‘Hard to understand and easy to judge’ Rockstar Dorian Phoenix 4th Alterview

Rockstar Dorian Phoenix denies rumours about band split and is generally “well relaxed”

Rockstar Persona Dorian Phoenix, frontman of Rats at Dinner, welcome back to The Sewers!


How have you been?

Ah yeah I’m relaxing aren’t I? I’m well relaxed, so relaxed it would make you abnormal right? Shoes on.

Sounds great. Can you comment on what’s been going on in the past two weeks on your Twitter with Radiohead?

Fuck no, hey, d’y’know’wha? Nah, I’m cool. It’s alright, it’ll pass, yeah.

You sound very relaxed –

Well relaxed –  

Considering the fact some Radiohead fans started a petition calling to ban Rats at Dinner concerts all together. There are about 12k signatures so far.  

Yeah, shit, it’s fucking hilarious, that’s what it is. I just laugh and smile.

Are you high?

Nah I’m good, it’s alright, I don’t need this ah? It’s winter now, it’s different now, the sound in yer ears is different.

Are you enjoying yourself?

Yeah, shit, it’s good. You have time when don’t have a gig four times a week, d’y’know what I mean? You don’t have to think all the time what time is it. You don’t owe anyone time and you can change yer clothes all the time.

Fun. Have you noticed though how there’s always something going on around you? There always seems to be some weekly scandal with you.

Shit yeah, it’s cos I’m interesting aren’t I? And it’s also cos people are obsessed with my Twitter. Fuck, all I said was ‘Thom Yorke stay in New York’, I just thought it was funny.

Why did you think it was funny?

Shit, I ain’t gonna explain why I think something’s funny. If you don’t get it then you just don’t and that’s well sad.

I’m not the only one who didn’t get it. And it really escalated from there on.  

Yeah, you lot misunderstanding and I say fuck off.

You cite from your song “Asphalt” often on our alterviews.

Shit yeah, this song, even before I wrote it, was playing in my head for years. It was like the words in my head whenever people were giving me shit. The more shit you get, the more you understand that people are the same. The same in the shit they give you. The way they misunderstand you is the same way. The way they judge you is the same way.

Why do you suppose this happens to you so often?

Ah cos I’m hard to understand and easy to judge, innit?

What is it that people don’t understand about you?

Wha? Fuck I dunno, I don’t fucking understand them so fuck off.

What is it that you don’t understand about people?

Wha? What’s with these questions, it’s fucking dehydrating.

Question is, do you understand yourself?

Wha? I don’t fucking understand you mate. You trying to confuse me ah? I’m too relaxed for that now.

Last time we talked, you mentioned some confusion regarding your on-tour self and what you called your ‘regular’ self.

Ah yeah alright, nah it’s alright now. People make up stories to handle this confusion, d’y’know what I mean? They make up fake stories that I don’t need. Some things are just too far apart and you gotta go sci-fi to come up with a story to bring them together. I’m not into that shit.


Alright, sometimes one good party is enough to get yerself together. And d’y’know what’s the most important thing in a party? Ah?

The drugs?

Nah, fuck, shit. Listen, there always gotta be someone cooler than you in a party. One is enough. And that’s it.

Who could be cooler than you?

Ah you coming on to me ain’t ya?

No, just sincerely wondering.

Then rethink it love. Cos someone cooler than you is in the way you look at things. I can spot someone cooler than me in every party.

Is this you being modest?

Nah, I ain’t a modest person, never was. I just like the way time passes with alcohol. That’s when you see better, you see the cooler people, and it makes you think. I think what they’re about. Like when I used to have those feather earrings all the time, d’ya’know what I mean?

There was an iconic photo of you with your feather earrings on the cover of Passing Stones Magazine, from 2016 I think.    

Shit yeah, so basically, the thing is that three years ago I saw a cooler guy in a party with an earring like that. That’s not what made him cool alright? But it’s what I remembered. Anyway I started having thoughts about why he had it and where he got it and when he came up with it.

