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Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes tell us about ‘rebirth’ on new album ‘Dark Rainbow’

As they gear up to release their latest album, Frank Carter and Dean Richardson tell us how rebirth, sobriety and identity inspired their fifth record.

By Nick Reilly

Frank Carter and Dean Richardson (Picture: Brian Rankin)

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes have opened up on how personal growth and a need to head in a new direction influenced their new album Dark Rainbow, which arrives at the end of the month.

The fifth album from the duo – Carter and guitarist Dean Richardson – arrives on January 26 and sees the pair reinventing the arena-primed alt rock for which they have become increasingly known.

Instead, tracks like ‘Man Of The Hour’ show the duo showing off in a more melodic and contemplative direction – alongside lyrics that question their own identity and place of belonging.

Speaking to Rolling Stone UK, the duo admitted that it was partly born out of a need to “take a little pause” after questioning if they would release another album after 2021’s Sticky.

“We would have had a good career even if we didn’t get to a fifth album. I think everyone would have said that was a good run,” explained Richardson.

But the stop-start momentum of releasing an album at the tail-end of a pandemic proved “difficult”, Richardson added.

“It was such a complicated time to be questioning what was going on, because the whole world didn’t know, no one had a fucking clue.”

Three years on, Dark Rainbow is one of their most accomplished records to date – in part due to the strong soul-searching that becomes a core facet of the album’s identity.

“Songs like ‘Man Of The Hour’ are reactionary to the times because everyone is questioning what a rock star is these days,” Carter explained.

“Everyone’s a rock star. Everyone’s an influencer and everyone’s got an OnlyFans. Anyone can be a celebrity and anyone can be a superstar. What does that mean? I don’t fucking know anymore, but I how I felt while I was in the thick of it and I wasn’t happy. It took me a long time to come to terms with what that meant for me and to just be comfortable in my own skin. It felt like I’d been painted with the same brush so many times that I actually lost a sense of who I am.”

Carter added that it was also born out of a reluctance of some fans to accept his change in musical direction, having started out as the frontman of hardcore punks Gallows.

“It’s something I’ve battled with for a long time. What does surprise me is a stranger’s reluctance to accept that. I can sit and tell them ‘This is what I like to do’ and they’ll tell me it’s shit, right to my fucking face. For a long time I just thought maybe I should be doing that. We’ve tried countless times , every eight months I’ll ring Dean and he will humour me. We could be a good hardcore punk band if we wanted to be, but we just don’t want to be. That’s not to discredit that world, there’s so many amazing musicians in that world. But in five years or even five months, who knows? That’s why I say to people.”

The duo also explained that the record is benefitted by their own personal development too. “For me, therapy has really worked,” Richardson explained.

“I’ve been in it for a few years and I’m a big fan of talking therapies, but I’m also aware of how privileged I am to get to do it because not everyone has access to it around the world. That’s what led to change to me. If you can have access to it, I’m a massive advocate for it.”

Carter, meanwhile, explained that maintaining sobriety for 15 months has changed his life.

“I’ve done therapy for many years and it became efficient when I got sober. I would consider my sobriety to be my biggest help. I was sober for 12 years in my life at one point, but then I wasn’t, I was very much not sober. I don’t want to go too deep into that, but it ended with an ultimatum of get better or die, probably. I’ve been sober for fifteen months and I’ve just been really dedicated to it. I prioritised the first ninety days over everything and since then I’ve just let life come gently back to me, but it’s still my number one priority. My life is so much better. I was really really lost.”

Now, they’re looking forward to taking a new look and new perspective Rattlesnakes out on the road.

“We’ve discovered this new version of ourselves and that means we have to incorporate that, otherwise it would be a betrayal of all the work we’ve just done. I don’t see it as a rebirth, but a massive celebration. I know this is gonna sound odd but it’s going to be like being at your own wake.

“It’s celebrating all the reasons for your life, rather than mourning it – which I’ve done enough of. Let’s caveat this, I’m lucky and I know we’re in a privileged position, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt so grateful to have the job that I have and I took it for granted in the past. Now I’m primed not to do that and what happens when you don’t take shit for granted? You enjoy every single second of it.”

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes’ Dark Rainbow is out on January 26.