an interview w/ Whitehorse (who play Acheron tonight)
DOWNLOAD: Whitehorse – “Progression” (MP3)
Whitehorse at the official WFMU showcase (more)
Foo Fighters? Strokes? Kanye? Kudos to SXSW for landing bands of that size, but the reason why I make the trek to the little blue dot in the big red state (Austin, Texas) is to see performances from tomorrow’s faves. Outside of shows that I was involved in and their memorable moments therein (round-ups of those shows- 3/16, 3/17, 3/18, 3/19), I had a few magical moments at SXSW this year: The Body playing in a pizza parlor and blowing out the power… twice, Grayceon‘s muscular yet refined take on doom at Valhalla, a beer-soaked singalong with Phil Anselmo during Haarp at Emo’s, and walking in to Barbarella on 3/18 to catch Whitehorse DECIMATE a crowd of unsuspecting WFMU fans.
With the most powerful of death-doom punctuated with screeching noise, Australians Whitehorse headlined the WFMU stage (read: indoor) at Barbarella on 3/18, playing against what was clearly the biggest metal show of the festival, Metalliance at Dirty Dog. Regardless, Whitehorse was unrelenting live, as the band pummeled new offerings from their newest LP Progression with unmitigated power. One of the best sets that I saw in Austin.
Whitehorse is currently touring in support of Progression, which is out now on CD via vocalist Pete Hyde’s own Sweatlung imprint, and a split 7″ with Rhode Island doom-deities/oddity The Body. The title track of the James-Plotkin mastered Progression LP makes its debut in this post. Make sure and pick up copies of both releases at one of their remaining tour dates with The Body which include and tonight (4/1) at Acheron with Bad Dream (and not Unearthly Trance). Their US trek ends the next day in Providence at Machines & Magnets.
From somewhere on the road, I talked to Pete Hyde of Whitehorse to chat about SXSW, the new record, and deli sandwiches…
Who is Whitehorse and what is the genetic makeup of the band (what other bands, etc)?
The current members of Whitehorse are heavily immersed in a lot of Melbourne’s underground band wise, our guitarist Adrian plays in a thrashy metal band Black Jesus, Dave our new noise guy (joined post the recording of the recent full length) has a long running noisy hip-hop project called Ivens and also plays in black metal band Encircling Sea, our bassist Pete plays with me in Pneumatic Slaughter, while I also roll with neanderthunderous noisecore unit Occult Blood as well as Collapsed Toilet Vietnam which is a super-retardo outfit that emerged after the last Whitehorse USA tour with 4 of the then 6 members, of which only myself and drummer Rob remian in the current line up of Whitehorse. Rob is currently in a state of flux as he is relocating to NYC at the end of this tour, he as most recently been playing heavily with post Grey Daturas duo Breathing Shrine as well as breaking out the odd solo Drum Stool set, in which he plays a drum stool (obviously) … it seems he has a NYC show booked for the day after our tour jumping in the seat for a band called Coconuts which is made up of some old Australian – NYC transplants… this is tip of the iceberg for all these guys, we have an endless list of post, current and new projects. Mark who played noise for us on Progression and since our first show to January does killer stuff with True Radical Miracle, Dick Threats and Dead Boomers amongst others. For US fans, your first release was the 2CD that dropped on 20 Buck Spin in 2007, since then what has Whitehorse been up to?
The 20 Buck Spin 2CD was a collection of older material, we toured the US in 2007 when it was released. After what became a quite heavy tour for us for a couple of reasons, we went on a two and a half year hiatus, getting together a somewhat new line up in late 2009. Since then we have entered the most productive period of our 8 year existence we played bunches of shows through out 2010 in Australia and wrote a decent amount of new material. Sharing the stage with the likes of Coffins, Zeni Geva, Om, Lichens, Birushanah, Wolves In The Throne Room and more over the last year or so really prepared us for this US tour and plans beyond.
Whitehorse – Progression
You released the new (and great) LP Progression on your own Sweatlung imprint. What was the motivation behind self-release, and do you plan a larger US release? Possible vinyl?
Sweatlung was originally started with the purpose of releasing Whitehorse material, the first 3 CD documents were released on Sweatlung before the label progressed to releasing non-Whitehorse material. With the band member’s heavy schedules we kinda left it too late in the game to follow the trails of interested labels. The brief time between recording and the beginning of tour and given the length of time we had been on hiatus, logically it came down to Sweatlung releasing Progression. We would be interested in a larger US release, vinyl for sure, all our past vinyl has been Euro (Conspiracy / Blind Date) pressings with the exception of the new split 7″ with The Body on Aum War (US) / Sweatlung.
You recently played SXSW as part of your US tour with the always awesome guys in The Body. How was your trip? What was your most memorable performance as a performer and as a spectator?
Yeah, SXSW… what a trip. We had played about 15 dates prior but when we hit Austin we managed to dish out 4 shows in 20 hours. The shows for Ballistic Missile Booking and Chaos in Tejas presents were by all means great but as far as a favorite it would be hard to choose between the killer WFMU showcase where we hit our high point of the day and had a great time with awesome people (minus some obnoxious photographer flashing away… he know’s who he is) OR the Aussie BBQ Event where we drove the free lunch rush crowd on the rooftop of Maggie Mae’s scuttling in terror. The line-up for that event is for the most part tame, and soft. Some how Whitehorse managed to be given a pretty decent slot on the big stage as the lone metal band representing the country, we took full advantage of the opportunity to let those in attendence know that Australia is a little more dynamic than twee pop and sassy rock outfits, though I do have to say Blank Realm and Wagons both delivered great sets at that event.
How does touring in Australia differ from hitting the road in the states? What do you miss the most about being on home soil?
Touring in Australia …. you could say it’s like touring seatlle – san diego and only playing 5 shows before you hit your end point, meanwhile here we are in the USA almost at the tail end of 32-33 shows in 35 or so days something that would be unachievable in Australia… oh yeah … and the beer costs 3 times as much as it does here. We miss nothing there.
Aside from your current tour, you’ve spent the last few months in US. What was the primary focus of your visit, and what are some of your favorite things about NYC?
Myself and Dave were on tour with our other projects Ivens and Occult Blood, so we hit both coasts, Portland to San Diego and Providence to Miami on that one. While I personally aim to visit once a year for various reasons, this trip was primarly to get on the road and play shows. New York, I guess my favorite things are deli sandwiches and the Chinatown Bus trips to and from Philly (where I spend the majority of my East Coast visits).
Thanks to Pete, and make sure to catch Whitehorse on the road while you still can!
Whitehorse & the Body – 2011 Tour Dates
April 1st: BROOKLYN at The Acheron
April 2nd PROVIDENCE at Machines with Magnets