The Rapture are back.
After their meteoric rise in 2003 on the strength of hit single "House of Jealous Lovers," the band spent a few years out of the public eye. Behind the scenes, they were recording their follow-up, Pieces of the People We Love, with help from Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley fame) and production duo Paul Epworth and Ewan Pearson. Fresh off a successful European tour, the Rapture are about to embark on a string of gigs in the US. Street talked Philly and the new album with drummer Vito Roccoforte as he wandered his Brooklyn neighborhood.
Street: You're coming here next week and playing with Hot Chip?
VR: Yeah that's going to be a great show, man. That's going to be awesome. It's going to be an awesome lineup.
Street: Have you played with them before?
VR: We played a TV show with them, but never a real show. It's funny, we talked to Dave P [of Making Time] cause he organized the last show we did down there. Basically, we wanted to play and he's like, "I've got Hot Chip and Justice playing there that night." We're touring with the Presets. So now it's all of them together. It's pretty awesome.
Street: I've heard it's more like a dance party than a concert.
VR: Yeah it really is. Again, that kind of lineup is something you find more in Europe - for some show or festival. I'm really excited about it. A lot of people from New York are coming down for that show.
Street: What was the response like in Europe to the new material?
VP: It was really good. It was the best time we've ever had there. I think it was good for us because a lot of people had started discovering "House of Jealous Lovers" and Echoes. There are a lot of younger kids at our shows now.
[Fans] have a different attitude. They expect to dance and have a party. Whereas before the shows would be good, but people would be checking it out not quite sure what it was all about.
Street: Did you feel like with Echoes you guys got too big too fast?
VR: I think we got a lot of hype. You know what I mean? It's one of those things you can't really control. It's kind of nasty because we were a band for years and nobody would ever write about us or check us out. So we'd take having a little too much hype over no hype any day of the week. It was what it was. Now though, it's [at] more of a reasonable level. So it does feel like there are people checking it out [for the first time] but also a lot of people who've checked us out because of the hype before and liked it. Now they're fans. They're coming to the shows again a second time around. They know what to expect and come to have a good time.
Street: Do you think they're paying more attention to the music this time, rather than what they hear about you?
VR: I think that's true. For a while they'd check us out because of what they heard. That's what I noticed here. Especially here [since] we hadn't toured in three years.
Street: A lot of people criticized Echoes because it was a bit all over the place. [Pieces] seems a bit more cohesive. Was that intentional?
VR: I think we made a conscious effort. I really like Echoes, though. It wasn't the most cohesive thing, but part of that is that we only had 12 songs to pick from. So it's kind of like, whatever we have.we had to use.
Also, we were just known for "House of Jealous Lovers" then. So for us, on Echoes, we wanted to stretch out and try a lot of different things. It kind of surprised people that it wasn't 10 versions of "House of Jealous Lovers." But then again, some people really do like that about Echoes.
For this album, we wanted to make sure we had a lot of songs. So we had like 30 songs finished before we weven recorded. We wanted to make it a bit more cohesive. There were some songs I really liked, but they didn't make the album because they didn't fit together as well as other songs.
Street: I read an interview with [bassist] Mattie [Safer]where he described the new album as "the sound of one band as a maraca." Good description?
VR: [Laughs] Who said that, Mattie? Yeah I like that, I'll go with that.
Street: Do you have a favorite track?
VR: It always changes. I think right now playing-wise I'm into "The Sound." That's always been fun live. I really like how "Calling Me" turned out. That song is definitely not going to get as much notice as the other songs on the album. But for me, I just really like the feel of that song.
Street: What's going to be next single?
VR: It's going to be "Whoo! Alright Yeah. Uh Huh." It definitely is in England; in the US we're not sure yet. We just shot the video. It turned out really great. We're really happy with it.
Street: What's the idea?
VR: It's basically the same guy who did our roller derby video [first single, "Get Myself Into It"], Ben Dickinson. We had some money and we had a budget [this time around]. We always are like, "Why don't we spend some of the money on a party."
Basically, it's like a day in the life of the Rapture, just driving around Brooklyn. First we're practicing, then we go to a rooftop and have a party. A full barbeque, DJing, an inflatable pool.
Street: Have you ever had a feud with another band?
VR: [Laughs] Not really, no. I think Mattie talked a bunch of shit about Bloc Party once. It wasn't really a feud.
Street: That guy's pretty buff.
VR: They're pretty tough. They'd probably have kicked the crap out of Mattie. He's not that big a guy. Would've served him right, man.
Street: What's the biggest misconception about the band?
VR: A big misconception for Echoes and stuff is that we're really cool, a big hipster-elitist kind of band. When I read reviews about us, [they] always have "Brooklyn Hipster" in it. We're really just the opposite. We really aren't any of those things.. Part of what I like about this album is that I think it represents us a little better.
Street: The sound of the new album seems more loose, maybe less serious.
VR: Yeah. It's more relaxed. We were just able to take more chances. We always really love pop music - like hip-hop and R&B. This time around we weren't really afraid to incorporate some of that in a non-ironic way. Really go for it. That's something we've always tried to do. We weren't really trying to be a rock band with a little bit of dance music. We were trying to make house music the best we could with our instruments. With this album, it's kind of a progression towards that.
The Rapture will be appearing on Friday with Hot Chip at Pure Nightclub (1221 St. James Street) at 7:30 p.m.