White Noise Sound
Bill Cummings 18/01/2011
Cardiff/Swasea based shoegaze/kraut rising stars White Noise Sound release their debut album this week. The album was recorded by Cian from Super Furry Animals and Pete Kember (aka Sonic Boom) of Spaceman 3 and they've gigged with some of the biggest names in the scene- Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spiritualized, The Warlocks plus many more. Their self titled debut album takes its cues from the crunching sounds, sneering blues beat meets fuzz box bite of the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine on tracks like 'Sunset' and 'Blood.' Sitting them alongside more psychedelic moments of reflective sonic adventurism like the eastern vibe of 'Don't Wait for Me' and 'There Is No Tomorrow' that takes in haunted vocals, shimmering guitar motifs, and rippling horn sections. White Noise Sounds debut album is a testament to their craft and a towering achievement. We caught up with White Noise Sound on the eve of its release to get the low-down on their album, working with the legend that is Sonic Boom and Super Furry Cian, the Welsh gaze/psych scene and their plans for the future!
Why, White Noise Sound? Do you think that the name is almost a personification of your sound and how you like to hit people from the first note?
Adam - Exactly, the name encapsulates the agenda.
How did you meet?
Dan - We were always going to end up at the same place at some point in Swansea - we kinda gravitated towards each other I guess, some before others, but all in the end.
Adam - It was inevitable that we met.
I get the impression that you've been around a while I've certainly heard the name White Noise Sound in dispatches for a few years, can you give us a brief potted history of the band? And why the length of time before you finally got to record your debut album?
Adam - The band started in some form in 2006 with a slightly different - and larger - line-up.
We were all in different bands in Swansea at the time - it just made sense to join up.
The band started proper in 2008 though - after some line-up changes. Everything up to that point was a little confused.
Dan - We just kept under the radar until we were ready - there were a couple of false starts but we're ready to go over the top with this album.
A few years back there seemed to be quite a healthy shoegaze/ pysch revival in South Wales with the likes of the Voices, El Goodo and The Palma Violets carving a niche, why do you think that's fallen away a little, and do you feel rather like you're 'on your own' stylistically in Wales or part of a group?
Griff- I remember thinking a few years back that Cardiff in particular had some great bands and there seemed to be something happening, but it slowly seemed to die a death - not sure why.
Adam - We aren't part of a 'group', stylistically, here.
We like bands here - El Goodo and The Keys, definitely - and we're good friends with, and have a lot of time for, the people from what were the Black Hand Laser Band and The Voices - but we've never been part of a 'local scene' at all really.
Do you find the local scene a little cliquey sometimes?
Dan - I think any local scene is going to have it's cliquey elements.
Adam - We don't really think on a 'local' scale.
Griff - We've played Germany more times than we've played Cardiff! I love playing in Cardiff, it's just worked out differently for us up to this point.
More generally what are your thoughts on the nu-gaze revival in the UK last few years that saw bands harking back to the sounds of the early 90s? Or do you think that most acts are a melting pot of influences and that the tag is kind of redundant?
Griff - Nu-gaze? I've not heard that one before.
Dan - Generalisations like that don't sit well with me at all. There's definitely a diverse melting pot within this band - and for that reason we'd never feel comfortable buying into a genre - we'd never be able to agree which one.
What have you learnt from your time on the road and supporting acts like The Warlocks, Spectrum, Mark Gardener (Ride) and the Super Furry Animals, plus sharing the stage with members of Spacemen 3, Spiritualized and the Brian Jones
Town Massacre? Any interesting tourtales?
Griff - I learnt that it's fucking hard work, but amazing too. Any tales I have can't be published unfortunately.
Dan - I could tell you but you'd have to pay me and then I'd have to kill you.
There is one that involves a Native American head dress, an Alp and a bear - but that's all I can say.
How did you catch the attention of a US label like Alive Natural Sound Records?
