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September 2020 (Arlo Parks)

White Lies: Friends with benefits

With fourth album 'Friends' on the way, frontman Harry McVeigh fills us in on the details.
Published: 9:00 am, August 09, 2016
White Lies: Friends with benefits
It's hard to believe White Lies have already had three Top 5 albums, but since their 2009 debut 'To Lose My Life...' went straight in at Number 1, that's exactly what they've achieved. The trio are about to launch into their fourth, with 'Friends' arriving this October. Frontman Harry McVeigh fills us in on the details.

You were briefly without a label while putting ‘Friends’ together, what impact did that have?

The lack of a label definitely gave us a lot more time to write the album. As a result we finished the process with a good body of material and eventually had to fight over which songs would make it on the record, which is a good problem to have. We also have loads of extra tracks which I’m sure everyone will hear eventually, including the title track of the album, which didn’t make it!

How representative of the release is new track ‘Take It Out On Me’? Do you explore any new territory on the album?

There is a good variety on the record, we have a few upbeat and faster tracks like this one and a lot of atmospheric and down tempo moments as well. The main area of exploration on this album was actually trying to write a few songs with a real groove. We played a few shows towards the end of the last campaign where we felt it would have been really nice if we could get people dancing. So we wrote a couple of songs, “Hold Back Your Love” and “Is My Love Enough”, with a sort of dusty disco feel to them, I think they work really well.

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You’ve said that the single was inspired by “a lunatic on Instagram who kept commenting on a friend’s photos” - is that the most unusual source of inspiration on the record, or do you have more tales like that?

Charles writes lyrics based on all sorts of weird and wonderful experiences, unfortunately the original lyrics for this song ended up being a little too strange and Charles re-wrote them to what they are now. I remember when Charles spoke to me about the idea for them and showed me this dudes videos and he was a real nut job but it’s really fascinating that you can connect with these people through the power of the internet, in medieval times he would probably have been a hermit. I really hope we can release a version of this song with the original lyrics because they were really interesting. It was the wildest idea that Charles has ever come to me with!

Would you say ‘Friends’ is the band’s best album to date?

I really don’t know, I hope so! I think you have to get a lot of distance from a record in order to appreciate how well it stands up against other records. I’m definitely looking forward to playing this material live and I think you get a good idea of what songs work well when you start playing them.

"pull" text="The hardest part of growing up is when you face a challenge and realise that you have to conquer it on your own.

The changing nature of relationships is one of the record’s themes - what do you think is the hardest part of growing up?

The hardest part of growing up is when you face a challenge and realise that you have to conquer it on your own. In that sense I don’t think I’ve ever really grown up because I go through moments like that every day!

What did you find most challenging while making ‘Friends’?

The new challenge for us was that we were much more in charge of this record than we have been with any of our others. We had to piece together the parts of the album being engineered and produced by different people in different places. Looking back at this process I can see how far we’ve come as a band.

Is there anything else we should know about the album?

We played instruments that were used on the first two Roxy Music albums, how cool is that!! Working in Bryan Ferry’s studio you were surrounded by pieces of musical history, it was very exciting!

Album release aside, what are you most looking forward to between now and the end of the year?

Jack is getting married. It’s going to be a wonderful moment for all of us.

White Lies’ album ‘Friends’ is out 7th October.

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