Interview Exclusive: The Pale White

The Pale White

Words: Daniel Burton and Elena Katrina

THE PALE WHITEIt’s every band’s dream to release an album, no, probably just to know you are going to make one. So for the Pale White, who feel their journey to now has been “long”, it must be exhilarating in so many ways. Especially to do it at the hopeful end of a world-wide pandemic. 

Popped Music has followed The Pale White for some time now.  We’ve seen both the band itself and their sound grow tremendously. But for those who haven’t followed them up until now and may not be aware how they have got to where you are are now, what has been the story up to this point?
Jack joked it has been “long” before Adam elaborated “Well yeah, it feels like forever. But it also, you know one of them journeys that feels like its taken forever but it’s actually just a snapshot in time. Like, how have we gotten
here so fast as well in hindsight. I don’t know. It’s been emotional to say the least. It feels like you’ve been doing it forever. But the last year is the bit that’s gone super fast if I’m honest.”

Our man on interview duty is Dan and he got to wondering how it feels for these band members to finally be able to put their debut album out there into the world?
Adam: “Yeah I know it’s a weird one. Because we feel like we’ve been talking about it forever. I’m sure for the last three years, at least, on stage I’ve been saying like, ‘oh, our albums coming out soon’, but definitely not. I guess there’s just been a lot of natural delays. So it has been along time coming. So we planned on starting our album when we recorded Medicine in December 2018. So that was the sort of starts. And then we sort of changed our minds on the track-list after we released a few more singles and that was the first natural delay. And then obviously Covid kicked in which isn’t ideal. But, I guess it just feels like we’ve been talking about it forever and its so amazing to finally be here. You know, being a new band, and more on the independent side of things as well, it is hard to get to this position. As a new rock band as well, everyone constantly telling you that guitar music is dead. It isn’t exactly motivating! But yeah, I’m really happy and proud that we’re at this point.

There must have been a lot of, zoom calls (like this one!) to promote and even produce getting the album to this point?” Adam comments “Yeah, yeah, we’ve had a lot of interviews, and it’s weird. It all seems to come at once.” 

It’s at this point in the interview we lose a band member – not fully, he’s been in his car (not driving) but all of a sudden he’s gone, vamoosed, probably off on a drive somewhere.  We carry on regardless, with Dan wondering how the pandemic has affected the plans for the album. 

“Well, yeah. Ideally you want to be touring and growing, and you get that self-gratification when you’re returning to cities and playing bigger venues each time. Like you feel like you’re growing. So that’s been stunted this past year which has been an unusual experience considering we’re finally at the point we’ve been working towards for years. So yeah its been a weird one. But I must say, in other respects its definitely made me (Adam) feel more appreciative of the stuff that once its taken away from you. And its always the simple things that you don’t realise, like playing live and I guess it’s given us more of an opportunity to work on aspects that weren’t as strong as before, hadn’t. So like, we took it for granted that we were a live band and didn’t really concentrate on the social media and music videos, stuff like that. So I guess it’s took in a sort of different direction, and now as we come back round to live music we feel like we’ve got, I wouldn’t say we’ve got like the full package, but we’re certainly giving it a good go.”

Did this time then allow the band to focus on perfecting and fine tune the album?
“So basically, the past few years have been like a folder; a bunch of demos all about 40% finished, and then someone twists my arms saying a song needs finishing because we’re recording it next week. So I guess in that respect, the pandemic allowed me to have that time to truly concentrate on the songs that we thought were going to make the album and making them the best they could possibly be. Rather than maybe making a few bad errors because I couldn’t finish them on time, so is suppose I had the time to perfect them.” Jack concurred “Yeah, well yeah aha Before Adam chimed in with “Yeah its been a weird one. This past year we’ve barely played together. It’s really weird. Like, it’s been a different road for sure.”
Jack jumped back in with “We’ve had like a months worth of rehearsals in a year and a half or something.” “Theres all this like, one second you’re meant to be isolating, the next you’re allowed in
a bubble”, Adam continued. So it has been really difficult, and Tom is a good hour away from us, so all the logistics side of things has been a nightmare the past year. But we’re getting there. So I must say, in term of perfecting the album, I would say the extra time was a massive help and for me personally I got to concentrate on intricacies in the lyrics which I’ve never would usually have as much time to really delve into.”

pale white hmvThe opening track Infinite Pleasure really sets the scene and opens the album spectacularly. It really gives  that insight to what you are going to get over the next 40 minutes. What did the band want this track to do for the album?

