We had a chat with Barrington from Derby indie-rockers Whitemoor about their new album Pause And Effect, the importance of music videos, and the perils of drinking vodka at festivals…
How would you describe your music for people who don’t know you?
Anthemic indie rock, with thunderous drums, soaring vocals and big harmonies, as well as a few eighties synths thrown in for good measure!
You’ve just released your new album Pause And Effect – was it easy to write and record?
The writing of this record was extremely different from our past albums. We originally wrote this album for a very well-known US label who wanted to put out our third album off the back of the success of our first two. However, we’d already used up all of our material on our previous albums, so we began a six-month long writing spree. Spurred on by the interest of the US label, we wrote what we feel is our finest album to date. We made demos of the tracks and sent them over for them to hear, only to find that the A&R representative we had been dealing with was no longer involved with the label and had apparently disappeared off the face of the earth! Undeterred by this, we sent the demos off to a number of other labels, and we were offered the opportunity to record and release the record with the same indie label (Sound-Hub) who had released our previous albums. We set about recording Pause and Effect around eighteen months ago, and now here we are.
What’s your favourite song from the album?
Difficult question! I’m happy with all of the tracks on the new album, but if I had to pick a favourite I think I’d say HollyWood. It’s the opening track, and it’s by far the heaviest thing we’ve ever done, but it develops into something quite delicate by the end. You’ll see what I’m talking about when you hear it!
Any plans for a full UK tour?
We’ve got the album release show at The Victoria Inn in Derby on the 25th July, which we’re massively excited about. We’ll then be playing shows around the UK through the summer. The best way to keep up with our live dates (or to see if we’re playing near you) is to keep an eye on our Twitter or Facebook pages.
How do you think the songs from the new album will fit in with your older songs in the live set?
We’ve been gradually filtering the new stuff into the set. Our set is now pretty much full of tracks from the new album, with the exceptions of a few of our older singles (like High Lights, All I’ve Ever Known, Three Words and Remember Remember). I think we’re more comfortable with the generally heavier sound of the new album when we play it live.
What’s your favourite song to play live?
I really enjoy playing a track off the new album called Be the Last, as it’s got some big chunky guitar riffs in it and a face-melting solo!
Can you talk us through your songwriting process?
I write most of our tracks. I usually come up with some chord progressions, drum beats and bass lines, and I show them to the rest of the band. Everyone will put their own spin on things, and then Benny will take the track away and change the key about six times! More importantly, he’ll also add the vocal melody and the lyrics. We do occasionally write together, though – there’s a track called Masquerade on the new album that was just jammed out in the studio, which was fun.
Out of every song you’ve ever written, which is your favourite?
I think most bands will favour their new material when they’re asked this question, as it’s easy to get bored of playing a song year after year when your new material feels so fresh and vibrant. However, I’m still a big fan of our 2012 single High Lights. It’s a sure-fire crowd favourite at our live shows and it’s a good introduction to us as a band. If someone asks where they should start out with listening to us I’ll always tell them to check that song out first.
Out of every song ever recorded, which do you wish you’d written?
There are a lot of songs I wish I’d written! If I had to pick one, I’d maybe go for Night Swimming by REM. It’s just absolute melodic perfection, and although it’s stripped back to just vocals, strings and a piano it still manages to evoke a massive amount of emotion.
Who’s your ultimate musical icon?
I think that both myself and Benny are very much inspired by (and in awe of) Noel Gallagher, although from a guitarist’s point of view I’m inspired by the riffs and tones of Johnny Marr and Peter Buck.
How important do you think social media is for new and emerging bands?
They’re very important, as all social media platforms are full of people who will (potentially) listen to your music. I’d say rehearsing and getting decent recordings are something that they should do before putting themselves on a pedestal online, though – all social media is now completely and utterly over-saturated with bands and artists, so it’s important to make sure that they’re representing themselves to the best of their abilities. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself while you’re doing it – some bands can lose focus on just why they started playing music in their quest for ‘fame’. Remember why you’re doing it.
Do you think that music videos are still an important medium?
Absolutely. If you’re trying to reach more people with your music you should definitely invest in a decent video, as the majority of people want to see visuals when they’re exploring new music. Don’t let your mate do it on his iPhone – it’s not going to look any good and will do your band more harm than good.
What made you want to start making music in the first place?
I first picked up a guitar at school when I was around twelve, and I remember being completely blown away that I could just about play Come As You Are by Nirvana. From that moment I was completely hooked, and I quickly set about learning all of my favourite songs on guitar. I remember going into music shops with a piece of paper and a pen, looking through all the music books and scribbling down all the chords and guitar tablature before the shop assistant could see what I was doing! Those were the things you had to do back in the days before the Internet…
Have you got any strange stories from your time in the band?
We found two cases of vodka mistakenly placed in our rider at a festival a few years ago. That’s my last memory of that festival!
Describe yourself in three words?
Enjoying creating music.