1883 Magazine

It’s been a busy summer for Brighton quintet White Room. Racing up and down the country playing various festivals across the UK and signing a freshly penned record deal with Liverpool based label Deltasonic are just two of their milestone achievements.

No strangers to the Jack Rocks festival circuit, it seems only fair that this year they are a part of the Jack Rocks 7 contingency, as they continue their indie psych-rock trajectory alongside a career leaping from strength to strength. We caught up with vocalist Jake Smallwood and bassist Josie McNamara to learn more...

One of the new tracks is ‘The Blue’, I’m sure everyone wants to know, what is your favourite blue thing?

Jake: Either the Blue Man Group or Bear In The Big Blue House.

Josie: I would say Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’.

How is it being on your new record label, Deltasonic?

Josie: Amazing.

Jake: It’s very, very lovely actually, we’re yet to be in Liverpool with them, but we’re doing a run of shows in October/November time and we’re going to go up there and have a proper party. They’re a bunch of really lovely people, I think it’s going to be really special.

Josie: We’ve only met Ann but from what we know of her she’s so lovely.

Jake: They believe in the music as well.

Josie: Yeah and that’s so important to us.

Jake: It’s great to be a part of such an iconic label which is now coming back and rising up again.

How does a White Room song evolve?

Jake: It changes a lot, there will be songs that a couple of us will do together, there will be some where we are all in the room jamming it out or I’ll come up with an idea on my own, it’s very open.

Josie: ‘The Blue’ was when we were all in a room together, just jamming ideas, but it is very dependent and I like that as well because I think if you have a set way of writing music it becomes mundane.

Jake: Whatever works, works and that’s the most interesting and exciting way to do it because you never know what is coming next.

What’s your opinion on the Brighton music scene?

Josie: We all grew up in Brighton so it’s very much entrenched in us, it’s natural for people to be into music and to enjoy music.

Jake: There’s a lot of good stuff going on there and there’s a lot of great bands coming out of there. You’ve got the bigger stuff but then you’ve got us lot or The Magic Gang. There’s so many venues, and it’s all smaller venues, so you can go out any night of the week and you know that if you want to you’ll find something really special, which is incredible for a city. That’s really important, the small venue situation, there’s so many getting shut down across the country but Brighton has a very strong small venue situation, we don’t have many big ones but that’s not a bad thing either.

You guys smashed your set at The Great Escape this year too, which is obviously in Brighton, how did that feel?

Jake: It was very special.

Josie: It’s nice for us as well, Brighton has such a big part in who we are as people as well as music, so other bands that we know coming to Brighton to play the festival with us and to show that to them as well, it was really nice.

Jake: There’s definitely something about playing a hometown show that’s also tied in with such an iconic festival as well. The Hope and Ruin, where we played, is our local and if we can choose where we’re playing it’s the Hope and Ruin every single time, it’s just brilliant. We were on at midnight on the Saturday of Great Escape Festival, and with the queue outside the door half an hour before you go on, you can’t not put on a great show. That’s the sort of thing that gets you more buzzing than anything is walking into the venue and seeing a queue of people waiting outside.

Josie: It’s nice being able to walk to your house and not have to travel like 500 miles too.

What is your most rock ‘n’ roll story?

Josie: What about the hedgehog story? [laughs]

Jake: Our most rock ‘n’ roll story happened yesterday. We were coming back from a location where we are going to be shooting a music video on Monday and we were driving past Hove park and saw a hedgehog upside down in the middle of the road, so we stopped the car shouting, ‘no, no, no, someone save that hedgehog!’

Josie: We’re all screaming and crying saying, ‘please no one run over the hedgehog.’

Jake: We did a U-turn on the road and went back towards it, we pull up on the side of the road and I got out to go and turn this hedgehog the right way up however while we were driving past it our mate Tom was in the back going, ‘I think it’s a Beanie Baby.’

Josie: So Jake leaves and then comes back holding this thing and we’re like, ‘why are you holding the hedgehog?’

Jake: It was a damp toy hedgehog. We saved a hedgehog.

Josie: It just wasn’t a literal hedgehog.

How would you describe the rest of the band?

Josie: Jacob is one of the most talented guitar players I’ve ever met in my life and he’s humble about it, believe it or not.

Jake: He’s a humble stallion.

Josie: Tristan has got such a creative brain and he can enter into any world whenever he wants to. Whenever we’re stuck on an interesting synth line, or something that will make the song elevated and not the mundane, Tristan will always, always do that. Henry is the loveliest person you will ever meet in your life, he just takes everything on the chin and is a great drummer because of that, and we love them lots.

Jake: Josie is a flat out muse, a source of inspiration and creation in fairness – and I’m just a dickhead.

Josie: Everyone knows how great Jake is, I feel like that’s the thing that everyone focuses on.

What have you got coming up in the next year?

Josie: Exciting stuff.

Jake: Our double EP is getting drip fed as we speak, with lots of videos to back that up. Once that’s all out we’re going to be touring it, going around and playing as many shows as we can and just writing loads and loads.

Josie: We’ve got a headline tour coming up, we’re very excited about that. For us it’s the next stage because we’ve now got a label and people behind us so it’s taking things to a new level, it’s just entering that territory and stepping it up a gear.

Words by Shannon Cotton

Photography Anna Smith

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