White Fever are one of the most impressive bands I’ve ever had the good fortune to see live. Their combination of powerful sounds and stunning visuals make them much more than your average 4-piece band. If you’re gifted the chance to see them live I strongly urge you do so. For now, however, I recommend reading their words and listening to their music as I throw some questions their way;
Who are you, what are you and where are you?
We are Ida, Josh, Joe and Seán of White Fever an Anglo-Scandinavian dreampop band based in London.
Why did you start marking music? Who were your first great inspirations?
Ida: I started playing the guitar properly when I was 13. I had taken some lessons when I was younger but I just couldn’t learn that way. I had to sit down in peace and quiet and work it out for myself, learning songs I wanted to play. It wasn’t a decision I made – it just happened. I’ve been singing all my life and with the guitar the whole experience became even better. I remember teaching myself the songs from Jewel’s first album – Pieces Of You. I really loved that album and it made me want to learn each and every song so that I could sing them without playing the CD at the same time.
Seán: There was never really a conscious decision to start playing music as it has always been a big part of my life from as far back as I can remember. My Dad is a big music fan and a guitar player. Growing up as a kid I remember most weekends were spent with Dad at various friends houses where they would have long jam session into the night. My Dad got me my first guitar when I was about four or five I think, I was tiny but so was the guitar. I used to sit by his side on a little stool strumming along while he and his friends played old Beatles covers and it all kind of progressed from there really. I was lucky in the fact that my Dad had a great taste in music and I used to love listening to players like David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and Peter Green. When I got my first electric guitar around the age of ten or eleven these were my great inspirations.
How did the band get together. Has much changed since you started playing together?
Ida: I got in touch with Josh, who I knew vaguely from playing the same club nights. We started out playing a few songs I’d written previously before Joe and Sean joined later.
Since then the sound has changed a lot as we now essentially have three songwriters in the band. It helps our productivity and the fact that Sean does all of our recordings and production means that we always have work in progress. We all have different influences, which is reflected in our music. Everyone writes their own parts to the songs so everyone contributes.
How would you describe your sound?
Ida: We call it Dream pop, but it’s a mixture of influences really. It has sprinkles of ’60s spaghetti western, post-punk, shoegaze and rock to mention a few. And Josh and Joe are always partial to throwing in dancey rhythms.
You describe yourself as an Anglo- Scandinavian dream pop band – do you take much inspiration from Scandinavian artists? Are there any particular that inspire you?
Ida: I’m from Sweden, so that’s where the Scandinavian influence comes from. For me it’s more about the heritage and growing up there that influences me in my writing. The snow, the forests and the stillness is in my blood.
I don’t necessarily have a particular Scandinavian artist who influences me, but there are a lot of good Swedish musicians out there and I think music is a big part of our identity as a country.
Do you feel having a female lead singer makes a difference in the way people see the band?
Ida: It shouldn’t make a difference whether you’re female or male, it should be about the music and your performance and not your gender. It does happen that promoters put a bunch of female-fronted bands on the same bill, as if we’re all the same genre just because there’s a girl in the band. That’s poor attention to detail on their behalf.
Where should we be looking to find new music? Who is worth keeping an eye on? (besides yourselves, of course)
Josh: Our good friends Twin Graves, a very nostalgic post-punk, synthy pop duo. They played at our launch party and we love ‘em. (Read our interview with Twin Graves here!)
Joe: Another great new band is Bat and Ball, Ive known the guys for years having played with a lot of them in the past, but a complete package of brilliant songwriters and terrific musicians and nice enough to invite us to play with them at their last single launch.
What does music mean to you?
Joe: Music means a huge amount to all of us. Too much so to answer in this question I’m afraid.
Ida: Music is such an important aspect of our lives in so many ways that I can’t even begin to explain what it means. As a band it’s ultimately about exchanging ideas and creating something new; something that started off small and simple suddenly grows and develops a life of its own. It’s a great feeling when all the components of a song suddenly feel right and come together. It gives you a rush and those moments of feeling completely in sync keep you coming back for more.
What are you hoping to achieve with your music?
Joe: The great thing about this band is that at no point have we sat down and said like, ‘in 5 years time we’ll be touring the world’, or ’10 years time we’ll be playing Wembley stadium!!’, we’ve just always put our heads down and worked as hard as possible. This complete immersion in the creative/rehearsing side of things has meant that when stuff does work out for us, and we do get great offers for gigs etc, it validates everything we’ve worked so hard for and we can truly enjoy those successes. We don’t know whats going to happen and we wouldn’t like to speculate, but I think I can speak for all of us when I say we’ve loved every moment of it so far and the future could only be exciting and positive.
When I saw you recently you had some brilliant visuals on show, why did you decide to add this element to your performance?
Josh: As a filmmaker I’m all about how something looks visually, and after years of playing in different bands in the smallest and biggest venues, the one thing I took away was – if you don’t create an atmosphere it’s a completely different experience. Watching back performance videos of bands on a stage with one garishly bright light shining on them.. I just couldn’t be doing that with White Fever. I’ve made a film for every song we have, which is projected onto us wirelessly from my laptop on stage that I use to trigger for each song. It means we have to be super tight, luckily we are animals when it comes to rehearsing as playing live is such an important thing to us.
How do you think bands should be going about getting their music heard? Is it simply a case of getting yourselves out there as much as possible?
Josh: What I’ve taken the most from past bands is that if you don’t have everyone in the band being completely 100% dedicated to the cause – it’s going nowhere. White Fever is the first band I’ve been in where every person is as passionate as each other. We work really hard to create what we’ve created and it’s so exciting to see so many other people are enjoying it too.
Where can we see you live in the next few months?
Josh: We’re squeezing in a few shows before new year, 20th November supporting Oscar & the Wolf at Electrowerkz, 21st November at The Lock Tavern and then a special Christmas show at Dalston’s Servant Jazz Quarters on 17th December.
Who is your least favourite cartoon character?
Josh: Cyril Sneer, awesome name – but what a fiend!