INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN RATAJCZAK BY SAMMIE STAR
When it comes to renowned scene bands like Electric Callboy, a decade of experience comes with highs, lows, and a bit of somewhere in between. But through all those times, the party genre electric-core band has always remembered to have fun. For keyboardist and singer Kevin Ratajczak, as he sits in his home in Germany after touring, it’s been a humbling time for the artist over the past few years.
“WHEN YOU ARE OLDER, YOU START TO APPRECIATE THINGS MORE. WHEN YOU ARE YOUNGER, YOU TEND TO GO FOR BIGGER, BOLDER OPPORTUNITIES.”
“There are so many ups in this job,” Ratajczak reminisces. “This is the best thing that has ever happened. I always live by the idea that happy parents make happy kids. Now that I am a father, there is somewhat of a downside. I can’t tell people I can’t be with you because there is a wedding, a birthday, or other important events dealing with home life. I have to be on tour. I still enjoy it, but you lose your family. Now that I am a father, it’s gotten a bit worse. It’s harder. My son is starting to understand when Daddy says, ‘Daddy’s got to go work.’ With your wife or significant other, there is a level of understanding. With your child, it’s something different. Nonetheless, I have the best job. I could be stuck in an office day in and day out. There are so many people who are not satisfied with what they do, and they have no choice. I’m trying to be good at my job, to leave something for my family. But also, have those points where we can also spend time together as one, too. When you are older, you start to appreciate things more. When you are younger, you tend to go for bigger, bolder opportunities. My life is already exciting with my job, and sometimes I just love to have calm times at home. I love walking through the forest. It sounds silly, but it’s something I really enjoy doing with my family.”
Electric Callboy’s new release Tekkno is the band’s most genuine and fun release to date. With the entire focus of the album built to have a more optimistic soundscape in an environment of serious themed metalcore bands, Electric Callboy wants to remind people that it’s okay to let your hair down and let go every once and a while.
“WHEN LIFE IS SOMETIMES TOO MUCH, LEAVE IT THERE AND ENJOY LIFE. DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF.”
“When we started the band, we were in our mid-20s,” Ratajczak remembers. “It was all about partying and good times. We didn’t care too much. There was no responsibility. We just lived in the moment and had a good time. This was portrayed in our music as well. The thing was, we came to realize that with our success came a lot more responsibility as well. I always remember Spider-Man and a quote from Uncle Ben. ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ So many bands cover all those topics, whether it’s political or other various serious subjects, and it’s great to have these bands. But we noticed that even when we are in a bad mood—I don’t know where these bad moods come from, it can be a bad day at work or a fight with your spouse—that sometimes when you get your mind out of that situation, leave it as it is, have a good time, watch a movie, listen to electric-core, for example, or just let loose, you are so much stronger to face the problems of everyday life again. I know that sounds philosophical,” he laughs. “I think this is normal behavior though. When life is sometimes too much, leave it there and enjoy life. Do something for yourself.”
Many can attest that the partycore genre doesn’t have a brand new shine to it, but like their name change from Eskimo Callboy, Tekkno speaks to Electric Callboy’s growth and maturity they have experienced since their 2019 release, Rehab.
“THERE WAS A POINT WHERE ALL FIVE OF US AGREED AND WANTED TO TRY IT, AND WE STARTED TO WRITE AGAIN.”
“Rehab was a bad album,” he chuckles. There were songs that I liked, but that was the end of an era. It was almost a burden to finish that album. I hated working on it because it was almost impossible to reach a compromise with our old singer. I didn’t want to go to the studio anymore. As you know, this resulted in us parting ways with our old vocalist. To be honest, this was the best thing that could happen to all of us. Because after some time of being very afraid, we all loved that band and worked hard for it for over 10 years. We feared it was all crashing down. It was not just the fear. It begged the questions, ‘How do you go on? Will fans accept a new vocalist? Do we accept a new vocalist?’ There was a point where all five of us agreed and wanted to try it, and we started to write again. Let me tell you, it was so much fun to work again. I don’t want to blame it on our old singer. He’s doing his own thing. He will tell you the same story. All five of us came to the studio after and said, ‘Let’s make music like it’s 2010.’ This album, and even MMXX, our first EP with Nico [Sallach, vocals], were two different experiences, two different bands. Rehab was not a bad album, but I didn’t feel it. We had help writing it. It was not us.”
While it’s safe to say that Electric Callboy has experienced a musical rebirth not just for the band but also their instrumental soundscape, Tekkno shows they have comfortably come into their own and are enjoying themselves now.
“I think so,” he smiles. “With Nico as our new singer and quitting with our old singer, this was a new start and the death of the old Electric Callboy. MMXX was the tryout, which made it all possible. We didn’t know what was going to happen with that, because we were starting fresh, going back to 2010 like we had never been there before. We knew what we wanted with Tekkno. I think ‘rebirth’ is the correct word for it. We can proudly say this is what we are. This is our music.”