I had the chance to chat with bassist/backing vocals Charles Cave from the black-clad British band, White Lies.Despite a bout of food poisoning before their Seattle show, they promised they’d be in tiptop shape for the Vancouver show and they kept that promise. The show was amazing. Check out DT’s Friendly Fires & White Lies Rock Vancouver for a review and photos.
You guys have been around for a while but mostly known out of Europe. How has it been breaking onto the scene in North America?
It is very exciting. It’s good for us because we’re really driven people. We love a good challenge and its very challenging trying to reach people from such a huge country. Every city is practically a different country in terms of the distances, like in Europe. It’s really cool for us. It’s very exciting to have the opportunity of really trying to win over people but at the same time it’s obviously very daunting and it’s become very apparent recently how much time and effort you have to spend out in the United States to really make any kind of ground, mainly because of the size. California itself is bigger than the United Kingdom. So that kind of puts it into perspective really. We’re having a great time. I think on a whole the audiences in the States are a lot more willing to give you a chance and give you the benefit of the doubt, your kind of innocent until proven guilty whereas in the U.K. it’s a lot more judgmental I find.People are ready to scrutinize you before they’ve given you a chance.
There’s been a lot of chatter in the press regarding the bands transition from Fear of Flying to White Lies. How are people taking it because it seems like they’re not sure what to think about it?
That band (Fear of Flying) was a real hobby for us. We really didn’t have much of a following. To 99.9 % of people who are into White Lies, they’ve never heard of our previous band. We were in lots of different bands, wasn’t just Fear of Flying, that’s kind of what we did in school. It’s funny, you guys out here reading U.K. Press, it kind of distorts it. Honestly, no one ever wrote about Fear of Flying when we were in that band, they’ve only written about it since we’ve been White Lies.
It’s good to clarify that because a lot of people who are reading these things will get the wrong impression. I mean even myself, I was reading these websites to get some background information and thinking, people are commenting a lot about this so I wonder why they would transition from Fear of Flying to White Lies if they had such a big following.
They think it must have been a big deal or something but genuinely it was a high school band. We played band nights at school and we did one tour in the U.K. with another band. It was very much an adolescent kind of thing. It’s been very much distorted by the U.K. press. They’re almost kind of trying to out-knowledge each other.
A lot of people seem to find your music morose or dark. Where does that darkness come from?
I don’t really find it like that. I think a lot of it is out of context. People really focus on the lyrics and that sort of thing and certainly the lyrics have dark elements to them but when they’re combined with the uplifting chord progressions in the music and instrumentation its really something very different. It’s strange. From the stage, looking at the faces in the crowd, none of them look at all depressed by what we’re doing. It’s very much of a euphoric kind of thing. There are elements of our music which are little bit dark but its mainly introspective, its not so much about obsessing with the negative, it’s about pointing out that the negative is there.
And that’s the whole point of the bands name, White Lies.
We’re certainly all quite emotional people and that obviously comes across in the music, but I don’t think in a negative way. We like to think a lot about things and that’s why the music is very thoughtful and provokes a lot of thought.
People will always have an opinion right?
That’s what I’ve always likes about art and music.It makes you think, well some of it does, and that’s my personal taste.That’s the way I like to express myself and that’s the kind of art I like to make and maybe it’s just not for everyone.
How has it been touring with Friendly Fires? They seem much more high energy than you guys. Everyone seems to be comparing you guys as polar opposites.
They’re very dance orientated, they’re very much about a party atmosphere. We get a long with them really well but our music is completely different. It’s a little bit hard for us because Friendly Fires are all about dancing; they want everyone to dance in the same way they dance if they were in a club kind of thing and with us, our music is not about that at all. If Friendly Fires play before us one night and everyone gets involved in dancing and then when we come on afterwards its kind of like they expect they’re going to do the same thing with us but they’re not, it’s not that kind of music. It’s a little bit of a strangely matched bill, but at the end of the day we love them as people so its great to be on tour with people that you like but yes, it is a mixed bill for the tour. I think we each have our good shows and bad shows so that’s just the way it is but it can be a little bit frustrating for us to feel as though we’re almost expected to perform in a similar way to them because that’s just not how we do it.
What’s ahead for White Lies?
We’re in America for two or three more weeks. Then we fly to Japan and then we’re doing a headline tour in the U.K. in May. We’ll be back in the States in the fall. To be honest, in short, it’s just touring, touring, touring until Christmas. We’re going to Australia, which is really exciting for us just because it’s just so far away; it feels like you’re going into a completely different world. We’re looking forward to coming back to the States and picking up some other Canadian and American festivals as well.
You guys seem like you’re going to be on the road for a while, how will that affect the writing process?
We don’t write on the road. It’s stressful but I think when it comes to writing again, we’ll have a lot to write about. We’re experiencing so much at quite a young age. When we talk to our friends back home who are in university and you kind of say ‘what have you been up to the last couple of months?’ they say they’ve been sitting at home writing essays and going out to the pub every night and we’ve been traveling the world, literally traveling everywhere there is in the world. It’s an amazing gift and opportunity and we never take it for granted. We do have to work hard but there are great rewards as well.
Seems like what you guys do requires a lot of energy!
It does, but you get used to it and get into the swing of it. After awhile you don’t need as much sleep and rest as you would normally but then when you have a week off, you’ll get home and you’ll suddenly feel so tired like everything catches up with you and you just want to sleep for a week.
Well I hope you guys feel better and that the food poisoning makes an early exit. Good luck at your next show! I look forward to seeing you guys live!