Widnes four piece, The Racket have been very busy since they impressed us with their slot supporting Stillia last month in Liverpool. They are an edgy, raw, indie rock fusion, bursting to break out of their Northern industrial homeland. In the space of a matter of weeks they have announced a record deal with Klee Music and are due to launch their debut single, ‘Faded Days’ on 10 June. The cover of their vinyl release is best described as somewhat risqué or fun, depending on your opinion of lads’ bare bottoms lined up along a wall.
GIGsoup’s Jane Davies went along to find out more about these cheeky lads from the outer reaches of the Mersey.
Hello everyone, could you introduce yourselves please?
I’m Callum Codd – Lead Singer and guitarist
I’m Mike White, Rhythm guitar
I’m Colby, Bass player
I’m Dom Eaton, the drummer and I provide backing vocals.
Where did your name come from? Do you make one hell of a racket or are you running a protection racket up there in Widnes?
CC: Ha-ha the name came about because we had our first gig coming up and we genuinely didn’t have a name so we just around all our mates, it was that or The Frosty Jacks!
MW: We got our name from a friend suggesting the name and it sort of stuck with us, nothing else sounded right. We all met at various points of growing up, through school, playing football together and drinking/parties.
DE: The name The Racket just came from a friend of ours, a girl that we know, there’s no real story behind it, and it was just something that was suggested to us. It was probably suggested because we do make a lot of noise. Yeah I had thought of a protection racket and that link with crime, honestly I don’t mind either connotation.
How did you get together?
CC: We’re all from Widnes and at some point we’ve all played Footy together so we’ve known each other through that.
MW: We all met at various points of growing up, through school, playing football together and drinking/parties. Some of us are students some of us are sensible.
DE: I’ve known Mike (rhythm guitarist) since primary school, we both went the same primary and secondary schools. It was through playing five-a-side football that both me and Mike met Callum, this was years back though. 2 years back I was in a pub in Widnes with a couple of my mates when Callum decided to join us, and after few drinks suggested we should get together and jam maybe try and start something. After a couple of meet ups we decided we had something worth pursuing and that was when Mike asked if he could come down and play with us. We quickly got him in on guitar and then he brought Colby in on bass.
What’s Widnes famous for apart from rugby?
CC: It stinks, it’s got shit pubs that charge £4 a pint, other than that I think there’s still a Sayers knocking around somewhere you don’t see many of those these days so I guess that’s quite special.
MW: Widnes is famous for the Vikings, chemicals, Spike Island and The Racket.
C: What’s Widnes famous for? Well probably Spike Island where the Stone Roses played their iconic gig.
DE: Widnes is just your typical working class, industrial northern town. Its claim to fame is that Paul Simon supposedly wrote the Simon & Garfunkel hit ‘Homeward Bound’ on the platform of Widnes train station. There’s a plaque at the station commemorating it and I find it really funny and ironic every time I see it; a plaque dedicated to someone who desperately couldn’t wait to get out the place and so wrote a song about it. Sums Widnes up really.
How would you describe your sound?
CC: Loads of energy, youth and anger definitely comes out in our songs! We’re a 4 piece rock n roll band and there’s not been many of them round lately, we genuinely just try and do what everyone else isn’t.
MW: I would describe us energetic, powerful passionate rock and roll music.
C: You could say our music is a bit of a racket we like to get the crowd going but not to the point where it’s just noise no one wants that.
DE: Raw, exciting and energetic is what comes to mind when I think of the name The Racket and I think that sums us up. It’s simple and makes its impact straight away like The Who or The Clash or The Jam. It’s pure rock n roll. Raw passion and raw energy, full on, possibly with the spirit of punk. I wouldn’t necessarily call us a punk rock band but there is definitely a rebellious attitude there.
Who are your musical influences?
CC: Me personally, I love The Beatles and there’s definitely a sense of a pop song behind all our loud guitars! I also love Led Zeppelin and you can hear this in the guitars solos; it’s all about the blues!
