Are you living your dreams? Ratchet and Sukkew are living theirs. Together they're Deviant, a married Juggalo rap duo from a small town in Southern Mississippi. On Wed., Oct. 12 at Southport Hall, they're opening for horrorcore rap legends Twiztid, a huge opportunity for a couple who only this year made the jump from fans to musicians.
After stumbling on Deviant's first music video, Lurkin', I tracked the power couple down for a conversation about their upcoming show, police harassment of Juggalos and how wedded bliss mixes creatively with their lyrical themes of dismemberment, maiming, and torture - the gruesome tropes comprising the rap subgenre known as horrorcore.
[jump] How did y'all get started making music?
RATCHET: I've been rapping since I was about 13 years old, just kinda goofing off and playing with it for years. When I met Sukkew and we got married, she knew I was wanting to do this as a career...
SUKKEW: I loved rap too, everything about Insane Clown Posse and Twiztid. We love the same music, and we just kinda went for it.
RATCHET: Yeah, we started making music together. What, seven months ago? And it's a part of our lives now - it's something we do every day, just sit down and record, rehearse and come up with new stuff.
Especially for such a DIY project, the sound production is sophisticated- what's your recording and mixing process like?
RATCHET: Right now we don't have a steady producer as far as the composition of the instrumentals goes, so we're leasing from different producers around the country that we find on the internet. We record everything ourselves in our own home studio, then we send it to Slick Ross, a buddy of ours online I've known for years. He does the engineering, the mixing and the mastering, and sends it back to us.
Along in with lots of massacre and mayhem, you also refer in your lyrics to being in love, the fact you're married and how much you enjoy having sex with each other. As a listener, I find it intensely romantic. Does the fact you guys make such a cute couple undercut the horror aspect?
RATCHET: I feel like it gives our music its own unique twist - we're like Bonnie and Clyde.
SUKKEW: The Bonnie and Clyde of horrorcore.
RATCHET: It's like, sure we're husband and wife, but that just makes it more sadistic: if I don't catch ya, she will! There's two of us! But we also like to incorporate our relationship and our deep love for one another because that's what being a Juggalo is about, it's about love and acceptance. And you see, a lot of Juggalos deal with depression and loneliness and stuff, so this can give them hope at finding their own partner.
SUKKEW: It also gives us more to talk about in our songs. Being married gives us a different variety of subjects to address.
RATCHET: We're also for the Juggalos who have their Juggalettes, and the Juggalettes who have their Juggalos, but they haven't had a banger like that to represent their marriage and their love and shit -- because there's - as far as we've looked, there's no other married couples in horrorcore.
With regard to Juggalos dealing with depression, I was struck by Sukkew's verse in 'Voices' where you talk about being too poor to get access to mental health resources. That's a big deal for my friends in New Orleans, and I think a widespread condition under capitalism. Is there a tension between those aspects of your music- the fucked-up fantasies where you're dismembering and cannibalizing people, and then very recognizable day-to-day type struggles?
RATCHET: Well that's the thing - that fantasy of horror and killing and blood and guts: that is our health assistance.
SUKKEW: I've always fantasized about cannibalism.
RATCHET: You know, so we couldn't afford the healthcare we needed, we can release that through horror movies and gory, bloody music. Some us sit around and listen to it our whole lives, and some take it further and try to create our own music, to pay back to the Juggalo community who helped us to make it through some tough, depressing really dark times.
You mentioned that Twiztid is an musical act you look up to. What's it feel like to be opening for them?
SUKKEW: I was in shock. When I found out I was like: should I show Ratchet or should I keep it a secret? No, I gotta tell him.
RATCHET: It's definitely a dream come true. I was telling my wife the other day, I remember being 13 - it feels like yesterday - my grandpa bought tickets for me and my buddy Twitch to go see Twiztid in New Orleans, but then [Hurricane] Katrina hit and ruined that for us... and now I'm getting the opportunity to see them in New Orleans, and we're opening for them! It's crazy.
How'd it happen? Have you communicated with the guys in Twiztid or met them?
RATCHET: We don't know them personally. We went to the show in Biloxi last time they were there, and got a few seconds' handshake with them, got to say 'Hey,' but that's as far as it's been. What happened was we posted a link to our music on the venue's Facebook page, so other Juggalos from the area could check us out- just in hopes we'd gain a couple more fans, a couple more Juggalos from the area to jam with- and the venue actually ended up hitting us up and asking if we wanted to open for Twiztid!
Y'all are in Petal, Mississippi. I've been to pro wrestling shows in Petal - it's not a big place. How is it being a Juggalo there?
RATCHET: (sighs) Oh man. Middle school was - that was a trend-setting stage for me. There were no other Juggalos but my buddy Tavis.
SUKKEW: The other day we had our face paint on driving around and the cops pulled us over. They told us they'd gotten like 50 reports of clowns driving around in a blue and pink Volkswagen Beetle. Apparently we scared the shit out of the whole town.
That hadn't occurred to me - all this recent anti-clown news must make it even harder to be a Juggalo, on top of the legal discrimination, the gang hysteria.
RATCHET: Dude, it definitely has - and this is such a small town too. As far as the police, I've had a couple friends [where] the cops have snatched their Hatchet Man chains off their rear-view mirrors. A couple years ago my friends had their ICP shirts taken off and confiscated by the police ... but they haven't really given us personally a lot of shit as far as being Juggalos.
SUKKEW: I got a big ol' Hatchet Girl on the back of my car, too.
RATCHET: Yeah, she has a two-foot Hatchet Girl on the back window of her car, and they haven't said anything about it to us yet.
For readers that aren't familiar with the horrorcore genre or your music specifically, what can they expect from this show?
RATCHET: It's music if you're into the darker side of life - blood, guts, horror.
SUKKEW: And good lyricism!
RATCHET: Lyricism, honesty, realness ... and of course, you'd have to want to associate yourself with Juggalos because there's no filter in that social setting. But there's no drama, no bullshit.
SUKKEW: No lies.
RATCHET: It's just family love. Even if you've never been to an event like this, you show up to a Twiztid show or an Insane Clown Posse show and it's nothing but love from the gate. You haven't lived until you've seen a horrorcore show.
SUKKEW: If it's your first time, it definitely won't be your last time going.
When I initially tried to find y'all on Facebook, some weenie-looking screamo band named "Deviant" turned up instead. For the sake of search engine optimization, have you considered murdering them with hatchets?
RATCHET: You know, maybe we should. Just search out every other band of whatever genre called Deviant and just chop them to pieces ... and then blame it on the Gambit!
No, no. I retract the suggestion.
RATCHET: Too late. We're easily influenced! It's gonna be y'all's fault.
Aw jeez. Well, in the meantime, congratulations on the show -- I hope it goes well. And I really respect the work you've done to make your dreams happen. I think it's an inspiring story.
RATCHET: Whoop Whoop! Much clown love, ninja!