Michigan grindcore trio Cloud Rat brings their intense brand of politically charged metallic punk to Florida for seven dates this month before embarking on an East Coast tour with American black metal legends Wolves in the Throne Room. The Florida leg of the tour begins in Jacksonville and stops by Orlando at Uncle Lou's on July 24. Orlando Weekly spoke with their guitarist, Rorik Brooks, to discuss the band's stance on politics, music and how they plan to deal with touring in the midsummer Florida heat.
Orlando Weekly: Your band represents several political movements, including veganism and feminism, but without ever feeling too preachy or forceful. How do you convey your beliefs to audiences who are unfamiliar with or resistant to these "alternative" ideologies?
Rorik Brooks: I personally don't like being preached at, patronized, [or] continually bashed over the head with someone's political opinion over and over, so we do our best not to be self-righteous schmucks and to be as humble and kind as possible, while still letting our stances be known and being open to dialogue. We want to be an example of folks trying to do what we think is right, without all of the contrived political hyperbole drowning out the music and the real message of peace, unity and commitment to the void.
The music of Cloud Rat is grounded in grindcore, but showcases elements from a variety of other music genres. Aside from the more apparent influence of classic grind, punk and metal, what other styles play a role in your writing?
We collectively love Deftones, Björk, Bonnie Tyler and Portishead. Madison (Marshall, vocals) and Brandon (Hill, drums) are both encyclopedias of musical knowledge, and are always turning me on to so much stuff. Madison is always bringing more new wave and punk sounds into the fold. Brandon is a total noise [fan], so yeah, lots of noisy filth happening lately, too. Lyrically, Madison tends to write about real personal experiences, told through an abstract, surrealist lens, while referencing social and political issues throughout. That's where the real anger and emotion is coming from, because most of the lyrics are about a specific lived experience or known person, rather than a hypothetical/theoretical/fictional piece.
What ties do you have to Florida, and how do you plan to beat the relentless heat during your weeklong tour of the Sunshine State this month?
Our ties to Florida run deep; almost every record we've ever released has been through or with help from IFB Records out of Fort Myers. Our first tour was down to Florida and back with Thou and False at 305 Fest 2013 in Miami. Working with Dead Tank, IFB and Absolute Contempt out of Miami, we've got strong Florida roots. [We're] really excited to finally be coming back after nearly three years. We'll see if we make it in the summer heat. Good thing we recharged the A/C in our van recently. Maybe we'll pull a hippie move and all be nude the whole time. Controversy ensues.