John Blek & The Rats have returned with their second album, ‘Borders’. An album that has been eagerly awaited for some time, with what has been described as a more fuller sounding long player.
“Reaction so far is positive’ says John, “really good I would say”. Following the critical success of their first album ‘Leave Your Love at the Door’, the alt-folk group were keen to shake off any notions too, rushing through it to the point were they “created something more cohesive and sonically too”.
Recorded track by track, with drums and bass at same time as “live wasn’t working, due to the guitar tone”, they decamped to the studio situated 10km from Cork in-between tour dates. Enlisting the services of producer/ engineer Christian Best of Monique Studios, where they wrote and recorded tracks last winter.
Having recently signed a deal for the album to be released and distributed on Tonetoaster Records throughout Germany, Belgium , Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland in the past week, things are looking up for the new record.
Having recently supported Anderson in Dublin, the story of how it happened is a good auld fashioned one of musician meets musician, “I met Paul (Anderson) at a gig in Levis bar in Ballydehob, we knew each other through some contacts like Pete Murphy and Jenny. We struck a chord and I was asked to support him at the Unitarian.”
‘It was part of the Secret Songs showcase they had in the bar, which had singer-songwriters by themselves and then 3 piece groups also. It was good but I didn’t know what to expect (at the time)”.
Looking ahead, A show at The Workman’s Club on 5 November will see the band taking to the stage as a full line-up, “Love playing Workman’s, going to give it the ‘Borders’ treatment. Then gear up for Germany after, which we’re excited for”.
As John then explains, there were plans to tour Germany and France once before. But an ill-fated accident involving their bass player meant the tour bus had to turn around and head for home before a show was even played in France.
As for their Irish shows, a stop at Workman’s in Dublin, Port Lodge in Cork, Kasbah Social in Limerick, and a show at De Barra’s in Clonakility will also see a good night to cap off John’s birthday. If you don’t happen to make one of those shows, then their last show of the year will be in Cobh on 12 December.
Speaking about touring preferences and preparations, he said that the band prefer shows that are spaced out rather than day after day. This allows them to pay more attention to a show.
For now though, the focus is firmly on the upcoming dates in Ireland and Europe. As the forecast for Borders will see them drop a vinyl version in January and some solo work in the months after, all before landing again as a band in Irish venues thereafter.
John Blek & The Rats‘ new album “Borders” is out now on We Are Rats Recordings (WARR) in Ireland .