INTERVIEW No such thing as too much rhythm

White Rabbits chat about tour, beats and life

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The White Rabbits launch into the percussion-heavy “Rudie Fails” from their latest album It’s Frightening at the Paradise Rock Club last Saturday.
Charles Lin—The Tech

The White Rabbits

At the Paradise Rock Club

May 1, 2010

The White Rabbits put on a show last Saturday night I can only describe as a whirlwind of rhythm someone lobbed a grenade into. Their songs are constructed from the shambles and wreckage. A descending piano line here, a trebled vibrato of guitars, and the strain of vocals, all scattered and re-assembled in the deafening echo chamber of that neverending percussion.

Luckily before my ears were obliterated, I was able to ask the band a few questions about life on the road and their most recent album, It’s Frightening.

TT: How was Coachella? I wish I could have been there. Which shows were you really excited to catch?

WR: Coachella was good. The weather was amazing. Major Lazer, Spoon, Pavement, Thom Yorke and especially Gorillaz.

TT: “Percussion Gun” (the lead single), with its driving and forceful rhythm line, sets the tone for It’s Frightening. What do you think this album is about thematically? What’s so frightening?

WR: The theme that we wanted to convey was that of ambiguity or the clear lack of a theme. Nothing is actually “frightening”. We wanted a title that was open for interpretation. Actually we wanted that space for personal interpretation to be present as much as possible.

TT: On a less serious note, is there such thing as too much percussion?

WR: Yes. But there can never be enough rhythm.

TT: Socal or the Northeast. Preferences?

WR: I can’t shed any new arguments on this one but I call New York home.

TT: Your wiki page used to say the band pretended to be from Brooklyn? Any truth to this? Do you miss Missouri?

WR: That’s amazing. I miss my friends back home the most. There are things I miss about it for sure but nostalgia isn’t really my thing. And yes we do live in New York. It’s not a hoax.

TT: Working with Brit Daniels. What did you take away from that experience?

WR: I had never really had a relaxing time in the studio before recording this album. Britt was able to keep us on task while we had fun and tried out different sounds. Which can be frustrating a times.

TT: Some reviews have noted that It’s Frightening feels and sounds a lot like a Spoon album. Are there similarities? Where do you feel the band puts its stamp on the material?

WR: Yeah. It’s weird to me to hear that, obviously. I think there are similarities to how we approach music. But to be honest I love those guys and if people want to make comparisons that’s fine. It’s a free country. But I will say that if you resist the need to constantly compare bands to each other you can really enjoy the music that much more, and isn’t that what it is about.

TT: You recently recorded an amazing Take Away show in L.A. (,5088). Could you describe that experience? What do you find appealing about recording in such an open and minimal format?

WR:That was a fun day. It’s nice to be able to do things like that while on tour to break up the routine. That whole day was improvised and everyone just worked with what we had. It definitely was a unique experience since we typically don’t play on beaches.

TT: The band has 37 tour dates in two months. Do the shows blur together? How do you make each night unique?

WR: They most certainly do blur together. But the show is what it’s all about. The show is the fun part. The reason you sit in a cramped van all day. We still enjoy playing shows and trying to play good ones.

TT: Does being on tour help with writing new material or do you need time away from the road to create?

WR: You can have a million ideas on the road. The problem with that is you don’t have the opportunity to record them. We are trying to figure out some ways to work on the road.

TT: What’s been your favorite on stage experience on this tour?

WR: There have been a lot of really great times. Our last show in Australia at southbound was really fun.

TT: Your tour ends right around the time we finish school. What will you be doing for summer vacation?

WR: Writing, mending relationships and writing.