Julia Steiner of Ratboys on Their 10-Year Anniversary and Their Year in Lockdown

Apr 02, 2021

By Mark Moody


Chicago’s Ratboys are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their first release in 2021. The core of the band remain Julia Steiner (guitar, vocals) and Dave Sagan (guitar), who have been writing and recording partners from the beginning days of the band. With a revolving cast of other Ratboys, Sean Neumann (bass) and Marcus Nuccio (drums) were added as permanent members before recording their third full length album, 2020’s Printer’s Devil. The album came out on February 28th of last year—seemingly a perfect date for the revelation of new music and launching of a spring tour with the approaching thaw.

If only any of us knew what was to befall the planet and therefore, the band’s 2020 plans, the celebratory preparations would have seemed futile in hindsight. But if you noticed anything that Steiner, Sagan, and their group did last year, you know they didn’t just spend the year feeling sorry for themselves. Far from it, the group started a Virtual Tour that took fans from the depths of Spongebob’s Bikini Bottom all the way to the moon. The tour has rolled into 2021, including their own Super Bowl episode to rival Miley Cyrus’ pre-game show. The episodes are available for viewing at www.watchratboys.com.

As the year and its events unfolded, Steiner took the fun filled approach down some more serious paths. This culminated in a 25-hour Halloween Telethon in support of Girls Rock! Chicago and Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative. And though their focus was squarely on their fans and social and equality causes, the band did find a little bit of time to celebrate their own anniversary. The group re-recorded their debut, Ratboy EP, with their full line-up and surprise released the album on Topshelf yesterday (yes, April Fool’s Day, but also the 10-year anniversary of the EP’s original release). We were able to catch Steiner a few days before Happy Birthday, Ratboy’s release to reflect on how 2020 unfolded, the beginnings of the band, and hope for better days ahead.

Mark Moody (Under the Radar): Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. So Printer’s Devil came out on February 28th, 2020, and you had a couple of album release shows in Chicago. How did those shows go and did you have any sense at that point that there was a global pandemic on the horizon?

Julia Steiner: No. We were totally, I think as much of America was, in the dark as far as how serious this situation was becoming internationally. We played a warm-up gig at the University of Wisconsin in Madison on February 21st, the week before the record came out. And then we played a show the night the album came out on the 28th at Lincoln Hall, and then the next night, which was leap day, so February 29 at the Hideout, which is a smaller but legendary venue here in Chicago. And the shows went really great. We had promoted them passionately, and we were excited about it. And so they both sold out, which was so cool.

That was a really huge milestone for us and we were just so excited to be playing again, because we had actually taken a break that we had given ourselves from touring for four years. Basically, for many years before that, we hadn’t been home for more than a month at a time. So in July 2019, we played our final shows for the year. We were like, “Oh, we’ll hit it hard in 2020.” So we had been at home working on announcing the album, working on music videos, writing songs, just totally in prep mode. And so when the Printer’s Devil release happened, we were just so over the moon to have the opportunity just to be back on stage.

And then everything fell apart.

Yeah, we truly had zero inkling that those would be our last shows for the year. We were planning a trip to Europe in June and getting the last preparations laid down. We were exchanging emails over the next week, working on that. And then when South by Southwest got canceled, that was a wake-up call. Because a fan—I kind of cringe looking back at this—messaged us on Facebook and they were from England and they were asking, “What’s the likelihood that South by will be canceled?” And I responded with complete confidence [laughs] like, “There’s no way they will cancel this. It’s such a huge economic boon to the city of Austin.” So when that got shuttered, that completely caught my attention. And we started to consider, “Wow, this is actually happening.”

Oh, yeah, that’s interesting. I remember that now because that was the first big thing that got canceled.

Yeah. It’s crazy how that was on March 6th. I will never ever forget that. And then the next week we did an AMA [Ask Me Anything] on Reddit on the 11th and people were asking about the tour that was to start on the 14th. It’s just crazy how it remains so specific.

Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask you next. It sounds like you were rested up and ready to go, is basically what you’re saying. And so when were you supposed to start your tour in support of the album?

March 14th was the first date and that was supposed to be in Champaign-Urbana. So not too far from here, but we were really looking forward to it. Sean [Ratboys bassist Sean Neumann] used to live there. We have lots of friends there. But anyways, on that AMA that we did on Reddit, people were saying like, “Hey, are you guys still going to play your shows this weekend in Illinois and Kansas City?” and we were like, “100%, we will be there whatever.” And then literally that night on March 11th is when the NBA shut down, when Tom Hanks got coronavirus, and when former President Trump issued some sort of travel restriction. And so that night we got a call from our booking agent saying, “Hey, guys, it’s looking like this is actually coming to a head extremely quickly.” So, yeah, then the next day, March 12th, was when we pulled the plug. It was like cascading dominoes.

Oh, no. That’s so awful and the timing is so devastating. I had profiled you guys in January of last year as a band to watch for in 2020 and mentioned the album and declared it was going to be year of the Ratboys.

It was the Year of the Rat in the Chinese calendar. I wish I would have known that earlier. We could have prepped something.

Yeah. No, I know. But I think of anybody out there, I think you guys handled yourselves the best over this past year so I’ve been very impressed.

Thank you.

So, with all that crashing around you, when did this idea to do the Virtual Tour come about and logistically how does that all work?

No, for sure. So it was kind of gradual, as weird as that is to say. I guess it happened within two weeks, but it felt very gradual because back then every day felt like a month. So as soon as we postponed dates for the first time, we realized that we weren’t going to be able to do the original tour. So I got on a couple calls with some friends of ours here in town, and we were all kind of thinking like, “How can we organize ourselves? How can we work together.” There were talks of doing a virtual concert and recording it at a friend’s house, where he has studio space, but one of the bands on the call kind of chimed in and said, “I don’t feel comfortable seeing my bandmates right now. We’re all isolated.” And that’s when I was like, “Whoa. This is going to actually change everything for everybody.” So all of those ideas to combine forces, have a bunch of bands work together to make some cool events kind of fell apart really quickly. So at that point, our record had just come out. So luckily, people were kind of paying attention to us right then, so I got invited to do a couple of virtual smaller shows. One was on Facebook Live, one was on Instagram Live, and then one was using Twitch, which I had never touched before. I didn’t know how it worked.

Oh, wow. Okay.

And, yeah, so the first one I did was on an app called Social Distance Party, which integrates with Twitch, that my friend Ryan McKenna created. It’s really cool, and he invited me to do it. I was a little nervous at first because I just had no idea logistically how to do it, how to stream in. But we spent an afternoon, and he taught me kind of the backend of Twitch streaming like downloading OBS [open source Open Broadcaster Software], which is the free software that you use.

Oh, boy, you’re getting technical now.

Yeah, no. I literally knew nothing. And Ryan, just spent the time, kind of gave me a crash course. But when I did that show by myself, I kind of realized, this actually is pretty straightforward. And the good news is there’s YouTube tutorials for everything, and we had so much free time. It just kind of felt like something we could try to do. And so long story short, we ordered a very cheap webcam, and Sean had a small green screen already that he set up years ago. And I had the Virtual Tour idea of playing in front of different backgrounds, pretending we were on tour.

So then you’ll have to help me because I saw a few episodes, and I watched parts of the Halloween telethon. So were Sean and Marcus [Nuccio] where you guys were or somewhere else? They sometimes seemed like they were on a different screens.

Yes, we were all in the same place. Starting in around June of last year, the cases were going down here in Chicago. We felt it was safe to bring Marcus back into the fold because Sean, Dave [Sagan], and I live together in the same house. And so the three of us had been doing the Virtual Tour, streaming from our basement. And it felt very safe because we were very much like isolating together. So then we brought Marcus back into the fold, and, yeah, it does look like they’re in separate little zones. Once we started getting on a roll with the Virtual Tour and having fun with it, we kept buying cheap little webcams. So we have three now, and they each have their own different camera angle.

