Interview: The Pale White

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Newcastle three-piece The Pale White gained high profile support from the likes of NME and BBC Introducing in their early days, and – despite the global pandemic grinding the music scene as we know it to a halt – they haven’t slowed down.

The indie rock band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Adam Hope, his brother Jack on drums, and their long-time friend Tom Booth on bass. The band cite Pixies, Nirvana, and Interpol as influences, and have been compared to Queens of the Stone Age due to their energetic live performances and thunderous, anthemic rock sound.

On 23 April, the band’s debut album Infinite Pleasure will be released. The band currently have four singles, ‘Glue’, ‘Take Your Time’, ‘Confession Box’ and a reworked version of their 2016 single, ‘That Dress’.

From performing in local pubs to sold out tours in the UK and Europe, the band have found themselves a loyal – and rapidly expanding – fan base, and I have a feeling things will only getting better for them. Despite the challenges that the last year presented for musicians and non-musically gifted folk alike, the band are going full speed ahead towards their new chapter. I spoke to the band to find out more about them, their debut album “Infinite Pleasures” and what’s coming next.

THE INDIEPENDENT: Congratulations on your debut album, Infinite Pleasure! Before we talk a bit about that, I just wanted to know how the band started out? Were you always making music? 

ADAM: It all started with bedroom demos, which were put online just for the craic. One of the songs was called ‘I Want a Reaction’ which became ‘Reaction’ two years later. People really liked it so I thought let’s get a band together, Jack’s my brother and then we brought Tom in and that was that. We were called Sundance, which wasn’t a very good name!

THE INDIEPENDENT: How does it feel to work and perform alongside your brother? 

ADAM: If you like headlocks! No, we don’t argue very much. Any band would be lying if they said they don’t have little bickers over songwriting parts or whatever. I couldn’t imagine it any other way. It’s pretty harmonious, I don’t think we’ve ever had any proper scraps. 

THE INDIEPENDENT: You’ve toured with some big names. What’s been your favourite/funniest moment?

ADAM: Touring with Sam Fender. His band are really, really funny (good craic). It was our first (and currently only) experience in Europe, which was a different kettle of fish! It’s amazing playing over there, so I guess those are probably highlights. The Amazons, too, the tour bus was class! We shared bunk beds with them. 

THE INDIEPENDENT: Any bad experiences?

ADAM: There was this time in Liverpool where everything went wrong! Not us, just the venue falling apart and stuff.

THE INDIEPENDENT: Who’s the best band you’ve toured with? Who’s made you feel most comfortable as newcomers?

ADAM: Twin Atlantic, they’re such nice guys! They’ve been around for a while and they’re still playing incredible shows, it’s amazing. They’re really helpful and encouraging, they’re really supportive of up and coming bands. They actually watch the set and stuff and the drummer is probably the nicest person I’ve ever met. It’s quite hard sometimes to get slots, quite often you’ll find yourself in a position where you haven’t had the experience to get to know many bands and a lot of bands take their friends on tour. When we announced (our tour in December), we get 100 bands like “can you take us?” (50 of them probably being our friends). To actually have the opportunity (especially in the early days) to tour with bands like Twin Atlantic was an incredible experience. 

THE INDIEPENDENT: So, your new album’s called Infinite Pleasure; did anything inspire that title? 

ADAM: Sounds so pretentious and deep, but I got obsessed with the concept of life itself and constantly being on the chase, never really stopping to realise milestones or achievements. You’re always on the next thing; you can think of something your whole life and have that be your ultimate goal and then, when you’ve got there, you don’t even realise. Life just seems to be like a conveyor belt. That was sort of the idea behind it.

There were a few things that sparked it off including the Jim Carrey documentary (The Great Beyond). He explains that he’s achieved everything he could ever imagine and more, and still wasn’t happy. You always think the easy answers to happiness and stuff are things like money, but sometimes you might still not know what you want. It sort of related to the band in terms of when we play a festival. We’ll always point out the bigger stage and go, “we’ll be there next year”. 

You don’t really take a step back and appreciate what you’re doing at the time until hindsight kicks in and you’re like, ‘that was pretty good.’ Life is always on the chase, and that’s the concept behind it (the album name).

THE INDIEPENDENT: Did you have the songs on the album pre-planned, or was it random?

ADAM: We’ve been thinking about the album for a few years. We had a few different track lists in mind and it just kept evolving as we evolved, and by the time we actually got to album, we had to make a final decision, and newer songs always win. You always feel like the last thing you’ve done is the best thing (you’ve done). So a lot of songs got kicked off the album: ‘Unnatural,’ ‘Swim for Your Life,’ which were all meant to be in the album, didn’t make it in the end, because we wanted to make way for new material, and it’s better for us. We’ve evolved so much in the past few years and this album is a showcase of that.

