Interview: White Arrows
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:40:32
White Arrows Videos
White Arrows really hit the mark on their second full-length album In Bardo. Fusing elements like psychedelic textures, danceable and rhythmic guitars, and Mickey Church’s vivid and vibrant lyricism, it immediately stands out within the current rock landscape. You might get dancing, or you might start thinking once this comes on, and that’s pretty magical.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Mickey Church of White Arrows talks In Bardo (Out September 16th) and more.
What's your take on In Bardo as a whole? It feels like there's a distinct vision from beginning to end.
It sort of just fell into place. How you put it is exactly how I feel about it. I feel like this is a debut more than anything. I'm proud of the first album, but we recorded it in between tours. It'd be two weeks home after being gone for six weeks. Then, we'd be gone for a month. We'd record for a week, be gone for two weeks, and come back. It wasn't as much of a time capsule of one point in time as this record is. It encapsulates a feeling and a vibe. Looking back on it after having completed it, there are definitely thematic tones throughout the record, which make it cohesive. Subconsciously, the same things were on my mind over the course of recording the album as it would be when you are able to sit down and write without any other distractions in your life at the point. Everything seemed to be about sex, religion, and death. That's not necessarily in a bleak way. It's the lines of beginning and ending ceasing to exist.
You capture different emotions and feelings, but they fit together.
We didn't have distractions touring or have to put together songs over the course of two years or two-and-a-half years of being in a band. We got done with a lot of touring, were able to come home, sit down, and make an album. We also had a producer on this record and had the chance to work out of a real studio as opposed to doing it at home. It definitely had more direction.
What are the stories behind "God Alert pt 1" and "God Alert pt 2"?
It's cool you asked about those! I wasn't sure what direction White Arrows was going to go in after the first record. It was open-ended as to which direction it could go. When I got home from all of the extensive touring from the first cycle and before that, I had no inclination of what I was going to make. I was just going to write and not have a direction. If certain things were too "something" for White Arrows, I would use them for something else or just keep making it. The point was to come back and create. It's like I had bottled up on tour because I wasn't able to write and record. Those were part of the first few songs I came home and wrote. I was originally going to use them for a side project. While we were making the record, we were looking for some more material. Andrew [Naeve] who I usually write songs with and the producer both really liked them so we ended up using them on the album.
Where were you coming from lyrically? Does it tie into the God theme you mentioned?
Subconsciously, it was always prevalent even if it's not myself talking about it. Just walking around and seeing churches or hearing people talking, those topics end up being discussed in everyday life. They're apparent that way. I was doing it off-the-cuff. "A God Alert, I'm always on my own" was the first line that triggered the lyrics for the rest of the song. I was doing it into the microphone and we recorded it. A lot of it was gibberish, but that was the one line that stuck.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
There isn't too much forethought into how or what is going to happen or how I want it to be carried out. In terms of the kind of music I'm inspired by, that's who I like listening to. By nature, I tend to do the same type of thing. The visual experience is important to us as a whole. In our live act, we focus as much on the visual elements as we do on the audio elements. We think it should it appeal to all of your senses. It should be an aural and visual overload.
If you were to compare the album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
That's a good question. I like it! I love movies and how they go together with music. It wouldn't be a specific movie that exists, but maybe if Apocalypse Now was directed by Werner Herzog.
What’s your favorite White Arrows song?