“This is a much more intelligent album” – White Lung
Canadian punks White Lung have released two acclaimed records without much fanfare, but talk of their incendiary live shows and powerhouse punk-rock has clearly gotten round. Now snapped up by Domino Records, the band are preparing for the release of their new album Deep Fantasy, we sat down to chat with singer Mish Way and guitarist Kenny William and find all about the making of the album...
So the new album’s done and out on Monday, has it been finished for a while?
Kenny: “It was finished in February, it’s always weird how long it takes.”
Mish: “We’re just desperate to get it out now though.”
You recorded it quite quickly right…
Mish: “We’ve always done it that way, it’s the way we work. I can’t do 50 vocal takes, I’ll do five, the way we record is fast, the drums are always banged out, it’s supposed to mirror our live show.”
Where did you make it?
Kenny: “In Vancouver, we did it with Jesse Gander who’s done all our records, he’s done all the Japandroids stuff too. We had offers from other people, but we were recording as a three so we needed someone who knew us and how to get us down. We wanted someone who understood us.”
Were you not interested in having a named producer? Or were you afraid that you’d work with someone who’d try and import their sound onto you?
Mish: “Yeah, we’ve known Jesse for so long and he knows how to get the best out of us. He gives me so much input and he helps me relax, I find recording really stressful so it’s important to have that.”
Did you record more for the album than you needed?
Kenny: “Nope. There’s not a single unreleased White Lung song. We wrote the last song for this album the night before we went in to record at 1am. If something doesn’t work we know pretty quickly and it gets junked straight away.”
How do you feel this album moves on from sorry?
Mish: “I think this is much more intelligent album. My lyrics are more thought out, it’s not just little jokes to myself, there’s a concept throughout the record, I was aware that it would probably reach more people so I tried to utilise that and not just yell.”
Kenny: “I think it’s a sequel to our last record, but there was a step up in writing. We wrote this one apart though, I was only alone in practise space and working on my parts rather than us just throwing stuff at each other. It’s a bigger record, it sounds a lot fuller. I wrote a lot of them when I had the flu, so in this weird way I tried to make them sound like they were ill.”
You’ve said it’s a much more provocative record…
Mish: “I had a lot more time to work on things, rather than just spitting it out. I wanted to be happy with every line that I’ve written, previously, by the end of writing I’d be like ‘I don’t care, whatever work’. I can go through our last record and pick out mistakes and things I wish I could change, I can’t do that this time.”
Were there topics you wanted to cover?
Mish: “The record is basically about power. The dynamics of power, sometimes in sexual terms, sometimes in other ways. If you ever read anything I’ve ever written (Way also works as a journalist), then you’ll know it’s me trying to make sense of the world.”
“‘Down It Goes’ is about sexual dynamics, ‘Snake Jaw’ is about body image, ‘I Believe You’ is about rape and the issues surrounding that. I wanted to write intelligently about women and to get people thinking.”
Are there any lyricists you look to?
Mish: “I write in the same way I wrote in my journal as a teenager. I was always paranoid about people reading so I wrote in this strange way to myself, it’s always how I’ve written.”
So what's the plan for the rest of the year?
Mish: "We're about to go to Australia and New Zealand and we've got Japan later in the year and then later in the year a bunch more American dates. I'm down to go anywhere really, sort it out and send me over there, we'll play wherever."
White Lung’s Deep Fantasy will be released on Monday (June 16th) and is available for pre-order in hmv stores now.