Okay. Cool. So I know you’ve got the channel, Watch Ratboys (www.watchratboys.com). If somebody was going to go there, which episode was your favorite, or what would you say they should go look at first?

That’s a really good question. I never thought about that. I mean, I really like watching some of the early ones because we were just so naive to not know how long this was going to last. Like the one where we are on the moon, I think like episode three [actually looks to be Night 4], and that was really great. I remember we were stretching reality for the first time. It was pretty silly. But then, honestly, if you go all the way from that to our most recent episode, we haven’t streamed in a while because we’ve been busy getting a lot of stuff ready for the surprise release [Happy Birthday Ratboy]. But the most recent one we did, which was for the Super Bowl, was really fun, February 7th, 2021. I took us up in a blimp, virtually of course. [Laughs] It’s extremely silly. But yeah, we’re kind of just trying to figure out new ways to keep the gag interesting.

And it looks like you have a Schoolhouse Rock motif for ’21.

That’s the plan. Yeah, that’s what we’re going with. And we started having guests now, which is cool. In the beginning, we weren’t doing that as much, but we realized after the telethon. We were like, “Oh, wow. We can just have people on every time, and it makes it really fun.”

So let’s talk about some of the fundraising stuff that you guys have done. I think the first thing I noticed was you had done a raffle for the test pressing of your first album, AOID. So how did that idea come around? And I think your beneficiary there was the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

I wish I could pinpoint the specific band, but we definitely weren’t the first people to do something like this. A raffle where you can just kind of like use social media to have people band together and support a common cause. So there were definitely other bands doing similar things and we just had a couple of test presses lying around and we don’t really need those. I thought maybe someone else would enjoy owning it. It was a pretty simple idea because the way it worked was we just asked people to Venmo us $10 per entry. And in a spreadsheet, I typed out people’s names and their number of entries and everything and randomly picked a winner. And then we just made the donation for the final total amount and posted the receipt and sent the test press to the winner. So I was down in Kentucky at that point. My grandmother had passed away.

I’m sorry.

No, it’s okay. But it was something that we were able to organize very quickly and that I was able to do from the road, as it were. That’s kind of the exciting thing about social media. Things can develop quickly and you can make an impact pretty quickly as well. It’s like a very quick grassroots thing.

And how much did you raise during that?

Oh, I need to check, but I’m pretty sure we did thirteen hundred something and then we just bumped it up to fifteen hundred. We added 200 or something in.

So you gave that to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Was that after the BLM protests had started?

Yes. This was about a week later, I think. And the George Floyd protests had started the previous weekend, I believe.

Yeah, that’s awesome. So it seems to me, and I assume you would agree. The Halloween Telethon was kind of the pinnacle of the year?

Yes.

So that was just crazy. So how did you all put that together? And then I know at some point along the lines you realized it was Daylight Savings Time weekend, so you had to do an extra hour.

That was insane. [Laughs] So last summer, I think in July, I had this conversation with Sean and Dave and then we live with two other friends of ours, Marty and Catherine. And Marty and Catherine are huge fans of Halloween. Just as a house, as a unit, in the years that we’ve lived here together, we’ve been extremely festive around Halloween time. We always have a big party. It’s been really fun. But this year we realized, of course, that would be the wrong move to have a big party. I think we were lamenting the fact that we wouldn’t have plans and on top of that, Halloween was on a Saturday last year.

Yeah, I know. It should have been a perfect Halloween.

Yeah, for real. And it was a full moon. It was a blue moon. It was the spookiest most perfect set up for Halloween ever.

And you get an hour back at the end of the day to boot.

