ruin a month later. It’s been done for a long time, we’ve had it finished for a year, we’ve just been trying to find the right time to release it.”
How did making Modern Ruin compare to making Blossom?
“It was different in every single way you can imagine. Even though we were recording in the same room with the same producer, we had a lot more experience this time. Blossom was a much more spontaneous and instant record, we wanted Modern Ruin to challenge us, so we gave it the time it deserved, a lot more songs got scrapped this time, we took more care.”
You’ve changed a couple of band members between records, was that just a natural process of people moving on to different things?
“It was and it wasn’t. Tom (Mitchener), the producer, who played bass on the album, told us after we finished that he didn’t want to tour and wanted to focus on his production, which we all understood, so Thomas Barclay is with us now, he used to be our guitar tech so he knows us well.
You’ve got a new drummer too…
“For drums, I wanted something more in the spirit of John Bonham. Memby Jago, who was our drummer, is an incredible punk drummer, but I wanted something sharper and with more groove. So we got Gareth Grover, I’ve known him for a long time and we’ve wanted to do something together for years, so it’s been great to finally do that.”
But the songwriting is still you and Dean Richardson, so that’s the same…
“It is and that will never change. When you find a good thing you stick with it.”
It’s quite a different sounding record, it’s certainly more produced and more polished, was that what you set out to do?
“It was. We wanted to make something that challenged us and with the same tools as Blossom, but that was different from anything we’d done before. People have asked us what inspired this change in direction, but it doesn’t really feel like that, we wrote this so soon after Blossom that it was always where the songs were going to go. We’re a rock band, we love punk and hardcore, but we want to be a rock band.”
How does this album compare lyrically to Blossom?
“It’s the most personal record I’ve ever made, I really thought I’d ticked that box with Blossom, but Modern Ruin is way beyond that and it had to be this way. I wanted to write a record about human relationships, I’ve always wanted to do that, but I’ve never had the inspiration, but the past year has been fairly brutal for me and my wife and I had a lot to work with."
"I didn’t want to do that in a linear sense, I wanted to do it all, the relationships we have with ourselves, our families and with strangers, the people we see on TV and in the street. Blossom is a cathartic outpouring of grief, that was an album about loss, Modern Ruin is a much more hopeful record and a much more positive record.”
Where did the album title come from?
“It dates back to our first gig. The first gig we did was in this tattoo shop called Sang Bleu and at the time it was having an exhibition called Modern Ruin and we all loved the name, it was always called that after that.”
How is your 2017 looking? Are you pretty booked up already?
“It starts in a couple of weeks and it’s solid after that. We’re about to head off to Europe with Biffy Clyro and then we’re back to the UK for a headline tour, we’re moving very quickly, we’ve managed a build up a great fanbase and we can’t wait to see everyone.”
You’re self-releasing again on your own International Death Cult imprint, is being on your own label working well for you?
“100% and it will forever. I will always try to keep full control. I’ve been in situations where I haven’t had it and how tough that can be for an artist, it’s too much to swallow so much of the time, you have to rely on people getting it right for you and nobody cares about your art as much as you do. You have to graft. I’m very happy with what we’ve got now and how involved we are.”
Do you think you’ll ever look to sign other bands? Or is your focus just on your own music at the moment?
“For now it’s just us. There are lots of amazing bands out there and if the opportunity came up I would definitely look at it. I know the music industry, I know the pitfalls and I feel like I’ve got plenty to give, but right now my focus is just on The Rattlesnakes.”