Ahead of their headline show at The Hope & Ruin and the release of their double EP Eight I caught up with bassist Josie McNamara of the enigmatic Brighton-based five-piece White Room. Their radiant, self-aware brand of psych, meshes the sound of British 60s guitar pop with Hacienda-sized levels of danceability and it’s seen them support the likes of Paul Weller on tour.
Can you give us a brief history of the band and how it was formed?
We met through school and generally being involved in the Brighton music scene. After a variety of aliases and members, the current White Room line-up you see today formed in summer last year.
How would you describe your music?
Surrealist psych-pop is how I would best try and explain our current style of music. The term is broad enough, but gives the general idea of what we’re trying to achieve. I guess we try to avoid being restricted by genre. Collectively we enjoy a wide variety of musicians and ‘genres’, it wouldn’t make sense if we didn’t write music in the same way we listen to it.
What are the plans for your debut album? How old are the songs?
There are no set in stone plans for our debut album as of yet, it’s something we’re telepathically working towards but don’t consciously discuss. We are sitting on a bunch of song ideas we’ve had for a while, as well as being in a constant state of writing and idea generating. We hope to accumulate an unhealthy mountain of music to pick and choose from.
Are you conscious of how the tracks will sound live when you’re in the studio?
It’s something we have to be naturally conscious about; translating our studio sound into a recognisable live performance. We try not to allow this to inhibit us when experimenting with sound but it does mean our live set up is growing uncontrollably as a result!
Can you pinpoint your main influences?
Currently Frank Zappa, the number 8 and Declan the cow.
Is there a particular process that your songwriting goes through when crafting the tracks?
It really depends on the song and what creative space we are in as a band in that given time. ‘Cannibal Song’ was pretty much written by Jake, we as a band refined our parts, and it was recorded before we had even played it live. But ‘The Blue’ for example, was far more collaborative and went through multiple stages of gigging and re-writing before we were happy to record it.
What does the next 12-18 months have in store for the band?
Later this month we have our debut headline tour and the final release of our double EP Eight which we’re really excited about. Otherwise we are always writing and experimenting, and obviously more touring.
If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring to?White Room? ?
David Byrne for his genius, Michael D’Addario for his high kicks.
What music are you listening to at the moment? Are there any bands that we should listen out for?
HMLTD, St Vincent, Father John Misty and the Lemon Twigs are a few of the best gigs we’ve been lucky to see in the past couple of months. Ten out of ten, I would recommend.
Is there a particular ethos that drives you as a band?
Write for yourself and let the rest follow.
What is your relationship with the city of Brighton?
Brighton’s inclusive, creative and liberal. It’s got a great music scene, a great football team and it’s our home so we hold a lot of love for it.