Right, exactly. So we were just so bummed because it was a perfect Halloween, but we couldn’t hang out with any friends. This idea kind of just sparked in my brain. I’ve always been a really big fan of the show Parks and Recreation. And there’s an early episode in that show where they do an all-night telethon. And it was just one of the funniest episodes of TV. And it stuck out in my mind. This idea to do a telethon seemed kind of feasible because we were novices, but we knew the basics of Twitch and so we could conceivably just program enough stuff to do and get friends of ours to donate their time, which is so generous, and then encourage people to donate. And then we would pass on the funds to organizations we cared about. So it kind of just came together on a whim. I reached out to every guest we had had on the virtual tour up to that point and just asked if anyone’s interested, and a lot of people were. And so that’s when I realized like, “Hey, we could just take this idea and run with it.” So it just became a project, like something big to work on. I worked on that every day for two or three months. And it was really fun to have a thing to work on.

So the music clips, were those being done live, or were those pre-recorded by your guests?

Most of them were pre-recorded, and I’ll credit our manager, Tom, had that idea to reach out to artists in addition to the people who had committed to coming on live, to see if they’d be willing to just record a song or two that we could play. And once we realized people were open to that, we reached out to everyone we knew and enough people were down to do that. And so many people went above and beyond and just did extremely festive and thought-out bits, which was really cool. Maxfield did something from the movie That Thing You Do. And World’s Greatest Dad did a Men in Black montage. It was very cool to see people go all out.

So the organizations that you donated the funds to were Girls Rock! Chicago and Equal Justice Initiative. I saw the part where the gentleman from EJI spoke about the organization. So did EJI have any clue who Ratboys were or what you were doing?

No. We didn’t have to convince them of much because, at the end of the day, we were doing our best to donate money to them. But it was kind of we wanted to make sure to come off as professionally as possible so that they would be comfortable with their name being on this event at the end of the day. So, yeah, we communicated back and forth. We really wanted to break it up between two organizations. Not only was the idea to focus on two different kinds of causes, but then also the level of the organizations like EJI as a national nonprofit. It’s big picture stuff. And then Girls Rock! Chicago is very much here in our community where we live, and we’ve interacted with them before.

And that was great that the charities came on the telethon and talked.

I know. We were so grateful, and that worked out really well.

So they’re big Ratboys fans now over at EJI now?

I don’t know yet. I mean, I think they’re extremely pleased that we were able to raise money. But, yeah, they got bigger fish to fry. They’re working on a lot of important stuff over there.

Well, what you guys did was very important, too. So that’s great, but I can’t remember if you had a goal or what you thought you were going to raise from this.

So the goal was kind of in jest. The goal was $1 million. That’s like a classic telethon goal, you know what I mean?

Okay. I must have missed that.

Originally, we were going to make the goal $1,000, and then our friend Mike, who generously designed the website and the donation bar ticker suggested, “Hey, you might actually be a little low,” considering you’re going to be on there for 25 hours, and we were like, “Oh, really?” I don’t know. We had extremely low or just humble expectations for what we could do with this. So yeah, eventually it ended up raising 13 something thousand dollars, which is insane.

That is crazy.

It was awesome because 13’s a good Halloween number too. But we were just blown away. And it was just a really fun experience and a cool bonding experience for us too, staying up all night and losing that hour was pretty hilarious.

Well, I remember something coming out shortly before it came on that it was gonna be a 25-hour telethon, because you didn’t realize it was Daylight Savings Time that weekend.

Yeah. People thought we were doing that just to be funny, but no. Our friend, Jonathan Pearce from The Beths, which is a band in New Zealand.

Oh, yeah. They’re great.

Yeah. He pointed that out a few weeks beforehand, thank God. Because I might not have known. I just think it’s hilarious that someone who lives in New Zealand pointed out these American time changes.

Yeah. I was going to say, do they even do that over there?

