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Here it is sharmootahs! This week Free Press Podcast discusses being a jaded music fan, Jerry Eversole’s resignation, picking cocaine off the floor at Numbers, and we interview Brent Tipton of Dull Knife Records.

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White Light / White Heat / White Hills

Submitted by Commandrea on March 15, 2011 – 1:00 amNo Comment

Leon casino, by Ramon LP4

White Hills - Photo By Johnny O

Heavy Psych…Space Rock…call it what you want. We’re talkin’ trippy fucked-up music that messes with your very mind or, as James of Football Etc. put it to me a month ago, music that “feels like you’re on drugs just by listening to it.” That’s the kind of shit I’m talking about when you take a tab of White Hills’ self-titled album (on Thrill Jockey). It’s music that lies somewhere between Hawkwind and Amun Duul with vast landscapes of fuzzed out guitar from mastermind Dave W. and drills though your subconscious. These New Yorkers will bring their mindfuck to the Continental Club tonight and, in anticipation of the show, we contacted Dave W. to ask him a few questions.

FPH - You guys pull a lot from Krautrock, Prog, and Psych on the new album. What draws you to those genres and what influenced your sound the most?

Dave W. - I’m into music that makes you fly…takes you on a trip so to speak. All those genres you speak of do that, but they aren’t the only types of music that can do that. Many things influence the music that White Hills makes. Art in general has a huge influence on our music. I look at song writing in a similar way to painting. The affect of layering different hues to create a entire piece. The sound we make is constructed in that way. Each instrument is a layer within the whole creating a specific space that draws the listener into it and elicits a reaction be it positive or negative.

FPH - You worked with Kid Millions of Oneida on the new album. How did that influence the music writing, the recording, and the performances?

Dave W. - Playing with Kid has had a huge influence on White Hills. We went from very constructed songs to more open, free flowing and loose songs when Kid came aboard. This has given Ego and myself the opportunity to stretch out our playing in ways that we were not doing before.

Kid did not have much time to rehearse before we recorded the album which was not an issue for us. When we entered the studio we just let it all ride. We didn’t worry about the technical aspects of the songs but rather the overall feeling of each song. We did not immediately listen back to the tracks after recording them. If all of us felt the feel of the track was good we would just move on.

FPH - Songs like “Dead” rely on a driving pulsing riff. I know people who find that boring but, when it’s done right, it can be gripping. When you have that solo in that same song where it sounds like someone messing with the knobs on an analog delay it just rips. I have my theory as to why this kind of thing works so well but I’m kind of curious as to why you think this works so well?

Dave W. - I’m one of those people that loves a driving pulsating riff. People have it in their mind that a song has to be a certain way…verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, end…for example. This might work for some but it’s not for me. Monotonous music speaks to me more than straight up song based music. It creates a pulse…like the pulse of the earth. It’s more primal and guttural. For me, a song like DEAD draws the listener into itself more than a typical “pop” song because it’s monotonous. Whether the listener likes it or not they will connect with the pulse of it and that will elicit some kind of emotion within themself. The listener becomes part of the heart beat to the song. You fly within it and become part of it verses just passively listening to it as if it is background noise.

FPH - Your guitar playing is really loose and all over the place. Like on “Polvere Di Stelle” your solo at the end is just this inspiring crazy mess of wah hovering just below the horizon. How do you approach the instrument? Would you call yourself a “feel” player or a “technical” player? Which do you prefer and why?

Dave W. - I’m definitely a feel player. I taught myself how to play the instrument so I don’t have a technical background. I look at the guitar and the pedals I use as brushes and paint. I do specific things with them to create a feeling within each song at specific moments, in the same way that an artist will use a specific brush and color within their creation.

I feel that I speak through the guitar. At times my playing will evoke the beauty and happiness within me while at other times it will scream of my pain and anger. Personally I prefer feel players. Anyone can become a technical player, but not all technical players can translate their emotion through their playing. People like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, or Yngwie Malmsteen do nothing for me. Technically they are all great players but their music does not speak to me in the way that guitarists like Keith Levene, Paul Rudolf, or Fast Eddie Clark do. It’s all subjective.

FPH - You guys said you wanted to let things fly on this album and focus more on capturing the emotion of playing. Can you elaborate on what your intent was, what inspired it, and how well you think you succeeded?

Dave W. - The tracks on our previous albums were very rehearsed before entering the studio. There was a notion of what the song was supposed to sound like. Personally I don’t like working that way, but our drummer at the time owned the studio we recorded in and was very picky about everything. I think this got in the way of letting the songs be. When you focus on things being precise you will never be satisfied with your creation because you will always think that it could have been better.

When we went into the studio to record this album I did not want to create the kind of atmosphere we had on the two previous albums. The recording sessions for the album were very relaxed which allowed us to play freely. All of us tried out things that we had never done before in certain songs, sometimes it worked sometimes it didn’t but that did not matter. We also did a lot of improvising in the studio some of which ended up becoming songs on the album. I wanted to create an album that truly captured that moment in time…mistakes and all. At that point in time I was listening to Amon Duul II’s “Yeti” and the Pink Fairies album “What A Bunch Of Sweeties”. Both of those albums are full of what a technical person would call mistakes, but that doesn’t matter because the emotion of the music transcends any and all mistakes in any song. More than any of our releases to date I think “WHITE HILLS” really captures what the band was about at that very moment.

Tuesday 15 March
White Hills with
Birds of Avalon and The Diamond Center
The Continental Club

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