Take a step inside White Room’s world, where fizzing psychedelic tendencies fill the atmosphere and carnivalesque synths flow through the rivers. Hailing from Brighton, tambourine-wielding vocalist Jake Smallwood is joined by Jacob Newman on guitar, Tristan Sava on guitar and keys, Josie McNamara on bass and Hen Sava behind the drum kit to create White Room’s intricate fuzzy sound.
The quintet are recent signees to Liverpool-based label Deltasonic (also home to the likes of Hidden Charms and The Vryll Society) and the band are settling in well. “Even though we’re in Brighton, on the other side of the country, you still have that real family sort of thing. With Deltasonic it’s like being at home rather than being on some sort of musical bookshelf,” offers Jake after revealing they all stay in contact via WhatsApp. “Ann [Heston, label director]’s favourite emoji is the fist pump,” adds Josie.
Their first release on the aforementioned label is ‘Eight’, a collection of, you guessed it, eight tracks all exploring concepts and connotations surrounding the number both universally and personally. “Josie said, ‘there’s got to be some sort of significance with the number eight’ and after us looking at it and all the themes and suggestions you get from eight and infinity and all that sort of stuff we realised the lyrics all interlocked into those sort of ideas,” explains Jake.
The tracks in question were drip fed online over a short period of time, and then reassembled for the overall EP. “It’s all about hope, balance and looking to the future with positivity, and the number eight didn’t only have relevance with the themes in our music but also little things like we realised when we started recording the EP that I would have been in the band for eight months. Everything we see now is eight,” laughs Josie.
And it’s an accomplished sound which the band are, understandably, very proud of. “We were working a lot with different people which was really nice, and as a band we’re very controlled on our sound, we know what we want to hear and we know what’s in our heads and it’s great working with people who then take that a step further. It’s a really lovely working environment with them being able to get all of those wacky ideas you have in your head properly down and I think that’s come across really well with ‘Eight’,” Jake tells Clash.
It’s not only musical influences that inspired the release either and the band reveal they have more songs ready to unleash when the time is right. “It wasn’t just musical inspiration that fed it, it was worldwide cultural inspiration, whether it was art in itself or performance, we had songs that we would like to record and put out but we didn’t want to do them because they didn’t fit with the theme of ‘Eight’, so we thought we’ll hold off on that.”
In a time before White Room existed, and whilst still at school, whisperings of a future in music occurred when a few of the members decided to form a band called The Basis. Even though the first band skirted the indie and punk genres, did the experience have any profound effect on White Room? “We learnt how to perform in that band, I learnt a lot about writing and performance, but the music is completely different. Great tracks for our age but we’ve moved on quite a bit from that. But your early music career is always going to be something that defines you and where you go in the future because that’s your foundation,” says Jake.
As things wrap up Clash wonders, how does a band at White Room’s level measure success? A question which is summed up pretty well by Josie, “We’re in a position now where in comparison to other bands we’re not that successful but I already feel a large, overwhelming feeling of accomplishment because I feel like I'm writing the music I want to write and I’m creating the things that I want to create. I guess if I can carry on feeling like that into the future then that is a success.”
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Words: Shannon Cotton
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