Griff - We've been aware of the label for years - we all have Alive releases in our record collections. We sent a few of the tracks through to Patrick at Alive when we were finishing the mastering of the album and it went from there.
Your self titled debut was produced by Pete Kember (AKA Sonic Boom)from Spacemen 3 / Spectrum / E.A.R and Cian Ciaran from Super Furry Animals. What did they each bring to the table sonically? And did you split your time recording in different locations?
Griff - The sessions with Pete were a great experience and had a big impact on the band and this album - the guy is a legend and we learnt a lot.
Adam - The album was primarily recorded in an old hotel / 24 hour drinking den in Swansea though.
Dan - Yeah, it's a very interesting place to record, more people should try it. So much drink - so much fun.
Adam - We were introduced to Cian by El Goodo - we'd heard some tracks off their latest album (that Cian mixed) and we were really impressed.
Cian mixed the album over a few weeks around the time we supported SFA last year.
Dan - I can't speak highly enough of Cian he's such a top fella.
He really did take the album to another level.
Adam - He's a magician and we couldn't have asked for more.
What would you say influenced the recordings both musically and lyrically?
Dan - There's too many influences running through this band to mention - like I said, the band is a bit of a messed-up melting pot.
A lot of things are written separately and then brought together later.
The music media is very quick to put bands in pigeonholes do you try to ignore stereotypes and clichés that surround the new shoegaze / psychedelia sounds? I get the feeling that the album harks back to the works of Spacemen 3, Velvets and Suicide whilst bringing a fresh rock 'attack', was that the aim?
Griff - We certainly didn't consciously try and make the album sound like any one thing that had been done before.
Dan - We didn't really aim for anything - we just did it... well, maybe for it to be loud and good. I can't think of any band worth its salt that would be OK with being pigeonholed - we don't fit.
Griff - You take a bit from everywhere and make it your own.
Adam - We made the album that we wanted to make.
There appears to be a multitude of sounds and instruments at work on the record, is it a case of layering them upon the skeletal sound of the initial compositions or are the songs very much worked out in a live environment before you reach the
Adam - Writing and recording are part of the same process for us.
Dan - If we have an idea, we demo it in ones or twos; then we work it through in rehearsals; then we do a full band demo; then we work it live and we go back and record it proper.
We have quite a big sound, so it's not always easy to get across what you want achieve with a song on your own.
You chose to unleash the pulsating rock monster 'Sunset' upon the public before any other track, why?
Adam - Statement of intent.
Griff - It's the most driving, 'nasty' song on there - that's why it's first on the album and that's why we play it first live.
Dan - Yeah, it's a bit of a snarly upstart of a song - it's relentless, it just keeps going, no one here gets out alive and all that.
What's on your stereo in your tour bus at the moment? Are there any new acts you would recommend to our readers?
Dan - Tour bus?! There are only two things that are certain to happen - Phil will want to hear Jimmy Driftwood and there'll be blood shed if we don't hear The Stones - Emotional Rescue at least once.
Do you have any dream collaborations or artists that you'd like to work with in the future either in the studio or remixers?
Adam - Cian Ciaran
Five albums you would take to a hopefully sunny desert island?
Adam - Can - Tago Mago, Can - Ege Bamyasi, Can - Future Days, Neu! - 75 - then it'd be a
toss-up between some Goreki or some Beefheart.
Griff - We had the same question in another interview so I'm going to change my 5 albums to mix it up a bit… JAMC - Honeys Dead, Bob Dylan - Royal Albert Hall '66, Bowie - Ziggy Stardust, Nuggets 65-68, Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen.
Dan - Can I just have the Gun Club - Fire of Love and sell the other four albums for drink?
What are your other plans for 2011?
Adam - We'll be touring through Europe to coincide with the official UK release date in January 2011 - and we'll be doing our best to stay alive in the process.
Dan - We'll get on with some new songs at some point too. Should be a good year.
White Noise Sound's self title dubut album is out now on Alive Natural Sound Records.
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