You’re quite established now and your sound has been quite influential. What would you say is the next step for The Rapture?
Luke: Major pop stardom! I mean I spend lots of my time just reading music magazines, and most of the time, the artists in there are going, “Yeah, this next album is going to be crazy… we’re really into death metal and we’re really into ambient techno” – and they just put out the same fucking record as the rest of them. I guess it’s just hard to escape yourself. I mean I think that’s the biggest enemy of an artist – the fear that you’re doing something too radical. Because to any outsider, it just sounds like what you do.
What’s going on now that excites you musically?
Luke: I really like Justin Timberlake. I think ‘My Love’ is a really good single and so is ‘What Goes Around…’. I listen to a lot of southern hip-hop. I like singles genres. I’ve gotten really bored of indie rock and am really excited about southern hip-hop. But you’ve got to listen to them as singles genres and not an album genre. And it’s really regional in the U.S., which I think is really exciting. I mean, if you go to the south, the music they play on the radio is completely different from what they play on the West Coast or the East Coast. I find that interesting, as opposed to, you know, a blanket kind of pop music.
So does that mean Mr Collipark or someone like that is going to be producing your new album?
Luke: Well, I don’t know. I think probably if we had the right track. I mean there have been some horrible rock/hip hop crossovers. Like ‘Fallin’ from the ‘Judgment Night’ soundtrack is one of the most horrible records ever made. Remember that?
By Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul?
Luke: Yeah. I recently met Norman Blake, he is a hero of mine, and we got to play a show with them in Spain. They’re great guys and we were really psyched. Yeah, but anyway, that was still one of the worst records ever made. I mean tons of things like that still happen, and it’s shit, isn’t it?
You’re DJing tonight as well as playing a gig. When did you start DJing? Is it something you’ve been doing for a while?
Luke: I used to work at a bar that had a $10,000 sound system in a very small space, and I’d come in before work and I had six hours to just kinda fiddle around with it. For me, that was the first time. Also, getting to hear people DJ for eight hours a night every night, whether they’re bad or good. You suddenly have an opinion about DJs and dance music pretty fast. They’d bring Fat Boy Slim and Felix Da Housecat and they’d DJ at the club for 50 people, and that would be pretty exciting. I mean, they’re not my favorite DJs, but just seeing five DJs a night every night, you just start to form an opinion, you know. It stops sounding like just one beat all the time. Because that was the biggest thing for me when I first started listening to dance music. It just sounded like the same fucking beat over and over. It takes a long time to get past that, but once you do, there’s a whole world for you out there on the other side. But it takes a long time. I think that’s the biggest thing for most people.
Mattie: When I first moved to New York, I didn’t have any money and I was underage, so that bar was one of the few places I could go that would give me a drink and I’d be able to hang out. I think through that, you sort of get into the scene. And when we did our night at the bar that Luke worked at… you know, there always needs to be someone to DJ when the bar just opens and no one is there yet… and we got Tim Sweeney to play there from 8 to 10. He was underage too! He was a trip-hop DJ at that point. He was way better than any of us were. But that’s how we sort of knew him and how we all got pulled into DFA Records. He got an internship at DFA and got pulled into the big time.
It’s interesting to hear these stories, because between yourselves and DFA, it really opened up dance music to a lot of people who would only listen to rock music before. And now you’ve got new rave, that’s even more dance music coming out for a rock audience. What do you think about that kind of music, like Klaxons and those bands?
Luke: Well, Klaxons are a weird example, because they’re not really that dancey. I was reading this article about them when we were in Australia, about how we’d come out and people were really into us, and the only thing that we hadn’t covered yet was the next big step: the 1995 big rave sound. So they sort of covered a few of those sort of albums. But their album is more indie than anything else. I mean, there are “new rave acts” that are more dancey.
Any electronic DJs that you particularly respect or enjoy?
Mattie: That was one of the reasons why we started working with Ewan Pearson. The first time we met Ewan was in Ibiza, of all places, which is not really our culture, as far as dance music goes. Ewan was DJing at the same party that we were playing at. It was like an oasis of good music in the midst of horrible tech house. That’s how our relationship kinda started. He’s still one of my favorite DJs.
You’re playing in Singapore for the first time tonight – are you at all familiar with this part of the world?
Luke: I only know it from fish books. I used to be obsessed with aquariums as a kid, so I used to have all these books about aquariums and fish. My favorite fish is the Tiger Barb from Sumatra, so it’s pretty close.
We haven’t picked up the fish influence in the music yet though.
Luke: Oh just listen, you will.
Last question. So what do you have lined up in the next few months?
Luke: We’re going on tour with Daft Punk, so we’re pretty excited about that. I’m looking forward to see if they’re really robots. I really hope they are, like, cyborgs.
Parts of this interview previously appeared in the Singapore edition of Seventeen.