Rat Bath is a Milwaukee-based all-queer quintet band.
In a themed exhibition of a witch confronting a demon, Rat Bath has included the healing of previous traumas via artistic expression that we’ve heard from them over the years, as well as catharsis and revenge.
Rat Bath’s music has been described as “Spooky Country Core” and listening to it will leave you feeling dirty. After only one listens, you get hooked.
Two years after the publication of their first song, “Rat from Hell” the oddball band has released their first album. When we met the band, they were more than happy to share their story and provide us with details about their new record.
Just over 24 minutes long, the CD has 10 fantastic tunes. “Rat from Hell” demonstrates the band’s country-infused emo-punk style.
What is your real and official showbiz name?
Fred Kenyon (vocals, they/them) Cora Bequeaith (guitar, she/her) Róisín Shields (guitar, she/they) Emmett Roehr (drums, he/him) Ivy Escobedo (bass, she/her) and we are RAT BATH, no one truly know why it called that. Some say it’s because we meet under every full moon and submerge our naked bodies into a pool of rats to absorb their power. But that’s just a rumour.
How long have you been making music and what attracted you to it?
All of us have been involved in music since we were children. What makes it so appealing is the fact that music speaks to everyone. Ever meet someone who says “Nah, I don’t listen to music?” Probably not.
What were your first project and the people you worked with and which year?
Cora and Fred have been making music together since 2015 when Cora became the drummer for Fred’s first project, Cool Lovers in Transit. This particular project never really got off the ground but Cora and Fred did go on to form the folk duet, tiny hands, and then ultimately RAT BATH. Ivy has been playing in various bands in Milwaukee since 2013.
Who or what inspires you or motivates you? And why?
We find inspiration in telling queer stories and contributing to and supporting queer spaces. We are motivated to help create truly inclusive music scenes that foster real community. Also, we are motivated by a love for each other. We’re really close friends and that closeness makes playing music together with a really great experience.
What are your friend’s and parents’ thoughts on your career in singing?
Fred’s grandmother is one of our most avid supporters on Facebook. It’s really nice to see her words of encouragement online. Emmett’s aunt Tina has come out to a few of our shows and is our favourite fan.
What are some of the challenges you face in your career path?
Becoming successful in the music business is an uphill battle. Promoting your own work is a full-time job.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Through the internet, we’ve been given access to journalists outside of Milwaukee that we may have never gotten to work with otherwise. We’ve also found it’s the best outlet for promoting shows.
Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?
Give yourself space and time. The words and the notes will come to you. Songs that are rushed to be finished are usually a fraction of what they could have been if the writer was only patient with themselves.
What is your current project about?
Trans visibility in the music scene. We wrote stories about the queer-coded “villains” we grew up on only this time they are the heroes.
What does this song mean to you?
The album Rat From Hell is a concept album about a witch who is hunted, attacked, and captured by an abuser and a demon. Held captive and stripped of their powers, the witch resorts to physically fighting their way free.
In doing so they come to terms with their own inner demons and regain their powers. This album is based on the vocalist’s own personal experience as a survivor of sexual assault and is meant to give voice and support to other survivors and to call out the way that our culture fails to support survivors or hold abusers accountable.
What are your hobbies?
For most of us, music is our biggest hobby! But we also enjoy many typical queer activities like thrifting, dungeons and dragons, hiking, plant shopping, and drinking coffee!
What do you do aside from this profession?
Well, the goal is to make music our profession and make anything else we do a hobby!
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Stay spooky ✌🏻🖤💀