Luxury Wafers Exclusive Interview with Matthew Clark of White Rabbits

by Landry on September 29, 2009

Percussion Gun [mp3]

We spoke with Matt Clark of White Rabbits about the influences of NYC and The Clash, their new album, It’s Frightening, touring the “fucking beautiful country” of America, the “tired of being tireds,” listening recommendations and plenty more. Read on:
LW: You’re a big group.
How would you describe your live show to a person who hasn’t seen you yet?
MC: Thank you for the compliment. I would describe the show as a “fun time for a long time listener or a first time caller.”

LW: What influences your songwriting/music?

MC: The ebb and flow of the city we live in, and the hopes and fears that everyone else has. Also The Clash.

LW: What’s it like when you all travel together?

MC: Well, half the band lives together and at a time we all lived together. So it’s business as usual when we are on the road. We do tend to have a gang mentality in general, and that helps to keep everyone together and focused when on the road.

LW: What was the experience like recording It’s Frightening at Rare Book Studios?  When you started, did you have a clear picture of where the album was going, or did it evolve?

MC: We had demoed the entire album before going into the studio, and had really worked on the composition of a lot of the older songs we had. We didn’t want to waste any time while we were in the studio. We also knew we wanted to make an album that you can put on and listen to from beginning to end, with peaks and valleys to emphasize (hopefully) a sense of emotion that can be related to the listener.  That seems like an obvious statement but I feel that a lot of people still listen to music with a sense of detachment from the person or people creating it.

LW: How did you go about capturing your mammoth live energy in recording?

MC: Thank you again. We knew we wanted a more live sound on this album before we even had started writing. I would have to give credit to the fact that we really knew what we wanted from spending so much time with these demos and getting an idea of how we wanted the drums to sound or the bass or whatever and then bringing that into the studio. A lot of the sounds on the album are the demo tracks, and that brings me to Britt Daniel and Nicholas Vernhes. They both understand that music, even recorded music, is more about feeling than perfection. And when we would forget and try to go for perfection they would remind us, and we are better off for it.

LW: White Rabbits is hitting the road again after a short break from touring. Are you itching to get back out to play more shows?

MC: Yes and No. I love love love playing shows, but its harder to write and harder to capture new ideas when you’re on the road stuck in a van. And you don’t get to see your loved ones back home. But there is nothing better than playing a good show to a great crowd or having a musician come up after the show and talk to you about how it was a positive experience. That is the thing for us, trying to force our musical ideas into your mind whether you like them or not.

LW: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of touring? Are there any special joints you look forward to visiting for memorable dining?

MC: There are so many amazing things about what I like to refer to as “the lifestyle”.  One of them being that America is a fucking beautiful country. And If you have the chance to go from NY to LA and back while never going through the same city, then by all means do it. Bad parts are as follows: Soreness, Illness, Mental Fatigue, Physical Fatigue at a certain point you will experience you fatigue having fatigue or a case of the “tired of being tireds”. You will smell. You will meet good people and most likely never see them again. You will meet bad people and somehow always see them. You will never want to lift anything ever again. You will have bad shows, but you will have great shows. Then again “the lifestyle” isn’t for everyone. As far as a favorite venue goes, The Bottletree in Birmingham, Alabama treats bands like kings and queens and is all around a great venue. I really think that it is the model for venues that are off the beaten path or that don’t have a large enough population of like minded young people.

LW: Whose music are you digging right now?

MC: Atlas Sound’s Logos is top to bottom amazing. Bradford is the hardest working man in rock and roll. He tours and somehow finds time to put out great albums from both of his projects. Animal Collective’s Merriwether Post Pavilion is the first album I can remember that lives up to and at points exceeds the hype. I’m looking forward to listening to this 10 years from now. The Horror’s Primary Colours is a really great rock album. There’s a sense of danger to it and sonically one of the best albums I’ve listened to in a while. Raekwon’s Only Built For Cuban Linx Pt.2 is exactly what I wanted it to be. And if you haven’t heard Mos Def’s The Ecstatic or seen his performance on Letterman then you have a project for the day.

LW: What’s next?

MC: I don’t know. But I’m going to make sure that it’s not what is happening today.

Go see White Rabbits live on tour with Suckers, Local Natives and Glass Ghost. Check tour dates HERE. Get It’s Frightening, (TBD Records, 5/19/09).

    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    justine September 30, 2009 at 1:46 am

    i love this song! thanks for posting.

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