I don’t think so. I think he’s just completely on top of everything. But yeah, luckily we had some advance warning and we were able to plan accordingly.

So you think any chance of making that an annual event or you think that’s a one-time one and done?

I think for now it’s one and done but we’ve talked about doing a spin-off, like a similar kind of event. This is silly and I do not want you to hold me to this because I’m not sure where we’ll be in October, hopefully on the road but we’ve thought about maybe doing a Top 10 on October 10th for ten hours. And then we could count down the top 10 top 10’s at the end. I don’t know, it just got extremely meta. I would like to do something similar, but maybe not the exact same thing.

Oh, yeah. I had a beef with Dave on one of his telethon top 10s [Horror of horrors, Crispix was not on the Top 10 Cereals list].

Okay, there you go. See it gets pretty intense. I would love for other people to do stuff like this, just selfishly, as a consumer of media. I just think the telethon format is amazing.

Well, good for you guys. Have you always been charitably minded or where does that come from? Obviously, you guys have had a financial impact yourselves from being shut down for a year or so.

Yeah. I don’t know. Luckily, our operating costs when we’re at home are very low. The Virtual Tour, we do it in our basement. There’s no budget for that. We just do it. And it’s just not really something we feel super comfortable with, asking people to send us money.

Oh, yeah. No, I understand.

So, yeah. It felt like a natural way because that’s one of the things I’ve been blown away with during this whole COVID time, is people are extremely generous with their money. And just that charitable impulse isn’t limited to a certain type of person. That’s just kind of an element of human nature I’ve noticed. So it’s nice to be able to kind of direct that impulse that people have, like our fans and our friends, and be able to kind of point that toward organizations that we really care about. And it’s been nice having the time to learn about organizations that are doing really important work locally and nationally because otherwise, when you’re on tour, you just don’t have time to learn about stuff like that, driving all day.

Yeah. There has definitely been lots of time for reflection and learning this year. If anything good has come out of it, hopefully, it’s that.

Totally.

So on the Happy Birthday, Ratboy album, how did that evolve? And it took me a little while, actually, to figure out where all the tracks came from. I didn’t realize outside of the first five tracks from the original Ratboy EP, where the others were coming from. The rest came in from bonus tracks and other items?

Yeah. So all the songs, except for “Go Outside” are ones that we wrote at the very beginning when Dave and I first met, and while we were just starting to play music together. So all of the songs, with the one exception, were written in 2013 or before. So they’re all kind of our earliest songs written during college.

Oh, okay. But some of them, I think “Cacao to Cacao” was on Printer’s Devil as a bonus track.

Right, but it’s a very old song. We felt like the songs from the original EP could go with these other old songs. It’s kind of a hodgepodge, but I mean [laughs], it’s songs that we feel like we never really gave them their due. So it felt like a nice time to kind of celebrate our earliest moments with the band.

So, the first five tracks from the EP, what was that like for you to kind of go back and unpack that? I went back and listened to the original, and listening side-by-side for some reason reminded me of the movie Eighth Grade?

It’s like a new movie, right?

Yeah. It’s just a couple of years old. But the main character, she was very awkward at that age. And she’s making these time capsules for herself to open in the future. It’s really kind of emotional. But I mean, what was that like for you to go back and unpack that and reinterpret it?

Totally. Yeah, it’s kind of funny to think about. We didn’t really listen to it when we were working on these new interpretations of the song. We avoided that a little bit just because I didn’t want to be too precious about trying to recreate certain things that were on the 2011 EP. Mainly because most of the things that make that EP kind of special or interesting are there things that are reflective of the fact that I didn’t really know what I was doing. [Laughs] Not that I know what I’m doing now or that we all know what we’re doing. But it would be really hard to recreate something ten years later that was sort of an accident to begin with. So yeah, we more so focused on what we knew about the songs.

