First, let’s get the rules out of the way, nice and easy – 1. Like the ZaRecords Facebook page OR subscribe through the WordPress e-mail service for one chance to win. 2. Share this post on Facebook, so that your friends can also learn about the contest and read the interview below, for two chances. 3. Comment, if you wish, for three chances. What’s the prize? A “Mad Man Circus” CD, signed by the entire band, which I will send anywhere in the world, on my own expense, should the winner be from far away lands. The winner will be selected via the Random.org website. You have until next Sunday – November 4th. The winner will be notified on the 5th.
Alright, now time for the interview! White Walls are, as I probably made pretty clear in a previous post, my favorite Romanian band nowadays, and they’ve been so gracious as to grant me the time to answer a few questions I put together. Here is the result! All questions are answered by Șerban-Ionuț Georgescu, the band’s bass player, unless otherwise specified. The music I’ve inserted are two live recordings of new songs they’re working on for their sophomore album, expected sometime in 2013.
ZaRecords: It seems pretty obvious to me that you have a very high personal standard for your music and your live performance. You seem like a very disciplined band. How do you maintain this attitude, how did you get it in the first place?
White Walls: First of all, let me say that we aren’t anywhere NEAR the standard of discipline that we’d LIKE to be at. We all wish we could work harder and invest more time and money into what we do. I think that this wish is what drives us, all we wanted from the beginning was to be the very best band that we could possibly be, and we still do. We’ve never, ever tried to be something other than what comes natural as a group.
ZR: Has fan response to your first album influenced your composing process? Do you feel any outside pressure?
WW: When we first started writing songs together, we were pretty certain that nobody outside the band would appreciate our music as much as we did, and we were happy with the thought. So if anything, the (amazing!) fan response to Mad Man Circus and our live shows has taught us to be fearless and to keep doing only what feels right to us as a band, because people respond to honesty and passion. We don’t feel any outside pressure at all, but the inside pressure, so to say, is quite strong, we’re doing our best to come up with a very special album.
ZR: How do you guys compose your songs? Is it a democratic sort of thing, or more of an authoritarian model?
WW: It’s a complete democracy, I don’t think we’ve ever written a bar of music that we didn’t all feel was right. Everybody contributes to everything, most riffs begin with an idea from Dasu (guitar, Ed.) or me, Marian (drums, Ed.) changes up the grooves and structures, Eugen comes up with most of the vocal parts by himself, but we all get to have our say.
ZR: This one is for Eugen – your ability to switch from growls to clear singing is amazing. Have you had to train in a certain way to do that, or did you just find it comes naturally to you?
Eugen: Well, I taught myself how to growl. The hardest part was to find a way to do it without affecting my throat. Also it took a while before I was able to growl without a lot of effort. When I began to growl I was exhausted after a song or two. Switching between growl and clear singing came naturally.
ZR: Your music is amazingly eclectic, switching from metal to jazz and everything in between at the drop of a hat. What do each of you listen to predominantly, who inspires you?
WW: We all listen to a lot of different music. I think metal represents about 15-20% of our usual listening habits, at most. We really dig Michael Jackson, Jeff Buckley, we love 60’s funk and quite a bit of hip-hop. Of course, we each have things that we love listening to that the other guys in the band don’t really dig. I’ve been going through a heavy Circa Survive period for the last couple of months, can’t quite get the guys in on it, though,
ZR: Speaking of hats – what’s the story behind the Chapeaugraphy theme? To me, as an observer, it seems like such an amazing visual reference to the intricacy of your music, but I probably never would have heard of it were it not for you guys. How did you discover it?
WW: Short answer – Wikipedia. It was Dasu, the guitarist, who showed us the concept, via said website. We just thought it was a great metaphor for both the song and our whole musical identity.
ZR: You’ve toured a lot in support of Mad Man Circus. Tell me a story from the road, an adventure you might have had.
WW: I’m sort of sorry to say that we’re not the most adventurous band around. We’re never too late for gigs or soundchecks, we don’t get into fights, we don’t hang out with groupies… there aren’t any, we just drink mildly and poke fun at each other quite a lot.
ZR: The sloshing water recording at the end of Curtains is mesmerizing and seems like a very symbolic and fitting way of ending your album. How did you come to that idea and where did you make the recording?
WW: Our friend Marius Costache took a random field recording of the Black Sea when he was in town for our first concert. He sent it to us a few days later and we all said “dude, this has to be a part of the record somehow”. The way he used it in Curtains is, how you said, very symbolic and fitting, we couldn’t have thought of a better way of ending the song and album.
ZR: Will you be releasing your follow-up album with Asiluum Arts again, or is the more traditional music industry model setting up lures at this point?
WW: Asiluum seems to be dead and buried right now. We don’t know how we’ll be releasing the album yet, but we have a few ideas. I guess time will tell.
WW: We have plans and wishes for both those things, as a matter of fact. We will definitely release videos for a few of the songs on the album, and we’ve been thinking about a live DVD for a while. We’re just waiting for the right gig with the right circumstances.
ZR: Thank you so much for your time guys! I can hardly wait to see you live again and to hear what you’ve been cooking up.
WW: Thank you SO much!