Bigger Than Us: Q&A With White Lies

Published on January 30th, 2011 in: All You Need Is Now, Current Faves, Issues, Music, Q&A |

By Jim R. Clark

If you haven’t listened to White Lies’ debut album, To Lose My Life yet, well then, what are you waiting for? Now is the time. Their new album, Ritual, was released on January 18. Much like reading chapter two in a great novel, you won’t want to forge ahead without reading chapter one first.

As you may know from reading my previous articles, I’m an avid fan of the ’80s electronic sound, so I’m excited. Personally I’m still hoping for a cover of Alphaville’s 1985 song, “A Victory Of Love,” but I think that may be asking too much. (For some reason, I’m convinced that this song would make for an awe inspiring show stopper if given the White Lies treatment, but then again, that’s just me.)

White Lies just completed a few dates in the US and North America (sadly, their NY show was canceled due to a snowstorm) and has scheduled a British tour in February to promote Ritual, so if you’re reading this in Britain, then get up and buy some tickets. And if, like me, you’re not in Britain, try to catch them on Later . . . with Jools Holland reruns on BBC America.

The band took some time out from their busy touring schedule to answer a few of my burning questions and shed some light upon their dark and mysterious nature, hinting at the more electronic sound for their second album.

BM white lies1

Popshifter: Artistically, what direction has your upcoming album taken?

White Lies: It’s a lot less Romantic. If we speaking in terms of art. I would say lyrically it is abstract realism! Each of the songs takes different twists and turns which are all driven by our worryingly large library of music, collected over the last two years. Without a doubt, an interest in electronic music has played a key role in contracting songs like “Turn The Bells” and “Holy Ghost,” but equally I think a respect for the truly great song-writers of our time like Neil Young and Tom Waits helped bring songs like “Come Down” into fruition. I am very happy with the exploration you can hear on the record, but already I feel seeds sowing for what may or may not come next.

Popshifter: Was it difficult to get your band started commercially since your rock-oriented sound is so different from much of today’s popular music (trivial dance-rap and folksy singer/songwriters)?

White Lies: That depends how you look at it. It’s almost like we’re in the slower elevator, but the faster one is being weighed down by more people. So in the long run, we end up at the top first. Realistically, that is a bullshit analogy. We have been eclipsed by the beautiful and talented women that will always leave men on the floor. However, we are doing our own thing and we care about it. The public have seen that, liked it, and spoken. That has left us with a number one album and charming and dedicated fans all over the world. We are still working. And we will keep working. But for now, my belly is full.

Popshifter: There seems to be an enormous amount of discontent with the young people in Britain right now. Do you have any thoughts about the rioting and the new Conservative government?

White Lies: Yes I do, but I would not like to impose my personal political beliefs on others. I didn’t go to university and so have a different relationship to the issues that are causing a stir. However, on a fundamental level, I strongly disapprove of violent rioting.

Popshifter: Have there been traumas in your life that inspire your lyrics or are they more conceptual? (for example: Edward Gorey books)

White Lies: Trauma is a strong word. I don’t think it is a common feeling as the human spirit is strong and often heals very quickly after devastating emotional wounds might be inflicted. I don’t profess to be any happier or sadder than anyone else. I am just very interested in people and why we feel the way we do.

Popshifter: Here in the US, White Lies has received an enormous degree of fame from the association with The Vampire Diaries TV series as everything vampire-related is madly popular amongst American teenagers. Was the success of this television tie-in surprising?

White Lies: I suppose it is hard to gauge with those kind of things, what will and won’t be beneficial. In that situation, our music is begin used to inform and heighten the mood of a scene. I am down with that for sure. It is when the music is being used as a persuasive tool to sell something that I get nervous and defensive.

Popshifter: Has fame changed you at all or would you say that you are still pretty much the same people?

White Lies: I don’t think we feel famous at all. I certainly don’t anyways. I have not noticed any differences in my band-mates particularly but perhaps a full physical examination is needed. I will report back as soon as possible.

Popshifter: What interests you in terms of hobbies, books, or history?

White Lies: I love film. I find it totally magical and awe inspiring sometimes. I also like language and find communication very interesting. I enjoy walking and swimming in the ocean.

White Lies play Cambridge’s The Junction on February 4 and UEA in Norwich on February 6. For tour dates, merchandise, and more please check out the band’s website.

One Response to “Bigger Than Us: Q&A With White Lies”

  1. Popshifter » The Power & The Glory: White Lies Live:
    February 2nd, 2011 at 10:16 am

    […] out our Q&A with White Lies in the January/February issue of Popshifter. For more on the band, visit their […]

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