[INTERVIEW] Bec Callander of Rackett

Rackett have blown up in the last year, making unapologetically loud and experimental punk-pop. We caught up with Bec, the lead singer of the femme powerhouse, to talk touring, recording and their relationship with the stage.

So how did Rackett come about and why the name Rackett?
Well Rackett came about over a series of coincidences. With Ally, I saw her playing at a house party and yeah we kinda met through there and we were just on the scene together. Astrid kind of came as a package with Kat from an ex punk band and Kat was my guitarist for Bec and Ben. It was just like all of us on the scene and then at one point aligning. And the name Rackett.. that came about from an old friend of mine, I was racking my brain as to what to call the band and she suggested it. I looked up the meaning and it means to make a loud noise but it also means the motion of moving forward so yeah that’s kind of how it came about.

And do you think the name emulated everything that you wanted the band to be?
Yep, yep, yep, we wanted to make something bold and we wanted to make something that would be powerful and I think we’re on the way to doing that.

You’ve talked about the Spice Girls being a major influence before, what do you think you’ve taken from the 90s pop powerhouse?
I think it’s just the self-confidence that the girls from the Spice Girls have. That was the premise of, even though the music was okay in terms of you know the production and everything is amazing but they are not amazing songs to me but they are an integral part of my identity and they’re are very inspirational in promoting self confidence so yeah we take that attitude from the Spice Girls, employ that and then we take our musical reference from Black Sabbath so we like to say that those two bands have inspired us and influenced us the most.

And you’ve described your recent EP as a collection of early trash pop songs. Were you aiming for that sort of sound or did it develop as you recorded?
Well we were aiming for that, we were after something that crossed the boundaries between the commercial audiences and the kinda garage, indie audiences. So we really wanted like polished trash basically.

I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head there.
Aw thanks! Well that’s really the work of Dave Hammer, the producer, on that one.
Has it been difficult to bring the same energy of your live shows to recording?
It’s a different process… so yeah I mean it is actually kind of impossible to bring the same energy as you would to recording a live performance because in a live performance you’ve got adrenaline going and there’s the opportunity to make mistakes in the cover, you are bouncing off the energy from the crowd but in a studio environment it is very calculated and tactical and you can correct your mistakes as you go so it’s not as much of a risk. Having said that, the last recording we just released which is a live recording that we produced entirely on our own, there was a little bit of the same anxiety and adrenaline in that but once again, we are all playing alone in a room, we were not in front of people.

So you’ve just started your massive tour around Australia. Would you say there’s a difference between playing small pubs and larger, more established venues?
Well every gig is different so. I mean with small venues there is more ability for me to interact with the audience without metal barricades and security guards. For example we just played the Northern and there was about 300 people there. A great response but I was really disappointed in the security actually. They were very like ‘this is a non engagement situation.’ So like sometimes we will have people from the crowd come up on stage and participate, you know like you would if you were at a kid’s show, and I was very disappointed when they were very verbally abusive towards our audience when we encouraged them to come up on stage and participate. So when you have a smaller venue you find you don’t have those barricades and security creating more of a barrier between the bands and the audience.

How much thought goes into your live performance?
We put a lot of thought into our lives show. We practice everything… there is room for spontaneity but mostly it is very calculated. Yeah we strive to deliver an entertaining show that is musically articulate and visually engaging.

Can you tell me a bit about the dynamic between the band members?
We all have the same intention and we share very similar beliefs and views on the world but you know we have our quirks too. Kat and Astrid, they are a powerful production team so our drummer Astrid, for example, if we need some kind of sound or technical support, she is a sound engineer so you know when it comes to sound check and sound set up we go to her. When it comes to guitar, Kat is a guitar tech and works in a music store so she’ll guide us on what gear we should have and she’ll look at our amps and she’ll make sure they’re all atoned and make sure they working together. Ally is a little fashionista so she plays a big role in creating the aesthetics of the band and then me, I guess I kind of drive the band just to work as a team. I am pretty good at delegating things and managing projects so I guess as a team we cover a lot and we can do a lot in-house but we also all have individual personalities.

The aesthetics of the band, are they really important to you?
Yeah of course, as I said we strive to deliver a visually engaging show so we respect the stage, the stage is sacred to us and we don’t just walk out on there in just our casual clothes. It is something that we – it is a show and we respect that and honour that by, you know, dressing for the occasion really.

Any musical instrument that you wish you could play?
I wish I could play the keys a bit better. I wish I could shred guitar like Kat does. Yeah that’s kind of it really, I mean I wish I could play everything but I don’t really need everything, not right now.

So this tour will take you up to about April, what can we expect from the band for the rest of 2018?
We are releasing more music and playing some major festivals, some that are yet to be announced and we’re going to be releasing a new video clip that goes with ‘Alive’. Yeah, we’re just going to be writing more music and we’re going to try and produce a new show in April so fans are seeing something new, they’re not seeing the same show every time. We’re just to going to keep putting stuff out and keep putting on good shows.

Sounds pretty exciting! Final question, is there a new album or song that you have been loving recently?
I am really enjoying King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s new album ‘Gumboot Soup’. Yeah that’s cool.
Interview by Briana Kennedy