Rat Poison Interview

One of the best perks of running Getting It Out is getting random e-mail from bands and musicians. Recently, Paul Glover of South Carolina's Rat Poison hit my inbox and I was stoked with what I found on their most recent EP Hypnotized In The 90's. Rather than sleuth around the internet to find information about the band, I just asked Paul. The following is our conversation. When you're done reading this, be sure to check out Rat Poison. Actually, turn them on now while you read this interview.

----For more on Rat Poison check out their artist page here.


Paul Glover
Interviewed by Dan Craley
  • Rat Poison is a relatively new band, but it seems you guys have been around hardcore for awhile. Where are you guys from exactly and when and why did you start the band?

     

    We're out of South Carolina. Three of us have been around for a bit, longtime friends playing in bands and touring. We've lived and breathed hardcore for 20+ years and now we're in our 30s experiencing the cold, harsh reality that is adult life. One day we got bored because there was a lack of hard, punishing riffs in our lives. So, we started jamming and demoing some tunes to fill the void. We called it - RAT POISON. We may be considered "old" dudes in hardcore terms, but that's why we went and got a couple younger guys on bass and drums to help our overall sex appeal.

  • Honestly, I can't think of many hardcore bands from South Carolina. Why is that? Is there a thriving scene?

    I'll say this, being a hardcore band from South Carolina is tough. You have to work much harder to get attention. And that's not to sound like a woe-is-us type of thing, that's just what it is. You've basically got to find a weird hype wave to ride at the right time/right place OR tour your ass off. But, Rat Poison isn't really in a position currently to go on the road several months out of the year and I doubt we'll ever get aboard the hype train. But hey it's a nice thought.

    As for the SC scene in general, it's kind of gone up and down over the past 20 years. There's always bands, just maybe not so much on a national exposure level. It's definitely had its moments. When we were much younger, it was pretty much Stretch Arm Strong as the backbone of the whole thing. There were a few other SC hardcore bands here and there, but shows were real mixed with metalcore, pop punk etc. At a certain point we began booking hardcore shows and doing bands, and it kind of reinvigorated a whole new thing for a while. I haven't booked a show in years, but there's still some dudes out there holding it down.

    I think in general hc is at a creative crossroads right now, so we're probably on the verge of some cool shit. Of course, now we have the virus thing that's put everything on pause so that doesn't help bands or shows. I felt positive about the SC scene on its way up after a few recent shows, but we'll see where it all lands when the dust settles on Armageddon here.

  • I've listened to your new EP quite a bit lately and I'm having a hard time putting my finger on who Rat Poison reminds me of. I'd say that's a good thing. Who are the major influences you all have been inspired by?

    I think, like any band, we all bring a little something to the table influence wise. The basic idea has always been centered around a riff. From there we make sure it lands somewhere in the realm of a NYHC/crossover thrash/super heavy power slop type sound. We don't have any specific bands we're modeling the sound after. We don't really vibe with a ton of newer hardcore, and most of us these days just listen to podcasts and the same music we've listened to for years. That jaded asshole mentality helps to keep out some of the outside influences, I think.

  • Why do you feel like you don't vibe with newer hardcore? Is it a sound or something less obvious?

    Honestly, it's probably the fact that most of us are just "older" jaded hc dudes. There's some bands out there that we like, or that we like certain aspects of. But, as a whole I think the newer bands are just offering something, whether it be sound-wise or message-wise, that hits different with the younger hc kids of today. And that's cool, because that's when it really matters. I'm not here to say that the late 90s or early 00s were the end all be all. The same could be said by a hc kid growing up in the late 80s or early 90s about that time frame. In the end even the most boring hardcore band is still a hardcore band so we'll always have some sort of connection there even if we shit on it sometimes.

  • Is there a less obvious musical influence that listeners might now catch?

    If you listen real hard at night, they say you can still hear the sounds of some Megadeth riff we unintentionally ripped off. But seriously, a little of that - and maybe a touch of Alice In Chains. You'll find the most little special nuggets in the lyrics, though. Movie references, quotes, news headlines and stories all spun into a weird psychotic web of homeless person style ramblings by our singer Anthony. It means something to him, I guess. And that's why we love him.

     

  • The lyrics are one of my favorite things about Rat Poison. They're unique enough to be interesting without being the corny abstract poetic shit. Do you all contribute or does Anthony handle them all?

    Anthony handles the lyrical load. Every now and then we'll have a line, a quote or an inside joke that's been circulated through our friend group of weirdos, and those can make their way into a song. Then Ant will twist em all up until we don't have a fuckin clue what he's talking about half the time. Then, if you ask him you can get even more confused. You really have to know him to fully "get it" on his terms. But, again they mean something to him so that's all that matters. Anyone reading them can decipher their meaning however they please. However, I don't recommend modeling your life after Anthony or any of us. That'd be a bad idea. Do the opposite of what we say.

  • Hypnotized In The 90's is a potent four song EP that has really caught my attention. Part of that is how you guys have chosen to promote it on social media including videos from your friends. Has this type of promotion been successful by any measure?

    We don't really know how to gauge "success" in hardcore in any form anymore. That word frightens and confuses us. But I'll tell ya this, it's damn hard to be a hardcore band from South Carolina and get noticed or "hyped". We just do whatever we think is cool/hard/funny at the time. We have one of the strangest group of friends out there, so it was only fitting to have them record their own promo videos for us. I'm not sure if anyone "got it" or not, and we don't really care anyway.

     

  • Hypnotized In The 90's is a potent four song EP that has really caught my attention. Part of that is how you guys have chosen to promote it on social media including videos from your friends. Has this type of promotion been successful by any measure?

    We don't really know how to gauge "success" in hardcore in any form anymore. That word frightens and confuses us. But I'll tell ya this, it's damn hard to be a hardcore band from South Carolina and get noticed or "hyped". We just do whatever we think is cool/hard/funny at the time. We have one of the strangest group of friends out there, so it was only fitting to have them record their own promo videos for us. I'm not sure if anyone "got it" or not, and we don't really care anyway.

  • Have you gotten a lot of feedback on Hypnotized In The 90's? Any negative stuff that surprised you or at least made you laugh?

    The most negative reaction we've heard is the shockingly silent lack of reaction! Seriously though, we haven't gotten much feedback on this one. Same old folks seem to be checking it out, which is why we're thankful for podcasts like yours getting the word out to some different listeners. We've done our best to "promote" it but that's how it goes, we're not a marketing company and we're all dumb. All of our friends and the usual suspects seem to be digging it, so that's good. Rat Poison doesn't really have any illusions at this point of becoming a THING or getting legions of listeners. If you like it, that's cool. If not, you're wrong cause it's pretty hard and badass.

Dan Craley
Gotten Out By
Dan Craley

Dan started Getting It Out back in 2018 as a stand alone podcast. He’s been writing for music websites for over a decade and finally decided to start his own. Now living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with his wife and kids, he briefly sang for Baltimore’s Pleasant Living.

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