Evan Mast and Mike Stroud first met as students at Skidmore College, but they did not work together until 2001, when they recorded several songs under the name “Cherry”. Their 2004 debut, Ratatat, was written and recorded in Mast’s Crown Heights, Brooklyn apartment on his laptop. The album is entirely instrumental with the exception of vocal excerpts at the beginning and end of select tracks.
The group debuted by releasing the single “Seventeen Years” on Mast’s and his brother Eric’s (E*Rock) record label Audio Dregs in the US and Rex Records in the UK. They then signed for XL Recordings, releasing their debut album and the single “Germany to Germany”. Ratatat occasionally remixed tracks by other artists for collected release on Ratatat Remixes Vol. 1 (which garnered the attention of Rolling Stone), as well as the later second volume, both of which were self-released in co-operation with Audio Dregs.
Both musicians have had experience with other projects, such as Mast’s E*vax and King Pang and Stroud’s stage work with Dashboard Confessional. Stroud has also recorded with Ben Kweller on On My Way. Ratatat has toured with bands such as Björk, Daft Punk, Mouse on Mars, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, CSS, The Faint, Super Furry Animals, Clinic, Panther, and The Killers. In 2010, they supported Vampire Weekend on their UK Tour.