Carol Bowditch chatted to lead singer and founder of White Arrows, Mickey Church, ahead of their new album release and upcoming Australian tour with Jinja Safari and Opossom (who she also recently interviewed):
Mickey Church is travelling through El Paso, Texas when we speak. He talks of excitement about his travel to Australia for the first time with his band, and speaks as if it were some distant, strange land, far, far away. “We have no plans,” he says. “We have no itinerary and we have no idea what to expect.”
White Arrows met Kody of Opossom when they toured with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The band became acquainted with fellow tour-mates, Jinja Safari, they met at a hotel in London. Mickey says they “saw some dudes that looked like musicians and went up to talk to them and they happened to be Jinja Safari, who were coincidently playing the same tour there and were coming over to Australia together. It was a really funny that that happened.”
Dry Land is Not a Myth is their debut release after only a two year lifespan as White Arrows. Mickey said its creation was, “an interesting process, [there's] nothing really to compare it to since it's our first record, but it’s exciting that it's finally out. I’m thrilled at how it’s turned out. We just had one 7” and one EP before, so it’s nice to have something substantial out.” He continued, “We start with music with no lyrics in mind, sometimes we don’t ever use it. There can be a theme before the song exists, usually the lyrics come after the song.”
The White Arrows' sound had been described as psycho-tropical and borrows from many genres. For instance, Coming or Going has a dance vibe too it, whereas Roll Forever is dark and heavy with a grungier feel compared to other songs on the album. Mickey agrees that the White Arrows' sound is difficult to categorise, and encourages listeners to “come up with genres of what they think we sound like. I think that psycho-tropical is a really funny, cool name for a type of music.”
Mickey’s individual story is interesting and is reflected through the impressionistic, sensory nature of his music. He was born blind and only gained his sight at the age of 11. He says that White Arrows aim to create a, “visceral, overload experience. Different genres and different soundscapes. While working in conjunction with visual elements.”
The release of the video for Get Gone reflects just that. It features scenes of the band playing, with heavy filters and trippy visuals layered over the top. Mickey says that he finds the process of creating videos as "fun and easy within this day and age to put together footage of live shows and see how well that goes together with a song." The bands only official video is for the track, Get Gone. "The visuals came after but fit together so perfectly with the song."
I put Mickey on the spot to creatively describe his live show in three words only. "Shoot! That’s a tough question,” he replied. “How about crystallised, euphoric..." then he adds with a laugh.. "fish? [band-member] Ian says hallucination but, maybe: dreams, dreamscape, dreamlike?"
He continues to describe the experience of a White Arrows live show. “We like it to be a total sensory overload, a lot of projections, a lot of strobes, haze and fog. Like a complete sensory takeover. We like people, for that hour, to have a complete uninterrupted experience and whatever happens, happens. Just to be in the moment."
I ask him for any last words from the band. His reply is short and sweet and sums up the White Arrows mentality: “Everybody love everybody and that’s pretty much it."
Interview by Carol Bowditch