In The Middle with WHITE @ Y Not
You played over at the Quarry earlier, how was that for you?
It was amazing! The reaction from the audience was totally brilliant. We played Y Not Festival last year on the same stage a bit earlier and last year we had no idea what to expect and had a brilliant reaction so it was great to come back and get an even better one this time.
There were a lot of people dancing at the front, is that something you aim to achieve from your gigs?
Yeah, we aim to encourage that even if it involves shouting at them until they do it! It was great, there was lots of dancing and lots of people who seemed to know the words so that was helpful for me!
I was thinking during your set how hard it would be to define your music by just one genre. Which do you take inspiration from?
Christian gangster rap. No – I listen to a lot of post-punk music, a bit of electro, a bit of rock. A bit of all of these things. We like to throw everything in the mix.
Would you say that the audience reaction has helped you decide which direction to go in?
To an extent yeah. We write songs knowing they’re going to have a life on the live circuit first. We’re writing them so they’re exciting and immediate, so it’s good when you see that a song takes on its own life when playing it live. Even with ‘Future Pleasures’ which was the first song we ever released, that just grew arms and legs when we started playing it live and it’s now the one that gets everyone going at the end. It’s good, it kind of surprises you sometimes what songs turn into when you play them live and it does help you to decide. The one we’re putting out next has never been played live so go figure!
You played songs from your next EP today, was that a similar thing?
One of the songs we put on the EP is called ‘Private Lies/Lives’ which is one of the first ones we wrote and another is one we’re releasing called ‘I Liked You Better When You Needed Me’ which is probably the most recent one we wrote so there’s quite a long time span. We just sat down and worked out which songs worked well together and which songs we liked and it seems to fit together pretty well.
How have the other festivals and dates been?
We just came back from playing mainland Europe and we played a couple of festivals in The Netherlands which was great. It was really good fun. We played one called Metropolis in Rotterdam and it was just ridiculous. The tent was absolutely packed, people were dancing like maniacs and we were throwing balloons into the crowd. It was kind of like the show today, there was a similar kind of atmosphere but just in The Netherlands.
How do the crowds vary abroad?
We’ve been really lucky so far, whenever we play gigs abroad it’s always been really great crowds. We get good crowds here as well but it just constantly surprises me as it’s a word of mouth thing if you go abroad. I’m gobsmacked that anyone’s there at all still.
Do you change your setlists at all if there’s more of a festival crowd or more your own fans?
Not really, it’s just what we feel like playing to be honest. The three songs that people know!
You’ve got the EP coming out, is there a plan for afterwards?
We’ve always got plans but obviously I can’t say now! We’ve got a few things in mind so we’re going to release this EP and we’ve got a couple of ways things could go after that. We’re certainly holding off any album chat for a while because we’re quite enjoying just putting songs out and putting EPs out and we don’t feel any pressure to put an album out yet. Lots of gigs and lots of releases hopefully!
Are there any plans for a tour anytime soon?
I think we’re looking to do some stuff when we release the EP. That’s coming out in Autumn so hopefully yeah we’d love to come back here. We’ve had loads of really good gigs in Nottingham at the Bodega which is quite nearby so we’d love to play there again. It seems to have gone down well in certain parts of England which is great and this is one of them.
Tell me about Scotland!
Glasgow’s getting really exciting at the moment. I’m probably the wrong person to sell it as Hamish is always talking about it and getting involved with quite a few of the younger bands coming out of there as well. There’s a lot of good music coming out of Glasgow right now. We’re doing a gig at the O2 ABC which is a big venue, co-headlining with Baby Strange, so that’s going to be amazing. There’s a couple of other bands playing called The Cut and The Ninth Wave who are also bands that we really love that are from Glasgow.
We were recommended them by Baby Strange earlier, as well as yourselves!
Baby Strange are alright… nah they’re great! We toured with them back in May and it was really fun to watch each others’ shows every night and pick up on what they’re doing.
Do you learn from the other bands that you watch?
I think so, it was really good to see them doing the same thing every night then them see us doing the same thing every night.
One day you’ll just be the same band! You can call yourself a supergroup?
Strange White Baby. There you go! Brilliant.
photo: Martin D Barker