The Rapture's Happy Days

The Rapture's Happy Days
The Rapture are experts at unknowingly founding musical trends. In 2002, the New Yorkers released "House of Jealous Lovers,” a twelve-inch on a label called DFA, which kick-started a media frenzy, and, much to their surprise, put them at the forefront of a post-punk revival. "When we made our record there was no post-punk revival,” admits singer/guitarist Luke Jenner, "and then after, it was something that was always talked about in the media.”

Now that post-punk (or dance punk or disco punk, whichever you please) is quietly fading out of the limelight, Jenner and his band-mates have already found themselves leading another new musical fad, once again concocted by the hype mongers at NME. "Now the NME is already talking about ‘new rave,’ telling us, ‘You guys are the godfathers of new rave,’” laughs Jenner. "I actually like the term new rave better than post-punk, mainly because I feel it’s closer to the music we’ve always been interested in. We were never really limited to just one type of music, and I got really sick of reading Gang of Four comparisons.”

Three years ago, comparisons set the wheels in motion for the band’s debut album to become the first major statement for the increasingly popular sub-genre. Unfortunately, despite universal acclaim and constant touring, Echoes rang out but no one bought it. "We were totally surprised when Echoes wasn’t huge. We thought we were making a pop record,” he admits.

Looking back on the album now, especially in lieu of their ass-shaking follow-up, Pieces of the People We Love, Echoes was a moody mix of atypical love songs, synthesised rave-ups and clamouring art rock spasms that wasn’t exactly screaming for mass consumption. "To be honest, when we made Echoes we thought we were making a party record. And now looking at it, especially in contrast with this record, it shows you the emotional state the band was in. I was a miserable bastard when we were making Echoes, but I didn’t think I was at the time,” Jenner says.

A better grasp on full-time life as a band helped members sort out their emotions, which led to writing Pieces of the People We Love. Needless to say, the mood swing is a remarkable shift, stripping away their artsy freak-outs and gloomy tones and replacing them with snaky bass lines, bouncing rhythms and never-ending enthusiasm. It’s a full-fledged party album emphasised by single of the year contender "Get Myself Into It.”

"My all-time favourite song is ‘Louie Louie’ by the Kingsmen and with this record I just wanted to get that kind of energy more or less,” says Jenner. "Our motivation hasn’t really changed, I just think our lives have become a lot happier. But I don’t think we set out to make a really happy party record, it just feels that way.

"When we made Echoes it took a long time and was painful; there was a lot of arguing within the band and with DFA. Plus I was really wasted most of the time and hung over a lot. When I listen to Echoes it sounds like what I feel like when I’m really hung over. There’s a real edge and that sense of self-doubt.”

Working with the taste-making DFA production team (Tim Goldsworthy and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy) came to a boil with Echoes, but it’s not the soap opera some think it is. "When we wanted to make our record we called James up and he said, ‘Well, I’m going to be on tour for the next six months,’ and that’s when we needed to make our record. They weren’t really an option. It wasn’t like, ‘Fuck you guys’ or anything like that,” confesses Jenner.

With the production seat empty, the band were left with the strenuous task of finding somebody to fill it. Much like their knack for starting sub-genres, and even working with DFA, they prematurely hired three of today’s highest in-demand names in the business: Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, the Futureheads), Ewan Pearson (the Chemical Brothers, Goldfrapp) and Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Danger Doom).

"We tried out both [teams], like a date before we got married, just to see if it would work,” he explains. "We recorded one song each with both Paul (who was our original sound guy) and Ewan (who remixed some stuff for us from the last record), and two with Danger Mouse, who we actually met at a Cartoon Network party. And that was before ‘Crazy.’

"To be honest, we talked to a lot of people and they were the only ones to say, ‘We’ll drop anything to work on this record.’ And that’s how I am with this band, I put my life on hold to do it, so personally I don’t want to work with anyone who doesn’t want to do the same thing.”