“A desperate fear flows through my blood that our dead love’s buried beneath the mud.” Charming and articulate, White Lies front man Harry McVeigh’s voice echoes down the line. He’s talking to me from a hotel in Tokyo while I’m contemplating swearing my undying love for him but I snap back into reality and realise the man who wrote lyrics for such songs as ‘Death’, ‘Strangers’ and ‘There Goes Our Love Again’ is waiting for me to ask him the next question. With the Australian leg of their ‘Big TV’ tour in arms length I am eager to talk to him about the recording process of their third album, playing numerous festivals, their
eclectic collection of video clips and what’s on the horizon for White Lies.
“It can be a bit daunting and intimidating playing support for a big band like Thirty Seconds to Mars.” Says McVeigh. “We’ve grown up a lot in five years. Not sure if we’re a bit more cynical or more weathered and aged from the touring process.” The last time they graced our shores was in 2009 for Splendour in the Grass Festival which McVeigh refers to as being a great experience and a lot of fun. It has been a steady climb to fame for the band, which consists of Harry on vocals, Charles Cave on bass guitar and Jack Lawrence-Brown on drums.
Releasing their debut double A-side vinyl single in 2006 at the ripe old age of 17 before a name change and a repositioning of their sound, the lads from Britain ventured out into the big wide world flaunting a new dark and atmospheric edge. “A lot of people often associate us with Joy Division and post punk but I think we draw a lot more of our sounds from people like Tears For Fears.” Harry goes on to quote the line from a TFF song ‘Mad World’. “The dreams in which I am dying are the best I’ve ever had.” It’s refreshing to hear a young man reference a particular song released several years before he was born. “I don’t think there’s ever been a bleakness in our music. There’s always an uplifting poppy edge to
it but with that dark pinch in our lyrics.”
“We would like to hope we could do something different for the next record. I suppose if they don’t work we can always scrap them and go back to what we’re good at.” Over the course of three records, these young lads have evolved their sound, embraced new technology and immersed themselves in the sounds of yesteryear. Heading top bill on the lineup for the opening of Factory 251 in Manchester in 2010, saw the band continue their lineage to Joy Division and the early 80’s. “It was like playing a dark and dingy club show with a Manchester crowd. It’s funny how it all comes full circle.”
From their early days working with film maker Andreas Nielsen (The Knife), producers Stephen Street (The Smiths), Ed Buller (Suede), Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine) and managed by a former manager of Happy Mondays, these young men are no strangers to working with established artists. “Maybe next time we will have a go at making the video clip ourselves”. Jokes McVeigh. With strong imagery and slick production values written all across their video clips and album covers, White Lies have certainly embraced a sophistication so early on in their careers.
The years roll by like waves on an endless sea and in the world of music, artists like White Lies relish their time in the studio and in the thick of a world tour. This is where they go to come alive. This is where they go to produce the sounds that best represent their individualistic and stylised take on the world. Long live youth. Long live wild abandonment!!!
White Lies are supporting Thirty Seconds to Mars on the Australian leg of their world tour. 28 March VIC, 29 March NSW, 30 March QLD - tickets can be found at www.ticketek.com