So what did he tell you about it? Before you decided to copy him?

Oh I didn’t talk to him, you never talk to the cooler people. You just shut up. It’ll ruin the whole thing. And that’s the problem with Twitter and all that. And it’s bollocks that I copied him, I so didn’t. You don’t get it if you think I copied him. I just came up in my head with how he got the idea for it and once I had this story in my head of how he came up with it, it was my story then wasn’t it? That’s how I fucking got it. Do you get it?

Is it the same when it comes to music? When you hear something cool and make up a story about how it was made and then copy it?

Oh fuck off would you? Fuck. That’s shit. As if making music is the same as getting a fucking earring. The thing is that you don’t know much.

You calling me dumb?

Wha? No, fuck. I mean that the thing is not knowing much about the things that are cool. I mean about the things that inspire you and shit. When you know too much, when you try to know everything, you lose the thing that’d inspired you. So it’s the same with music to me, yeah. The thing about music is that you can’t put it in words and you shudn’t. Cos if you do what’s the fucking point of even listening to it? You could just talk about it then, and that’s fucking boring innit? So what you call copying is just trying to understand, y’know?

That’s very insightful.

Innit though? took you forever to get it.

Probably because I do try to know as much as I can about the things that interest and inspire me.

Innit? Cos that’s what you’re about ah?

Not entirely. But perhaps knowing too much about things you appreciate, especially the arts, rather demystifies them.


On the other hand, some things have such an unexplainable quality to them, that no matter how much you explore them, it’ll only become clearer to you that they cannot be simplified. So you pretty much ought to try to explore all things, to see if they really do have this quality. 

Ah, like wha?

I mean think of a song you really like, and imagine you know everything about how and why and where it was written. If you truly like it, would knowing all of this change it?

Ah right, but I mean wha if you take this song and you mess it up in a studio, and hear all the layers separately, like the singing layer, the drumming layer, yeah, like when yer earphones go bad and you hear the background of it, yeah, it can make you not wanna hear it again.

But there’s also a chance you’d hear something new in it and that’s what I mean, that sometimes the more you know about something, the less you understand why it enchants you, and then it enchants you even more. I think it goes for music as well as for visual art.

Ah yeah it’s all in the brain innit?

Do you really think our impression of the arts is all about neurological wiring in our brain? Isn’t that a bit reductive?

Wha? what’s with all this today, shit.

Right, so why did you say on Twitter that pretty much everything Radiohead recorded since Kid A sounds like, I quote, “orchestrated farts”?

Fuck, alright, I was just, d’y’know, people take shit way too seriously. Who gives ’em the fucking right to judge me for what I say on my Twitter?

You do, by saying it in public.


And it funny, because some of the comments were people saying they can’t stand to hear another Rats at Dinner song after what you said, while others said that even though you were out of line, they could never stop listening to Rats at Dinner.

Fuck, cos our crowd knows what we’re about don’t they?

It’s just what we talked about, some were kind of demystified by what you’d said, and some just seem to love you more, no matter what.

Cos I’m the cooler guy for them innit? That’s why in the past people who did stuff were cooler. Cos they didn’t have fucking Twitter and didn’t talk to anyone and it was like most people knew about them only what they wanted to know. But nah, this isn’t rock and roll innit? Rock and roll is about screwing up in public. So I ain’t ashamed of it.

So you’re on Twitter a lot recently.


How are things in the studio?

Yeah it’s fucking great right? We’re totally alright with everything and shit.

Jake Mate and you are notorious for getting into terrible fights in the studio.

Ah. Wha’eva. Who’s the fucking frontman of Rats? Yeah? You tell me.

It’s you of course.

So fuck off.

You’re not going to split the band up are you?

Wha? Fuck no. fuck.

You’d tell The Sewers first if you were, right?

Go fuck yerself ah? You gave me such a fucking headache today it’s unbelievable.

Right, pleasure having you here, as always.

Congratulations. Want me to sign you leg? Your thigh? Ah?

No, have a nice time on Twitter.

Wha’eva, bye.

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