"There are more harmonies, elevation and way bigger guitars" - hmv.com talks to White Lung
Canadian punks White Lung have been blazing a trail since they formed in their native Vancouver back in 2006, but on their new album Paradise they've harnessed a whole new level of power and poise.
We spoke to singer Mish Barber-Way and guitarist Kenny William about recording the new album, why this is an LP all about love and their plans to take it out on tour...
You’re coming back after a bit of time off, when did you start work on Paradise?
Mish: "Kenny had been recording parts and pieces all year. I started a new lyric book as soon as Christmas had passed. I didn’t write it in until the spring, but I started it and it was there and slowly being filled up with quotes, stories, little stabs at lyrics. Although we worked on songs before everyone got to Los Angeles, nothing was done. We are not four people in a rock band writing a song start to finish and then, going into the studio to record it. We are three people who write parts of four live players and by default, our songs have to come together in the studio."
How did you want the album to move on from Deep Fantasy?
Mish: "I wanted to prove I could sing, really sing. I wanted to write the strongest melodies I could. I did not want to leave much up to the imagination by using words to create strong imagery."
Kenny: "I wanted the songs to all sound completely distinct from each other and have their own personalities. I also wanted the guitars to sound less like guitars in certain places."
You worked with Lars Stalfors on the album, what was he like? And why did you decide to work with him?
Mish: "Lars has a very modern, technologically-happy approach to songs. He isn’t an analog nerd or too concerned with keeping things vintage or ridiculous stupidity like that. We told him we wanted to make a modern rock record that sounded like it could only have been made in 2016. He understood the challenge."
Which of the songs on the album took the most work to get right? And which came together most instantly?
Mish: "I can’t remember to be honest. I wrote 10 songs in a month. The process becomes blurry when you are spending eight hours a day in a studio writing, toiling away on songs, drinking and becoming demented over it."
Kenny: "Out of all our records this one was the easiest to write. There were less self-imposed “rules” and we had so many new styles, tempos and sounds to explore that it actually came pretty easily."
What’s the song on the album that you’re most proud of?
Mish: "'Below'. Two years ago we would have been afraid of that song, but it’s a hit."
Kenny: "'Narcoleptic' because it’s such a weird song and only our band could have written it."
What were you listening to in the making of the album?
Mish: "I know both Kenny and I can not listen to the type of music we are making when writing. I know he was listening to a lot of rap and hip hop, while I was playing Waylon Jennings and David Alan Coe and just listening to really old blues and country. I live for that."
Kenny: "I was listening to a lot of Future, Arca, Cocteau Twins and Yasuaki Shimizu."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Does it have a unifying theme?
Mish: "It's an album about love."
What are your plans to take the album out live. Will it be any different to last time around?
Mish: "It’s much better. There are more harmonies, elevation and way bigger guitars."
Kenny: "We’re going to be playing pretty much the entire new album and we’re very excited to do it live."