SAU Buzz

Ratboys Release New Music

by Crystal Miller
Posted on Sep 07, 2017

The music scene in the Quad Cities is growing and appreciation for local and travelling artists is showcased throughout the community. Up and coming artists made their way to the QC many times this summer. One of those bands is Ratboys, and they made their way to St. Ambrose from Chicago for an exclusive interview.

The band Ratboys recently released their second full length album “GN” (Goodnight) on June 30. On July 1, they left for their album release tour. First stop: Davenport, Iowa.

Ratboys played at a newly established venue in downtown Davenport: The Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Racoon Motel, located on the corner of 3rd St. and Pershing Ave.

This wasn’t Ratboy’s first time playing in the QC. They played at Rozz Tox in Rock Island a few months prior to this show. On this tour, the band mostly stuck to songs from “GN,” featuring singles “Elvis Is In The Freezer” and “Control.”

The band has been making music together for 7 years, starting with Julia and her friend Dave Sagan. They began their journey with a late night student radio show at the University of Notre Dame. Then, they decided to start playing music together.

Ratboy’s sound can be described as indie-rock or post-country because they feature a folky sound in their music.

“In years past we’ve been booked on grimy punk shows or noise shows, because that’s what kind of music they thought we played,” Julia Steiner, front-woman said, “I guess the name doesn’t really fit the music.”

The band got their name from Julia’s high school nickname, ratboy.

“We used to just be ratboy without the S, but then we had to add the S because of a rapper named Rat Boy,” Julia said.

The release of “GN” received more attention and anticipation than Ratboy’s first full length album “AOID” from 2015. “GN” has been more publicized, whereas “AOID” was dropped without any notice. Steiner said nobody really know who they were back then.

“‘GN’ seems to make a lot of people happy,” Steiner said, “And I’m really happy with the way it turned out.”

The process of creating “GN” was a big step for the band. Sagan said they are more used to their instruments and style of music than they were with their last album.

“We’re pretty settled into being a full electric band,” said Sagan. “Going into this record we demoed all the songs before hand, then we just started to rehearse and really took our time with that, rather than trying to scrape together stuff in the studio like with AOID. GN just felt more concise and intentional.”

The first single dropped from “GN” is called “Elvis is in the Freezer.” Steiner tells a bizarre, but beautiful and emotion filled story through this song.

“I wrote this song in either 2012 or 2013,” Steiner said, “The title of the song is about my cat Elvis, who we had to put down. He was only like 6. I was away at college and it was November, around Thanksgiving, when he died. We couldn’t bury him right away. So I guess the thing to do in Kentucky is to just put him in the freezer until the time was right to bury him. I remember coming home from college and my mom saying ‘don’t go in the basement freezer, Elvis is in the freezer.’”

A dead cat wasn’t the only thing on Steiner’s mind when she wrote this song. Her friendship with Sagan was “in a phase of strangeness” as she put it. She said she was dealing with the loss of her pet, but also dealing with distance and strain in her relationship with her best friend.

Ratboy’s unique music can be heard on Spotify or Bandcamp.