Paddy and the Rats started way back in 2008, but they kept on paving a way over the sea with their music. This path lead to Napalm Records and some point. Now the band hits the shores once again, this time with their sixth album ‘From Wasteland To Wonderland, time to have a chat with these Hungarian outlaws. We stumbled upon Joey in the harbor and got him to talk.
Congratulations with your new album, how has it been received so far?
“The official release date was April 29, so we don’t have too much reaction. We have already released two official videos (After The Rain and Everybody Get Up). After The Rain was a tribute to Bernie, our accordion player who passed away under tragic circumstances, and I think all of our fans handled it with grace. After this very sad period in the band’s history we needed some joy, so Everybody Get Up came out with a video that is absolutely not characteristic of the band. It is a heavy hiphop song, we went back to our childhood when we listened to those bands, such as Beastie Boys or Run DMC. Some of our hard core fans were not very happy with it, but it seems that the majority understands that it is nothing more than a funny song and video. “
What made you guys decide to form a band long ago?
“We all had different bands for a long time before we formed Paddy & The Rats, we were friends and were touring together. In 2007-2008 we felt we needed something new and we discovered Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphies and we really liked this genre, so we decided to start to play something similar. And it was a success.”
How were the early years, was it difficult to establish yourselves in the music scene?
“Since it was completely new in Hungary, and there were only just a few similar bands even in Europe, it was quite a fast way to achieve success. We started in pubs in 2008 but within just 2-3 years we managed to play at big clubs and festivals.”
By the way, how is the scene in Hungary?
“There are some Irish punk bands in Hungary but they mostly play in smaller clubs and pubs. I think we are the only Hungarian band that can play in front of thousands of people in the country in this genre. And we also must realise that pop and electronic music are still the mainstream, so our possibilities are are limited. I think we are very lucky that we could reach this success here.”
For the readers who didn’t dig in your history. Can you explain the name Paddy and the Rats once again?
“When we formed the band we picked up around 50 different names, but it sounded the best. We thought that rats are punks among animals, so it was a fit.”
Paddy and the Rats blends Irish Pub music, Celtic features, rock, but Pirate music as well. Does did come naturally in the songwriting or are you on an ‘active search’ for these things?
“Of course we were listening to bands, from which we could take inspiration at the beginning, but later on we just wanted to write good songs, so we did not really care about the limits or the frames of the genre. That’s why we are not that typical Irish pub band, like most of the others (with respect), but I think this is the reason for our success, too. I’m hoping that we sound a little bit unique.”
How did the coorporation with Napalm Records come around?
“Our German music promoter who’s been organising gigs for us at German speaking areas had a good connection with Napalm Records, so she helped us to start a partnership.”
*How do you feel Napalm is a benefit for the band?
O”n the one hand, they are a professional, internationally well-known label company, so it is obviously an improvement for a Hungarian band to work with them. On the other hand, they have a much wider base and access to public and rock music fans than we could have reached without them. Still, they let us work quite freely as artists, which is a very good feeling. Also, before the Napalm Record agreement, we payed all of our costs from our own budget, and now their financial support counts a lot, of course.”
From Wasteland to Wonderland
Are there major things changed on ‘From Wasteland To Wonderland’?
“This is our most mature album, so far. We’ve gained a lots of new experience, like our children’s birth, this whole corona virus issue or the loss of our beloved ones. So, we had so much things to write songs about. Also, we had a very long break in playing live shows that gave us time to improve technically, too. We achieved a heavier, richer sound, as well.”
Is there a special meaning behind the album-title?
“We are hoping that everyone can sense the positive outcome. We are singing about a lot of heavy issues that are linked to human beings and their souls, but we want to express that there’s a place or mental state where we can reach a relief and we can live happily, despite the many problems of the world.”
Hit the Road again
Can we see Paddy and the Rats on tour soon?
“Yes! It was a very long period – due to this COVID-19 situation – when we had very limited options at playing live, but it seems this year gives us more possibilities. We’ll be playing at some summer festivals and bigger venues where we can present our new album. We are thankful that we can play for instance in Germany again, after 3 years. Then we’ll have an autumn-winter club tour, hopefully in more countries.”
Is there anything else you like to say to our readers?
“I know this 3 years of corona virus, the war in Ukraine, the inflation, etc. makes everybody scared or pessimistic maybe. But I’m sure there are ways to reach our own Wonderland. Just focus on the positive things in your life, do what you really want to do, travel where you want to, love people who love you, find the profession that fits you – and you’ll be happy. We all are capable of it.”