Ratatat may have taken four years between albums, but the electronic rock duo from Brooklyn was anything but idle.
In fact, the group's Mike Stroud says that he and musical partner Evan Mast "ended up scrapping 50 songs" on the way to making their latest release, "Magnifique," which came out during mid-July.
"We're always kinda hard on ourselves," Stroud, 35, says by phone from Montreal. "If the song didn't feel really amazing, we would have to cut it. When It's your fifth album you don't want to make another album jsut to make one. You want it to matter."
Stroud and Mast started working on "Magnifique" in 2011 and one song, "Pricks of Brightness," remains from the early days. And Stroud acknowledges that along the way the duo had to fight off moments of despair as they tried to find more material that met their standards.
"If you have a few bad says in a row where you're just not coming up with ideas, you can't help but think you're never gonna have a good idea again," he says with a laugh. "That happens tons of times. The song 'Abrasive' on the record, we ran that song into the ground, like 20 different times, before we finished it. But we felt like it had too much potential.
"That's part of the process is struggling. I think if the whole thing came easy...well, that would be great. Then we'd make an album every week. But for us there's always a lot of struggling. it's always been part of the process."
One thing Ratatat did achieve, however, was bringing its music back to its roots on "Magnifique" after taking a more experimental route on its last couple of albums. "We wanted the album to be about guitar," Stroud says. "That's what we're good at. The first two records were all guitar, and then we got a little sidetracked, a little too heavy into production and lost track of just writing songs.
"So we wanted ('Magnifique') to be simple, memorable songs that were all guitar-based and be really fun to play live. Sometimes I still felt a lot of pressure to make all those sounds, still, but I think it worked out in the end."
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