Interview: WhiteCliff – On the road, new music and local music
WhiteCliff are in the thick of their UK tour for new single ‘Five Minutes‘, they paid a visit back home for a gig in The Cavern on Wednesday night and we caught up with the lads before the show…
Your latest single, ‘Five Minutes’ has just come out. It’s a lively and urgent track, can you tell us what it’s about?
Olly – Well it’s kind of like a party song, you know like love at first sight, scenery. It was one of the first songs we’d written as a band, it used to be a ballad and we then all realised that we kinda like the chorus, so we kept the chorus and rewrote the whole thing around it and it turned out to be like an uptempo song about love at first sight really.
You can see that in the video too, it looks like you’re having a really good time, did you try as much as you could to get the emotions of the song on to the video as well?
Olly – We had a great team working with us, they sent us a really good treatment and we just loved it! We just really wanted to go for a bit [of a] lighter music video this time, not as dark as our older videos
Jonny – You can sort of see it in the song as well, we wanted to make it a really fun video to match what’s suppose to be a fun song basically and we’re really happy with how it turned out.
You worked with Ken Nelson and Dan Grech again for the new single, what’s it like working with two great producers that have worked with some of the biggest names in music?
Paul – It’s fantastic
Jonny – It’s amazing, they’re these lovely guys and really experienced, both of them, so there’s so much to be learned from them throughout the whole process and just watching them do their thing is amazing cos their knowledge is incredible.
Olly – They get the best out of all of us, the best performances, under pressure, you tend to be more creative so it’s just like the studio sessions were fun and challenging
Paul – With Ken in particular, silence can be a better indicator of whether it’s a good or bad take. So we do a take, then we’re like, looking at each other going, “was that good, or?…” Then it’s a bit silent and then we say “hmmm, maybe one more?” which he says then “yeah, ok let’s do another one” and we’d say “yeah, that’s what we thought so too!”
So it’s like you’re waiting for their approval in a way?
Paul – Yeah, but in a chilled out, sort of, no one really knows what’s going on kind of way!
Are there plans to work with them again in the future?
Jonny – Yeah, hopefully, I mean, so we’ve got a couple of songs that we’ve got recorded and so we’re gonna be going back to writing after the tour, we’re gonna work out our plans on what the next releases will be and then get in touch and hopefully sort out some more sessions and get some more tracks recorded.
The EP that was released back in October, ‘Young Lovers’ received a lot of praise and grabbed a lot of attention. How do you handle all this sudden attention?
Laughs from Paul – It’s great! If people like the music then we’re happy!
Jonny – It just kind of gives you a nice buzz really, we like to think it’s been appreciated and talked about, just a really nice feeling, we sort of just go along with doing our own thing, while that’s still going on and doesn’t really affect our lives too much.
Kobi – A lot of the time we’re not really aware.
Jonny – Yeah, it’s like it motivates you to carry on, spur you on!
WhiteCliff were the first band to be signed to The Libertines’ Gary Powell’s record label 25 Hour Convenience Store. What’s it been like to be with the label and how do it come about?
Olly – We actually played a gig in Brighton once and the label was there, then we met up after and they really liked the set and just started working on our sound and it’s great to work with them.
Jonny – Lots of help from Gary. It’s really nice to get involved with a new indie label, bit of an excitement about it because of Gary and a great people to work with!
And are there any plans to get back in the studio anytime soon, get some stuff out under the label?
Jonny – I reckon about summer time we’re looking to go back and do some new stuff.
It’s still early days during this UK and European tour that comes to The Cavern tonight. What can we expect to see from WhiteCliff on this tour?
Olly – A fun, energetic performance, I mean we all enjoy being on stage so I think the audience kind of reacts to that so there’s a great atmosphere in the room…
Jonny – And I know from people that have seen us before, we’ve spent a lot of time working on producing our show and sets to make it more of a fun show, as opposed to being just a bunch of lads playing their instruments, so we want to make it more of a spectacle! Which I hope that’ll come across when everyone sees us.
What’s the best thing for you while touring?
Paul – The food… Definitely the food!
Olly – I think definitely for me, it’s seeing all the different towns and cities in the UK cos I’ve been living in Liverpool for a couple of years but I haven’t seen Newcastle, Southampton and all the other places too, so that’s cool!
Jonny – Has to be the travelling between cities, I really like waking up in one city, doing a gig and then next day, a different city, another gig, a whole new set of people. Like yesterday we were in Newcastle and obviously the Geordie accent, then you come to Liverpool and got the Scouse accents, just different cultures.
Olly jokes – Jonny still thought he was in Glasgow [while in Newcastle].
Jonny – Yeah… Got the dates mixed up a bit…
You’re touring a lot, so you’re on the road quite a lot of the time, so what music are you listening to? What’s on the playlist on the tour bus?
Paul – There’s a lot of radio going on but then like The 1975 album, that keeps popping up.
Jonny – It varies so much! Kobe and I have been really into the new Weezer album recently, just come out and it’s absolutely awesome.
Kobe – It’s getting closer to summer, so there’s a lot of summery songs!
Olly – Catfish and the Bottlemen as well.
Paul – Gotta mention the new Biffy Clyro song as well.
Kobe – Oh, yeah! So sick! Such a sick tune!
After this tour, what’s next for WhiteCliff? Can we expect to see you hitting the festival scene this summer, more new music? What’s the plan?
Jonny – We’ll be hoping to announce some things at some point, some stuff in the pipeline at the moment…
Olly – Yeah, we’re gonna be playing at Blackthorn Festival.
Kobe – Yeah, gonna be with bands like Maximo Park, bands like that…
Olly – I think we’re gonna write a lot because last year we all went down to Hungary to write for a week cos my family is from there originally, we had a small little country house and just set up all of our stuff there and just started writing and wrote loads of tracks that we’re going to be playing tonight as well! So we may just go down again and write even more.
Being from Liverpool too, it’s been quite a breakout 12 months for bands of the North West, with the likes of Catfish & The Bottlemen and Circa Waves all gaining some major success over the last year. It’s a city that’s always had a thriving music scene, so who has been your biggest inspiration from within the city?
Paul – Well the success from Circa Waves really does spur you on, we bump into them around town, like friends of friends. Like I know the bassist’s girlfriend from uni, so just knowing that normal lads, doing what we’re doing, next minute they’re like successful
Olly – Great to see friends doing well!
So it’s almost like a community, is it, with all the local bands?
Jonny – Definitely, cos you bump into people all the time. It does feel like a small community on the circuit, it really isn’t as big as you’d quite expect, you bump into everybody all the time, it’s really nice.
Outside of music, what would be the band’s biggest influences when it comes to creating new music, what do you look to when writing new material?
Kobe – It’s probably different for everyone…
Olly – It’s kind of our experiences as well.
Kobe – Films we watch would be one thing, that’s quite cool.
Olly – Usually it’s when you feel the worst you write the best song, so sometimes it’s like a rollercoaster…
Jonny – I think for me it’s whatever emotion I’m feeling, when you’re not feeling normal, you might wanna go and write, whatever emotion it might be, so you could be sad or happy.
Paul – Like the last song we wrote, which is sort of our final song of the set tonight. That came from just being in a practice room and we were banging ideas, getting no where, everyone was on edge, a bit like “should we just call it a day?” Then it was like, we would get an idea and just be saying “well what have you got?” and then start playing. I love playing it because it reminds me of that moment, it reminds me of that frustration to release. But anything really that sparks an idea!
‘Five Minutes‘ is out now to download from iTunes, as well as WhiteCliff’s EP, Young Lovers.