We were teaching Sean and Marcus most of these songs. “The Stanza” is the exception. We had played that song live consistently since the EP came out. So we had played that song on tour a bunch. We already kind of had a full band arrangement for that, which is one reason we were really excited to make this record, because we’ve kind of wanted to record a full band version of that song in particular for a long time. But then the rest of them, we were teaching Sean and Marcus these songs and kind of re-teaching Dave and myself how to play them. Just figuring out what to add and kind of what in essence the spirit of these songs is. What’s the vibe? What are we trying to get across? Just kind of burying our heads back in there. Because like you said, those four songs other than “The Stanza” on the EP we had not played or thought about in years, probably seven years at least.

So it was definitely a challenge, but very fun too because back then I didn’t own an electric guitar. I was only performing with acoustic guitar. And so since then, I’ve adapted and now I exclusively perform with an electric guitar at shows unless I’m alone or in a living room. So it was kind of fun to play these songs on electric guitar for the first time and figure out how they should sound when we are playing them in 2021 as a band that has more chemistry and experience playing.

So you’re not playing the ukulele anymore either, I take it then?

Well, Dave actually, on “Down the River,” did play the ukulele. I’m not totally sure how we’re going to play some of these songs on the road when we are able to tour again. That one would be a little tough because the ukulele is one of the main instruments, but yeah, that was the only song of ours that has the ukulele on it so that was fun to figure out.

I think the songs themselves held up really well over the years. It’s kind of that same observational approach that has carried through to today and is definitely there at the beginning. So, just your thoughts in terms of maybe what’s been retained from back then versus what’s different today. Not so much the record itself, but the band in general.

Yeah, well, the main thing that’s been retained, I would say, is my creative relationship with Dave. That’s kind of the through-line to this band. When we first met during freshman orientation at Notre Dame in 2010. We met the second day of orientation.

Oh, that’s so wild. That’s crazy.

Yeah. It was super lucky. That changed my life because oftentimes, the college experiences, it takes a long time to meet your people, so to speak. And I just got completely lucky by chance. Met Dave immediately. And I had never had a friend who played music, played in bands. I had some friends in high school who were music fans. We liked the same bands and they appreciated me playing and they would always support me and watch me at open mics and stuff, but I had never been able to collaborate with anyone. So when I met Dave, it was this entirely new, just amazing experience of getting feedback and having someone to ask for ideas. And it really gave me a lot of confidence. The fact that he liked what I was doing and wanted to build on it was really cool because he had been in a lot of bands. It was just a mutual respect sort of thing.

Right. So were you just playing on your own at that time, just playing for yourself?

Yes, in high school. Yeah. I never played a show. I played an open mic and our talent show in high school, things like that. But yeah, when I met Dave, he was kind of the one to encourage me. He was very excited to work on these songs together and add to them and record them with me. And I never had a relationship like that. So that was huge. And there’s been twists and turns over the years in college where we both went our separate ways. We studied in different places and kind of had a hiatus. But once we reconnected and started playing again, when we returned to campus, we never stopped. So that’s the main thing that’s the same as it was in the beginning, is that our relationship has just continued to grow and we’ve become better and better writing together.

And then things that are different? I mean, a lot. [Laughs] Back then, we started the band as a two-piece with Dave playing bass and me playing acoustic guitar. And over the years, we started playing with different friends of ours who were playing drums and then they switched to guitar and we added a friend who played bass. And over the years, we’ve just played with a ton of different people. So that’s kind of an education in itself because when you play with new people, it forces you to adapt and kind of learn how to teach these songs to people. So that experience has been huge. I feel like that’s just sharpened my instincts as a musician. But yeah, in 2014, I bought an electric guitar on a whim and recorded like a week later. And ever since, I’ve been playing electric guitar at shows. And so that was kind of a big turning point because then we realized we wanted to play louder and harnessing that has kind of been the goal for the last few years.

