Nascent Glasgow five-piece White have set tongues wagging with their hard-hitting brand of electro rock. Having impressed with a series of singles in 2015, they are now working on a debut album for release later this year. Lead singer Leo Condie talks to Big Issue North ahead of a live show at Soup Kitchen, Manchester, 26 Feb.
Your singles have generated a lot of industry support. Do you feel added pressure on your debut album because of this?
The support has been great, and drives us to try weirder and wilder things in the studio. We put ourselves under a bit of healthy pressure because it gets the adrenaline up, ?just to keep us on our glitter-clad toes. We’ve been belting out new songs in the live set whenever they’re ready and the reactions have been fantastic – when you can get ?a full room shaking and jumping to a tune they’ve never heard in their life, it’s a good sign. Or you’ve just got the sub-bass up reeeally loud. In our case, we hope it’s? both…
Will the album be reflective of what we’ve heard so far?
We hope you’ll have a few expectations, just so we can confound them. We’ve got a seven-minute Scott Walker-with-post-punk-guitars ballad, an unhinged screaming chorus in one song, ?various pots and pans getting battered in another. The challenge of building up an album is completely different from the rush of a three-minute pop song and it’s great fun throwing?everyone’s ideas into the mixer and seeing what happens. That said, we have stuck to our mission statement – big songs with the power of dance music – and we’ll make sure plenty of that ?runs through the album.
Can you tell us about the formation of White from your previous roles in bands Kassidy and The Low Miffs and how your sound has evolved since those incarnations?
I was looking for new sounds and collaborators following the Miffs and was put in touch with Hamish, our guitarist, who was looking for vocalists for a project that was ?channelling Iggy Pop, Richard Hell and Nick Cave. We hit it off too well to waste it on one song, so we got Lewis, Kirstin and Chris involved, pooled all the ?sounds we’d been exploring individually, had our brains electrified at some incredible gigs – especially watching Arcade Fire at the Barrowlands – and shut ourselves away ?until we could emerge, like a butterfly/alien spaceship, with songs, moves and a band name…
Do songwriting responsibilities fall on one member in particular or is it a collaborative process?
Everyone pitches in. There are always five or six songs flying about at once and we’ll often find a chorus ends up in another song, or a four-note melody from three years ago bunks up with a chord sequence?that is barely two hours old. Then I open up my mind and wait for the lyrics to happen.
You’ve cited David Bowie as an inspiration – will you be watching Tony Visconti’s keynote speech when you visit South by Southwest this year?
We’d love to – he’s probably my favourite producer of all time and I love how open he is about his production techniques and secrets. The sound of the Bowie albums he produced –?especially Low and Heroes – is the sound of the universe to me, and I’ve spent more time visualising the ballroom at Hansa Tonstudio than is healthy or wise.