Some things in life are so close to perfection that the difference becomes impossible to discern. When Whitney introduced themselves earlier this year, debut cut 'No Woman' seemed to erase that line even further, with its plangent, aromatic tale of loss, grief, and drifting endlessly across the American continent.
It's not something which has come easy, though. The band evolved from the wreckage of Smith Westerns, and places guitarist Max Cacacek against multi-talented singer/drummer Julian Ehrlich. Making the decision to write songs together, it seems, was an easy one – the pair are flat mates.
“It was weird because me and Max were both working on other stuff before we started writing the Whitney album,” Julian reflects. “Like, immediately post Smith Westerns. We kind of realised that those projects weren't going to work, for whatever reason. They weren't going to work once we started writing the Whitney stuff. Once we wrote the first two songs for the album we realised that we had something really special, and we just wanted to dive in.”
“And it was also really exciting because both Max and I hadn't properly sat down and written together. It was fun to add that element to our friendship, which was already really strong.”
The fulcrum of friendship that balances Whitney perhaps explains how their material can wind up being so emotionally candid. Debut album 'Light Upon The Lake' has its fair share of tear-jerkers, drawing blissfully upon those end-of-night conversations when doubts are relayed and fears are admitted.
It's an openness that took time, and no small degree of plain hard work. “We're definitely super, super obsessive,” he says. “Once we got the mastered album back I was like: holy shit, I can't believe we were in that much of a crazy, obsessive, manic state of mind.”
“It's weird,” he adds. “It was a chilled out process, in a lot of ways, because our only goal when were there was to record the record. But I was still stressing out, freaking the fuck out the whole time. But it was more an internal stress – I know this sounds good, but mixing might help it, and so forth. I think any time you're making something that you've put your absolute heart and soul into, you're going to treat it like it's your fucking kid.”
'Light Upon The Lake' is certainly something to be cherished – a record with a rare sense of atmosphere, it's obsession with the transient translates into the timeless. It's powerful, boasting an impact that Whitney themselves are only just coming to grips with. “In the back of our heads, it's like: these are the best songs we've ever written. But it's random, because you never really know. You try to tell yourself that you don't give a shit whether or not people get into it, but you do. You want people to like your stuff because that means you'll continue to do it.”
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