MW: Our influences stretch from the Beatles to the mid 2000s and everything great in between.
C: The Arctic Monkeys and Oasis are my two big influences
DE: Personally my inspirations include John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, Reni from The Stone Roses, Keith Moon of The Who, Joe Strummer of The Clash. The Beatles are a big one; I love The Smiths, Oasis, The Jam, The Clash, Led Zeppelin, The Stone Roses, The Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers, The Libertines, and The Who etc.
Are you all students?
C: Callum and Dom are students. Me and Mike couldn’t be arsed going down that route.
DE: I’m sort of a student. I have completed 2 years of a music degree at the University of Salford but decided to take a year out, I just work part time at the minute.
What’s’ Faded Day’s about?
CC: It’s about Me vs The World and all the shit that gets thrown my way and I’m sure anyone who’s grown up with a similar working class lifestyle to me will sense something similar in their lives! The best line is ‘I’ve got a Job at Risk for a shit class A’ ha-ha people in Widnes love that line!
MW: Faded days is self explanatory, it’s a two fingers up to society’s idea that work is the be all and end all. It isn’t.
C: Our new single Faded Days is about living a life in a dead end job, letting life pass you buy an living for the weekend .With a title like Faded Days we wanted the cover to be something everyone could relate to while growing up, the things we would do on a daily basis which have faded away while getting older.
DE: Faded Days is all about the boredom and frustrations of being young, in a small town and working dead end jobs for the minimum possible wage. It’s a snarling two fingered salute to the establishment and the corporate machine, it’s a statement of intent and it’s our manifesto.
Your picture on the vinyl release is very cheeky (bare bottoms feature on it)
CC: It’s our first release so we wanted something to look back on in the future and say ‘that’s where we started, this is where we are now!’ and I’m sure that picture has that written all over it. We also done it in Widnes and played footy on it so it can remind us of how we all met playing 5-a-side. As for the Raw Arse, it’s just funny isn’t it? people are either gonna love it or hate it but we’re not bothered cause we love it!
MW: We didn’t wanna put our faces on the first record so we put our arses on it instead. Cheeky.
C: With a title like ‘Faded Days’ we wanted the cover to be something everyone could relate to while growing up, the things we would do on a daily basis which have faded away while getting older.
DE: I don’t know who initially came up with the raw arse idea, it definitely wasn’t me but as soon as it was knocked around I really liked the idea and I think the photo taken by John Johnson has turned out brilliantly. It’s quite humorous and witty and it stands out. It alludes to the title and harks back to more innocent days when we used to play footy as teenagers but it’s in complete contrast to what the songs actually about which I really like.
What’s planned for the months ahead?
CC: We’ve got our first big headline gig on the 10th of June and the response in ticket sales has been mad so we’re probably going to do another one close to home at some point in the next few months or so, maybe Manchester?
C: We wanna gig as much as possible and get our name out there, we wanna be heard an that’s the best way to do it. We’ve got a few gigs lined up but none to be announced just yet.
DE: Our next gig is the launch of the single Faded Days on Saturday 10th June at the Zanzibar in Liverpool, after that we’ll see what happens, we don’t have any solid plans with gigs as of yet but we’re looking at branching out and doing some dates away from Liverpool, Manchester and London and hopefully other cities and towns around the country.
Are you planning to watch any festivals this summer?
CC: We’re all off to Kendal as well in July to watch the ‘phonics and the coral.
MW: We’re all going Kendal to get plummeted all weekend.
C: Kendal is the festival we are all going which will be an eventful weekend
DE: We’re not booked to play festivals this summer but we are as band going to Kendal Calling which I’m really looking forward to. Personally I’m really looking forward to seeing Manic Street Preachers and Frank Turner among others.
‘Faded Days’ is out 10th June on the following link:
Details of the launch gig at Liverpool’s Zanzibar are available here: