📸 Photos by Dena Denny
Toilet Rats is a one-person operation conceived, performed, and maintained by Tommy Ratz, an elusive character who allegedly operates out of a small studio in the sewers beneath Minneapolis, MN where he is surrounded by synthesizers, guitars, and fast food wrappers. Unable to get internet or television signals in the sewer, Ratz collects discarded VHS tapes, audio cassettes, and discarded brochures, which inform his sense of reality and worldview. As a result, he is regularly expectant of national threats that have long passed, and wildly behind on trends and cultural norms. His thought process is therefore not unlike flipping through daytime television channels circa 1983. Undoubtedly, he would use the wrong fork while dining with a visiting monarch. Because he listens to discarded cassette tapes to satiate his musical cravings, Toilet Rats music influences and output is an amalgamation of synth pop, thrash metal, and spaghetti western soundtracks.
In reality, Tommy Ratz is a pseudonym for Thomas Rehbein, who has played with Minneapolis bands Naive Sense, Farewell Continental, Robosapien, and Small Towns Burn A Little Slower and others. He has also produced recordings for artists such as Justin Courtney Pierre (of Motion City Soundtrack), Party House, and Zaq Baker, to name a few.