As published in Skinnie Magazine, December 2010.
It takes approximately 10 hours to fly from London to Los Angeles. This always involves layovers and uncomfortable hours attempting – and failing – to acquire a tiny, precious bit of rest. Any sane person would land and immediately try to sleep off the jetlag. Any normal person would laugh at the idea of forcing oneself to stay awake until midnight and then put on an energetic live performance.
White Lies aren’t normal people, then, are they?
Jack Lawrence-Brown, drummer, may have slipped away for a nap, but Harry McVeigh and Charles Cave stuck it out, enjoying a couple of Dos Equis in the rooftop lounge of their hotel in Hollywood. A solid band with a steady lineup since age fifteen, the three seemed to be like brothers.
Charles, bassist and lyricist, had a different comparison to make, however.
“It’s a bit like marriage, really,” he said, causing Harry, guitarist and singer, to look up from his phone, eyebrow raised in skepticism, curious to see where his bandmate would go with this. “There are always going to be obstacles. It’s biologically unnatural to be around someone that much and that close. Humans are born alone, die alone, so any problems we have are very human.”
Regardless, he still maintains that the one thing he is proudest of when it comes to White Lies is their relationship as a band, describing it as a “really powerful, creative group of individuals.”
Formed under the name Fear of Flying at the wee age of fifteen, Jack, Harry and Charles began to play shows at school until they moved on to supporting slots for musicians such as The Maccabees and Laura Marling.
They skipped out on university to sharpen their skills and cohesion as a band and found themselves writing songs that did not fit their band’s sound and ideal. Within a few weeks, Fear of Flying became White Lies in 2008 with one MySpace bulletin before deletion: “Fear of flying is DEAD… White Lies is alive!”
Despite this long journey of successes and change, Charles believes that they hadn’t really begun until White Lies had formed.
“We had six or seven years of laughable failures,” he said. Acting as an opener band for Laura Marling does not seem like much of a failure to most, but this only serves to illustrate how far-reaching the bands’ goals are.
Within two months of re-forming as White Lies, they began performing live gigs and gaining the attention of the media. The new name choice was credited to the collective’s flirtation with dark and moody. As fans of Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen, could you really expect anything else?
After releasing their debut album To Lose My Life…, White Lies’ fame steadily grew as the band became much more visible, supporting talents such as Kings of Leon, Muse, and Coldplay. Touring off and on, intertwined with finding time to get into the studio to work on their sophomore album Ritual, free time and relaxation are difficult, but at this point the band has their priorities straight. When they do, however, the guys just enjoy the simple, finer pleasures in life.
“I’m very happy at the moment when I wake up in bed after a nice sleep,” Charles said. “Any bed, even a hotel bed. It’s not just because I’m tired, either.”
“I’m happiest when I have a warm bath,” Harry noted, a tone of longing in his voice.
“Or sitting down for some really nice food at a restaurant. That’s really nice,” Charles added, sounding comforted.
Simple pleasures come from humble men, but guilty pleasures do as well. Charles prefaced before explaining them, “I don’t really feel guilty about them, though I guess I should. I like drinking wine at lunchtime. Maybe that’s not so bad, the French do it. I also like really shit music. Like, bad, trashy pop music. I’m really into the latest Kelly Clarkson record.”
His lack of fear in admitting such things likely stems from his quirky years in primary school. “Have you seen the movie Rushmore?” he asked. “I was like that.”
Rushmore stars Jason Schwartzman as Max Fischer, a fifteen-year-old student who enrolls in various activities such as the French Club, Stamp & Coin Club, Calligraphy Club, and Beekeeping Society. “I did so many weird extracurricular activities,” Charles said. “I was into fencing, or playing magic card tricks. I also used to collect crystals.”
“Is that really a pastime?” Harry teased him.
“It was! We almost got a rock polisher and everything,” he retorted.
The friendly banter carried on between the two awhile, jaded undertones laced through their words, much in the same manner as the structure of their songs: happy at first glance, but once you take a second look, the melancholy becomes more apparent.
“I don’t have that much self-worth,” Charles admitted. “But as a band, to be remembered at all would be an amazing thing. People don’t care about music anymore.”
Regardless, the band will continue to do what they love best. With so many positive experiences and “so many exceptional highlights”, the few negative ones, such as their disappointment in themselves with their performance at Coachella last year, seem meek.
“I still don’t know that this is exactly what I want to be doing,” Charles explained. Such a statement seemed out of place after he told wonderful things of his experiences. “It was something to just fall into. I don’t over-think it. I do love the element of surprise. You always think, ‘Will I ever be able to write something better?’ and worry, but then a few months down the line, you do.”
If such is the case, then White Lies’ future holds promising insight. With their second record dropping in the new year as well as another world tour that same month, the band is preparing for a long few months.
And isn’t that exactly what Charles Cave loves to do? “I like preparing. I like that saying, ‘Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.’”
Unbeknownst to them, the two defined the band with two simple mottos, for Harry McVeigh added quietly, “I like that one that goes, ‘Nothing worth having comes easy.’ ”
Original link: http://issuu.com/skinnie_magazine/docs/skinnie_magazine_december_2010 – page 36.