BioBelow the Hudson Valley and beyond the cityscape of Manhattan, Mike Stroud has committed to calling Crown Heights home, after a real estate agent told him in a deep latin rumble, "Shit dawggy, it ain't no upper east side, but it sure beats Caracus…"
Evan still doesn’t have a place to live, so he turns to the internet. Remember this was a time when names like ratatat.com were still available for you to put family photos on view, though no one knew how to buy a domain name, you had to go to San Francisco for that, hence WWW.RATATATMUSIC.COM
Evan turns to search for places on Eastern Parkway, he has to lurk his Mac out of sleep mode and onto the information super highway, but it lags, and lags because it's in a deep sleep and doesn't just have to awaken. It has to get past all that music media, guitar melodies, beats & keyboards.
Back at his new place in Crown Heights, Mike unpacks his guitar, turns on the TV, the amp is in the foyer, and his roommate can't get his bedside table around the massive speaker box to get into his room, a Beethoven cd shuffles through the disc changer, it's beginning.
Seems there's a doughnut shop around the corner and cell phones are as practical as everyone says, though Evan still hasn’t found a home. Mike can't wait for him to wash out of Portland and join him in Brooklyn, where they can live around the corner from each other and work closer together and become even more brotherly, maybe even start a family of friends where you don’t have to feel out of place asking to borrow money. You know you’ll pay it back, or you know you’ll see it come back round again.
Then it happened. Evan found the spot and focused on renting a van to get himself and his major/minor studio of essential items down to Brooklyn and into his first floor apartment, just up the street from Mike.
Mike was broke. He wasn’t much in the way of an employee, so he made do helping friends help themselves become artists by playing on a mountain of tours. Dashboard Confessional and Ben Kweller both benefit from Mike’s guitar playing, but it was crafting RATATAT with Evan that he really took to most.
Evan had just enough time for Ratatat, his apartment, his mother’s aspirations for a son with a safe job in graphic design and the artistry of being both co-founder of Audio Dregs Records and releasing records as E*Vax.
Mike left on tour. He was always leaving on tour but he had to, had to play music, had to make a living. Evan was often left alone to cook up new beats and make CDRs. He would mail them to Mike on the road. They got dropped off with a thousand or so people all over the world, and people took to the sound. At the time, it was called Cherry and everyone wanted to hear, or better yet sing for them, but this was never going to be the case.
Paul Banks got a demo. He took to the sound, but he never asked to sing for them. He asked them to open for his band, Interpol on the West Coast.
‘We’re making a record.’ Mike and Evan told me sometime this year.
That was undoubtedly the one definitive, and through the painstaking process of contemplation, talent, and willingness, their intent is unfolding inside the circle of wax or plastic herein enclosed. Listen. Listen.