 “If I’m being truly honest, we wanted it to sound as big as possible, Adam says. “Almost like a statement. We wanted peoples jaws to drop. I’m not going to lie, that was the effect we wanted and hopefully it does. We wanted people to be, like ‘this wasn’t what I was expecting’. In either the best or the worst way. I’m sure people aren’t used to us going into like drop C mode. So when that first chorus kicks in, it sort of creeps in with a cello at first, and I think a lot of people will be confused. But that’s sort of effect that we wanted with the album. We literally want to blow peoples socks off, one way or another, whether people love it or hate it. We wanted a marmite album, where people actually get or they don’t. And we wanted it to feel like a journey. It’s a bit of a romper stomper.” Jack “Yeah its very beasty.”
Adam: “Yeah it is, but more in a friendly way. I think Infinite Pleasure is a bit intense, but it’s
sort of meant to be that way, because like you said, it sets the scene for the whole album. It’s
got quite a strong concept. But that and Frank Sinatra we wanted as like bookends.”

Going back to what Adam briefly mentioned, The Pale White are a ‘rock band’, and have that big sound. Many new artists at the start of their career, that are under the ‘rock’ umbrella, tend to go full throttle with that rock sound, which, would be fair to say, The Pale White were like in the first few singles. As you see bands progressing and maturing, you see those big rock sounds become more choice and they can better decide when to unleash that power and it becomes more of a precious commodity, with much more deliberate use. A lot of new tracks on the album feel a lot more rhythmic and controlled, such as Take Your Time & Confession Box, which, have a completely different feel to the likes of Glue & Sonder

“So this is the thing. In the past, being a three piece, you naturally want to sound as loud as possible. So often, I would go to something melodic on the guitar. We’d often just fill it out with smashing cymbals. We wanted to be doing the whole Nirvana thing, and I don’t want to say we’re a lot poppier than Nirvana, because they’re basically just Beatles songs with fuzz pedals turned to 11. But yeah, I get what you’re saying because I think we used to rely on certain formulas. So, Glue for example, we could quite easily have made it like one of our other track Wisdom Tooth, with fuzz all the way up. But we thought we’d go more Grounds for Divorce-esque and we’d go with more snare drum and tambourine. And weirdly enough, it sounds much bigger for it having that space to work in.”

“We wanted to take the production to the next level, and I feel like those elements have brought something new.”

Dan agrees that  Glue doesn’t have that ‘perfect formula’, it mixes its structure up really effectively was that intentional?

 “That was defiantly a conscious choice. It could easily have been very samey. I only keep using that as an example, because that is one that does have a pretty mad structure and it has a totally different approach to what we could have done and it changes up the dynamics. But like, The Pixies are one of my favourite bands and they are some of the masters of, like, raining it in when it needs to be and then just smashing it out when it needs to as well.”

The Pale White - Gary Lambert

photo: Gary Lambert

That Dress was originally released around about four or five years ago now, as a demo. Listening to the new version, the intensity seems to have been dialled back a bit on some of the elements and it feels more structured. Where did this come from? Was this as a result of trying freshen it up or it is just from a maturing sound and bigger production?”

 “It’s one of those songs where we’ve continued to play live because people want to hear it, and we’re not one of these bands that are like ‘oh, we don’t play that anymore’. But I must admit, mentally we were getting to that point, like ‘we don’t like this song anymore’.” Adam shares with us. 

Some of the lyrics in the pre-chorus/chorus have been changed in the new version. Is there any particular reason for this?
 “I consciously kept the lyrics quite similar, although I had that one change in the chorus, but it
just felt a lot more immature”,  Adam explains. “And we felt that, if we’re going to put this on the album, then we should give it new legs, we should take it in and spruce it up. We thought that if we want to include this track, it has to be different, for our own sanity. Because if its on your debut album, then you’re going to be playing it for a while. But to be honest, I’m so glad we did, because me personally, I think it’s much better. From a production point, we wanted to give it a kind of Black Keys sort of element and sort of swagger to it. Yeah, I like it.”

“Like in the old version, the last chorus, we just give it the biggen and smash the cymbals in. But this time we were like, ‘no, let’s rain it back in’, and like you say, it is just maturing as a band, making conscious choices. As a songwriter I used to be a lot lazier back then, just go with the flow a bit.”