THE INDIEPENDENT: My favourite track off the album is ‘That Dress.’ What was your favourite to record?

ADAM: ‘Sonder.’ We recorded (the track) live and got a bit pissed and stuff, and we were all jumping around (even the engineer and producers). We had that energy, so that track has great memories. For me, it’s ‘Infinite Pleasure’ (the title track), it’s everything I wanted it to be, it’s really deep, and I’d been listening to a lot of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club the past few years and stuff, and it portrays what I’d been listening to these past few years, and we kept going back to (that track) in the sessions. We couldn’t leave it alone, we just kept wanting to hear it again and add something else. 

The album sessions were in two half’s (2019/2020). We started in 2019, so we worked on that song for like a year and by the time we got back to it (in 2020) we had new ideas to add to it. That felt like a real journey. 

THE INDIEPENDENT: With the pandemic and lockdown, people had a lot of time to perfect (and add to) their playlists. Are there any particular artists/songs you’ve got on yours?

ADAM: We always go back to (the same names). Flyte’s new album, Tiger Cub.

JACK: King Gizzard and The Wizard Lizard. Also acts like Talking Heads.

ADAM: It’s really hard to define what was 2020 and what’s been 2021, because we’ve been in the house the whole time! 

TOM: Ben Howard’s new album is really good, too. 

ADAM: (Fellow Geordies) Pigs, they’re great. 

THE INDIEPENDENT: What does this album mean to you as a band? It’s taken a long time (five years)

ADAM: I’d be lying if I didn’t say it means the world to us. It’s tough being in new bands, it really is. It’s much harder to get to things (especially being more of an independent band). It’s hard to get to a stage where you can release an album, where you can sustain still doing it during a global pandemic. It’s a shame, you hear a lot of acts splitting up and stuff. We’ve survived, we’re here, and it means the world.

THE INDIEPENDENT: Covid-19 permitting, you recently announced you’re embarking on a tour in December. How are you feeling ahead of it?

ADAM: Excited, very excited! It feels like the holiday of a lifetime. It’s that infinite pleasure thing again, because you get so used to doing stuff and the things that make you happiest and then that’s randomly taken away (and I’m sure  everyone can agree). I’m sure everyone’s experienced it, to some extent, that when lockdown kicked in, they had something taken away from them. Maybe it was just part of their everyday life/routine. You don’t realise how much those little things mean to you. 

So when you ask about live music – it’s like ecstasy. It’s euphoric . It’s the best feeling to know that we’re going to be going back out (on tour), and announcing it has been just as exciting as actually doing the tour.

THE INDIEPENDENT: What are you most looking forward to about performing in front of a live crowd again?

ADAM: Self validation. To step out to that many fans that love your music has always been something that keeps you wanting to do it as well. We’ve been deprived of that for so long that we need it! You find as a band you need that kind of validation, you need to know how people feel about what you do. 

We get as much out of it as anyone does that comes to a gig and enjoys the show, you know. If we get to do that every night it’s an incredible feeling.

THE INDIEPENDENT: What songs do you think will go down well with a live crowd?

Adam: ‘Sonder,’ maybe. ‘Glue’ will go down really well. ‘Infinite Pleasure,’ the title track, will go down well.

It’s tough, because usually when you release tracks, you get a vibe. You know how people will react when you’ve played it live before. We haven’t even played ‘Glue’ live. We played an old version of ‘Take Your Time.’ Obviously ‘Medicine’ and ‘That Dress’ have been out before, but the whole album is a bit of a surprise. We went into recording the album not knowing how people were going to take it at all. So, yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what people think of the rest of the album. 

TOM: You get to test run things and I don’t know how people are going to react.

ADAM: It’ll be interesting.

THE INDIEPENDENT: One thing that we do know is 2021 is going to be a big year for the band (with the album release and the tour). Is there anything else you’ve got in store?

Adam: To state the obvious, it’s such a weird time. Everything’s starting to start back up now. We only found out we were going on tour about two weeks ago! A big thing could be we have a European tour we’ve been pushing back what feels like forever (best part of a year). We had it scheduled for last September, now to this September, which looks like it’ll be moved back again. By the time we actually get to go to Europe and do our own headline shows, it’s going to be a very special moment.

Album two. We’re excited to start the whole process again.

Words by Jen Rose.


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