Plus One: You’ve been tagged with the ‘punk’ label almost immediately. Is that something you’re comfortable with?
DAN: Yeah definitely. I don’t think we’d go as far as to say we’re punks – I don’t think there really are punks anymore. Johnny Rotten wasn’t a punk, he was a scenester, the same way that all of us are. But we are a punk band.
CRAIG: The music’s definitely nihilistic enough to warrant that title. But in this day and age, I think people have moved away from the old associations of punk. As far as the music’s concerned, it’s all about that heavy, raw stuff.
Do you aim to be controversial with the lyrics then, being a punk band?
DAN: No, not particularly. You need to express your anger but it’s more about saying something you actually think rather than trying to be controversial. I suppose some of my lyrics are a bit controversial (the lyrics of Rat Trap attack Mod icons Paul Weller and Pete Townshend) but it’s not even against Mods, it’s about specific people. All my lyrics are about people, certain people I don’t like. It’s also that a lot of my friends feel the same way but no one says anything and that I don’t like. I’m quite happy to be the one who has to say it.
SAMIR: I think it’s more about the nature of fuckin’ scenes, y’know what I mean?
CRAIG: But there’s also a bit of humour there, it’s a bit tongue in cheek.
So how did Flats come about? Had you all known each other a long time?
DAN: These two ran a club night together and they used to book me to DJ. They went to the pub which I pretty much lived at for about two years. At the time I was girlfriend-less and living on my own so I’d just spend all day in the pub!
SAMIR: There’s a lot of people we all know through music and from around London but most of them don’t intrigue us. You meet people who you just can’t be bothered to talk to. So it was quite exciting to meet people who were in to similar things and actually had something to say.
CRAIG: Especially in the area where we live, it’s quite vacuous and it’s quite hard to meet people who haven’t been to private school
DAN: - and aren’t wearing fuckin’ orange skinny jeans!
You’ve obviously got quite a raw, direct sound. Is writing songs as simple a process as it sounds? Is it just a case of plugging in and thrashing something out?
DAN: Yeah, we’ll all sit at home with an instrument and we might come up with an idea. But most of the time we’ll just all go to the practice room and just bang something out.
CRAIG: We go in with a rough blueprint of what not to do rather than what to do, so we’re all pretty much on the same page with where we’re going.
Your live shows seem pretty intense. Do you think there’s a lack of that intensity and aggression in live music at the moment?
DAN: There’s very few bands who you go to see and you’re actually scared to watch. That’s what I want. I don’t know if we’re yet to pull it off but I definitely want to be terrified. We want it to evoke some kind of reaction in audiences. We’ve had a couple of incidents - once someone threw a can at me on stage and I kicked off a bit, before I realised it was my best friend!
SAMIR: We record the same way that we play live so when you see us live it’s exactly the same as what you get on the record.
DAN: I’ve been told I look like I really don’t want to be there when I’m on stage but I actually really love it. There’s so many bands who just come on and stand there and try and look scary. Fuck that, you might as well throw yourself around, it’s more entertaining.
You were on the NME Emerge Tour with Chapel Club and The Joy Formidable. Did you learn much from that tour?
SAMIR: Yeah, you’d be surprised to hear that we all got in to Chapel Club and they’re also amazing guys who really helped us a lot.
CRAIG: It certainly wasn’t our crowd but it was nice just to get out and play.
DAN: The other band on the tour was Wilder. They belong ... in a piss bucket. They’re fuckin’ atrocious!
SAMIR: This is a band who claimed they’d invented a new genre ... called ‘Wilder’. We watched this video of them slagging everyone off so we put the sign from their dressing room door on the door of the toilet. They fuckin’ deserved it.
CRAIG: It’s like what we were talking about before, just slagging other bands off just for a soundbite.
DAN: Although I did just do that!
Where do you want to be by the end of the year?
CRAIG: Our record’s coming out in October so by then we’ll be able to gauge whether this whole year’s been worthwhile and whether the band has the ability to go the distance.
DAN: I definitely want to make sure it carries on progressing. The minute it becomes stagnant or that we start trying to fill a void of what people think we’re supposed to be doing, that’s when I want to quit. If people are expecting us to be a punk band, we’ll make a fuckin’ indie album. Anything that’s not what people are expecting of us.
Interview by Jack Dixon