Yeah. Okay. And now that you guys are a full four-piece band, you definitely get that feel on the last album. So that makes sense. Who’s on the cover of the original Ratboy EP, or is that just some random photo? [Laughs]

Yeah, it is a random photo that I snagged off of Facebook. It is my friend’s friend’s dad running on a beach and I don’t think he knows.

You don’t think he knows about the original? And now he’s back on a birthday cake cover for the remake.

He’s back, yeah. He’s kind of the original Ratboy. That face he’s making, it just has this energy that I can’t really describe. But when I hear the word Ratboy, it’s kind of what I think of.

But that wasn’t the impetus for the band’s name was it?

No. I guess I’m the original Ratboy. My friends in high school gave me that nickname when I was 14. So that’s where the name comes from. But yeah, that picture, oh my God, was just perfect from the beginning. And then, we knew we wanted to do something with it, but the cake made sense.

I think that makes a lot of sense. That’s awesome. So maybe we just close talking about “Go Outside” for a minute. Actually, I wrote up the album review and submitted it and everything before I realized that was an older song as well.

Yeah. It’s not as old as the other songs.

Well, but it wasn’t a pandemic-derived song. Right?

Yeah, which is kind of insane because the lyrics sounds like last year. But I think it’s just universal yearning. But it got real last year. So yeah, Dave and I just wrote that song on a whim. We had a very kind of rare day where we were home, not on the road. And we were just chilling in this back porch area that we have with the windows open, playing guitar. It’s stuff that people probably think happens every day when you live with your bandmates. But it kind of doesn’t. It was just this very idyllic, chill afternoon. And, yeah, just worked on that little idea. And it came together that afternoon.

Oh, so it wasn’t written in the middle of the winter either?

No. It was a beautiful day, which is why it’s kind of silly, because why didn’t I just go outside like I could have? I basically was outside when I wrote it. It was kind of dumb, but yeah. So we kind of just were like, “Oh, that was cool.” I just didn’t think about that song for the rest of the year. And then, when 2020 happened, we were like, “Oh, that song actually makes way more sense now than it did then.” And we were originally planning to wait to record it and release it later on down the line. But Topshelf had an idea that it would be cool to put a bonus track onto this record, something that’s not from that same early era of our songwriting, something that’s more fresh and new. So, when we were looking at the new songs we had, we were like, “Oh, this one would actually be perfect.”

Yeah, no, it is. It makes for a great song to close out the album. So that’s really cool. It seems like that song has been very well-received, and I’ve seen a lot of positive feedback on it, but people don’t have a clue it’s going to be appended to Happy Birthday, Ratboy when that comes out.

Yeah, for real. It’s funny. We weren’t originally planning to release it beforehand. We kind of had that idea not last minute but after the record was finished and we were planning the album release. Marcus, our drummer, actually had the idea. “What if we put “Go Outside” just as a standalone track a year after Printer’s Devil came out to say, “We’re still here. And that hopefully we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and just some sort of signal that spring is coming.””

So I guess it’s actually coming out a day before the weekly album releases. I think it’s on a Thursday.

Yeah, Thursday. The actual 10-year anniversary is April 1st 2021, which is a Thursday and so that’s when it’ll come out. And then the next day is Bandcamp Friday.

COVID will be gone. The weather will be great. [Laughter] It’s going to be amazing. It seems like a very natural Ratboys thing to do.

Yeah. It’s just fun to celebrate something. Ten years is kind of a crazy amount of time to do anything, let alone something that doesn’t reap huge rewards right away, so we’re just stoked to still be able to make music in 2021, ten years later.

Most groups don’t make it that far, so that’s cool. Well, again, I’ve just been very impressed with the way you guys conducted yourself during the pandemic. Not that that should matter to you, but you guys stood out to me over the course of the year. Doing something meaningful and trying to have fun with a bad situation, so I’ve been impressed from the sidelines. So it was great to get to talk to you about it.

Yeah. Thank you so much for just checking out what we’re doing. It means a lot.

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