On the record there is Still No Taste. It seems like a reprise of Medicine, like The Amazons did with 25 on Future Dust. Did you feel like the once didn’t quite do it justice, or did you want to show another side or version to the track?

 “Well, the reason behind that is Medicine was the first track we recorded for the album, which weirdly enough about 3 years ago now. So yeah, it almost feels like the beginning of the journey of this album, and it would feel unusual not to include it in the album tracklist. As for the ‘reprise’ sort of thing, one of my favourite albums is Arcade Fire’s, The Suburbs, and they do that sort of thing on there and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. So yeah, I thought it would be nice before the album finale to bring in a bit more of a stripped back version. We do that when we do stripped back sets and stuff, and we always thought it sounded really nice, so yeah. I just think it complements it really nicely and it makes it feel more like that journey, that you’re coming to the end of the album.”

 “Band On The Run. Wings, Paul McCartney?” Adam goes on to say. ‘It’s one of the best albums ever. But it must be the seventh or eighth track, they return to every single track and it’s like a mashup medley. I love things like that. It’s what feels like it gives an album depth, and it’s that journey. That is exactly what we wanted this album to be; a deep listen.”

the pale white tourWe’ve seen that The Pale White have just put tickets on sale for your tour in December, what has the reception and response been to this?
“Much better than we thought! It’s been a while since anyone has been in a room with more than 5 people, so, I was expecting a lot of people to be scared and questioning restrictions but we felt normal for a second in announcing it. And it actually really surprised us and made us feel like we were actually playing a gig when we announced it. People were just so buzzed for it. And I almost had that feeling like when you walk out on stage and it’s just nice to have that again after so long. So yeah, there was a lot more of a buzz than I thought there would be.”

How confident are they that it’s going go ahead and what will it mean to them to finally get back onto the stage and playing again?
 Jack: “I think it must be able to in December! It must be alright by then.”
Adam: “Yeah, you’d like to think so. It’s going to be incredible. Especially the first gig back is
going to be our biggest show we’ve every played in our hometown, at Boilershop, and it’s just going to taste so sweet. Like, we’ve been planning on playing that venue for a while, and how much sweeter will it taste walking on stage after a year and a half. It’s just going to be insane. I’ve got a feeling the atmosphere is going to be electric.”

 What can people expect from the show?
 Adam: “Given it the big legs! I don’t know. I think it’s just going to be sheer emotion, it’s going to be emotional for everyone, especially if a lot of people returning to I’ve music for the first time, like us. It might be their first gig and I think emotions are going to be high. The prospect of playing live just doesn’t feel real anymore, so I can’t even begin to imagine the feeling when we walk out to like 1500 people in our hometown, it’s going to be amazing man.”

There’s a long wait until those shows in December, so what does the next eight months up to then and the year following that look like for the band at the moment and what can your fans expect?

Adam: “We’ve got a few festivals in the pipeline. It was a shame because last year we had the best run of festivals we’ve had so far. A lot of those have been cancelled, still not going ahead. We even had one in like Czech Republic with Green Day, yeah that was going to be so good. So yeah we’re still on some of those lineups but it’s unclear what’s going to happen. We’ve had a few more come in that we didn’t have last year, which haven’t been announced yet, so maybe. We have European tour penciled in for September, but I’m not sure if that’s going to be likely with travelling in general, never mind touring, and then you’ve got the addition of Brexit as well, so we’ve still got figure that out. 

“It’s like looking forward to Christmas. You know, when it’s Boxing Day and you’re like ‘oh for f— sake’. Like after Friday (album release day), which is Christmas Day, we’re going to have eight months before our tour, and then actual Christmas Day I guess.”

Are they going to be writing some more too soon?
Adam: “Yeah, so I’m already like half way into album two. Which, if I were to say anything like on now, it sounds a lot more like Infinite Please vibe.  It’s a lot darker, it’s taken another step into that, I guess, maturity. Like as a songwriter, it’s what I fell into in the last two years. Yeah, so it’s sounding quite deep, and a bit like that opening track. Hopefully we’ll be able to crack on with that soon. I was on a proper roll with writing, but then I’ve got caught in all of the album promotion stuff, which is very necessary. So then writers block kicks in for a few weeks but I’m sure it’ll be back.”

So then, an album release, a tour announcement, festivals here there and everywhere and half of album two already on the go, we’re excited to follow the journey as it goes on. 

Listen to Infinite Pleasure here:

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

    All articles written by Elena Katrina unless otherwise stated.

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