Profile: White Lies
A poll this week announced that Shepherds Bush has produced more rock stars per head than anywhere else in the
UK. Apparently, 1 in every 1,222 people in the area is a Gavin Rossdale, Pete Doherty or member of The Who. And whilst it seems unlikely that the ratio can really be that extreme, it’s fitting that having just seen these figures, we are now wending our way to the
West London home of Harry McVeigh. The singer/guitarist of gloom-pop types White Lies has just got out of bed, is thinking about having breakfast, and he’s not quite awake enough yet to start getting excited about the fact that he’s increased his chances of stardom simply by living in Shepherds Bush. In fact, he doesn’t seem even seem too energised at the prospect of shortly jumping into a van and heading off to festivals in
Holland. “When we were first in the van together it was pretty exciting,” he reasons, “but now we’re used to it. It’s really good fun, but you do realise that being in a band is kind of like doing a 9 to 5 job in many ways ‘cause it’s really hard work and it’s very tiring. But it is really cool to wake up in a new place every day,” he adds, “and, having said that, I never expected to be in this situation now, it’s amazing, it really is.” Harry’s passion boils momentarily, before being shrouded by a curtain of seriousness once more. It’s not a mindset to be sniffed at. Especially given the dark times within the struggling music industry – perhaps it’s White Lies’ considered approach to what they’re doing that’s underpinned their successes this year. Harry, Jack Brown (drums) and
Cave (bass) may only be twenty year-olds but everything’s come together quickly for them since they started using keyboards and changed their name from Fear Of Flying. Now signed to Fiction Records (home to Elbow and Snow Patrol), they’ve recorded their debut album with Ed Buller (Suede, Pulp) and Max Dingel (engineer on The Killers’ ‘When You Were Young’) with thrilling results. The single ‘Death’, for example, “seems to connect with a lot of people,” Harry observes, and he’s right. The trio may appear too young to sound like Joy Division throttling Brandon Flowers, or too innocent to be emulating Ian McCulloch, but their rousing, gothic power rock is well-educated. And McVeigh emphasises that: “Throughout Fear Of Flying (the trio’s former incarnation), we were learning a lot and it was like training wheels for us. It wasn’t like we just appeared and eight months later we were signed and on Jools Holland. I think the main thing was just learning how to write the songs that we’re writing now. And learning not to try and push yourself out there, and not to try and play loads and loads of gigs. That was what we thought was the right thing to do with Fear Of Flying and I don’t think that’s actually necessary. With White Lies we focused on rehearsing and writing and I think that really worked to our advantage because when we did actually play the shows we were already good, and our first gig (at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen) was a very enjoyable experience rather than terrible!” The focused approach, then, is working. And even in small venues like the one in Hoxton, White Lies gigs are already mammoth experiences. Nonetheless, such intimate environments could soon be a thing of the past for the trio and by the time they finish the festival circuit this summer, expect everyone to have realised that Harry McVeigh and his band mates have actually been built for bigger things. Shepherds Bush could have found its newest rock star.
‘Death’ is released on Fiction on September 22nd.