TAP Exclusive Interview: White Arrows (Playing Webster Hall Tonight w/The Naked And Famous)

By Michel R Dussack

White Arrows are a band that seemingly defines genres. They describe themselves as genres that seem to completely contradict each other, or make them up all together such as Psycho Tropic. One of the more notable personal details of the band is that singer and founder Mickey Church was born blind, and didn’t gain sight until near the age of 11. The band has been on tour with The Naked and Famous for some time now in the United States, and I got the chance to speak with Mickey about the band and the tour.

Q: Let’s talk about the history of the band and the significance of the band’s name

A: Yeah sure, the band started as kind of a recording project while I was in school at NYU, living in New York and I just recorded a bunch of songs that ended up being the songs on the EP. When I moved back to Los Angeles and I formed the band with my brothers and two friends uh in Los Angeles. So the band’s been a live entity for the past, only for the past couple of years. And it started in Los Angeles. And the significance of the band name? It was kind of…when I was away at school I was studying shamanistic ritual and it was the result of some kind of vision quest

Q: How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it?

A: Uhm, I would say it’s like a Grim Reaper is surfing a 10 foot wave, and he’s on like a 10 foot long board and he’s like at the nose of the board, and behind him there’s a great white shark maybe in the crest of the wave, about to eat him.

Q: You’ve been on tour with The Naked and Famous for a while now, how’s that been going?

A: I mean, it’s been amazing. Up until now we’ve only done West Coast tour dates, and this is a full U.S. tour. And we definitely are getting spoiled by playing all sold out venues to like 1,400 people a night. So in the sense of that, it’s just been incredible. And the sound systems you play when you play 1,400 capacity rooms are like the best sound systems we’ve ever played as a band. So it’s been a pretty epic tour thus far. Ya know, we’re coming to an end and we’re all getting sentimental. We got really close to the bands on this tour, especially The Naked and Famous and it’s gonna be sad to leave them and leave this all behind. But we’re excited for what’s to come.

Q: How do you perceive the reception to your music on this tour from The Naked and Famous fans?

A: Yeah, it’s been pretty amazing all around like, we like sell our weight in merch, and they seemed to be really stoked at the end of the show. We really couldn’t have asked for a better turnout from this tour considering we’re just a band that has a bunch of demos and the first official single that just came out. Ya know, it’s like we’re not even touring an album. We don’t have people that would come for us otherwise, and I think we’re converting a lot of people on this tour. Honestly, in an ideal situation I could’ve have pictured it any better than how it’s been going.

Q: What have been some of your more favorite places to play on the tour? Any standouts?

A: Yeah I mean, it’s been amazing and I’ve fallen in love with so many places because I’ve never really seen the world before this tour. They’re all places I’ve never been to before. Dallas we had a really amazing crowd, Atlanta was awesome, Philly was awesome, playing Los Angeles at home at the Henry Fonda Music Box was pretty epic for all of us, being from LA, and playing a venue we all grew up going to. But yeah, those were the standout shows thus far, like Philly, Dallas, and Atlanta. Those were all really amazing shows and I can’t wait to go back to those places.

Q: Hopefully New York can top those crowds at Webster Hall…

A: Yeah, New York is gonna be awesome, considering I only played their twice with the band. I mean the music did technically start in New York…

Q: What would you say distinguishes your band from all the other emerging bands out there right now?

A: Uhh I think we’re different in every way possible. We look different, we sound different, we perform differently. When we perform we like to play with a lot of visual so there’s like a whole visual aesthetic that we have going on that a lot of bands don’t necessarily have. And from what I gather from the responses of people we have a sound that’s hard to pinpoint so from what I can understand it’s a pretty unique experience coming to our shows and hearing our music for the first time.

Q: Do you have an favorite albums that came out in 2011?

A: My favorite albums? What came out in 2011 that we liked….(asks band)…let me just look at my iTunes….I guess Panda Bear’s album was really good. I like Twin Sister’s album that just came out. Unknown Mortal Orchestra has definitely been on heavy rotation too.

Q: How has the work on the full length been coming along? Are you writing?

A: Yeah we’re like 7 songs into the full length record. We have all of November to finish writing and recording it, before we have our headlining tour for December for the West Coast. So yeah, hopefully by early to mid 2012 is when the full length will be released in the states.

White Arrows play sold out shows with The Naked and Famous tonight at Webster Hall in New York City and the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. on Friday. You can also catch them headlining the Studio at Webster Hall on Sunday night (limited tickets available here)

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