White Lies On Getting Stranded In Russia With Gun-Toting Men
Thank you to the band's drummer, Jack Lawrence-Brown, for putting up with our silly questions.
Using the song titles from White Lies’ latest album, Friends, as launch pads for a series of random (but revealing) questions, we found out about getting stranded in Russia with gun-toting men, killer hangovers and being accused of being “quite boring”.
Thanks to Jack Lawrence-Brown, White Lies’ drummer, for putting up with our silly questions.
Track one: ‘Take It Out On Me’
What’s the worst insult that someone’s thrown at you?
“Ooo. That's quite a tricky question actually.
“I think over the years, as a band, the thing that gets levelled at us quite often, which might not even be unfair to be honest, maybe it's completely true – and I sometimes take offence from it – is when people say we’re quite boring. But actually we're just quite professional, and enjoy our jobs. You don't need to be chucking TVs out of a window every night to be an interesting band.”
Track two: ‘Morning In LA’
Have you ever woken up somewhere you didn’t expect?
“Maybe this is a bit of a band cliché, but when you're touring Europe and you're on a tour bus, every morning I wake up and have to check Google Maps to find out where I actually am. It's just a weird or disconcerting element of a job - of waking up in a different place every day. You just have to promise, wherever you are, whether it's Stockholm or Hull, you've got to have a go of it.”
Track three: ‘Hold Back Your Love’
Have you ever been star-struck by someone?
“To be honest with you, I don't think I have, I don't really get that emotion from famous people. We've done Letterman and Leno. Seeing them - it's just trippy because you're like, 'okay, that's one of the most famous people in America, if not the world.’ And they shake your hand and say 'great song' like they do to every single band that comes on their show. You have that moment: 'this is definitely surreal'. I would've been starstruck if I met Bowie, but I never did.”
Track four: ‘Don’t Want To Feel It All’
What’s the most hungover you’ve ever been?
“At the end of the UK/Europe tour that we just did, we finished with two shows in Greece. When we arrived, we went out with our lighting guy, Matt, and our manager, Nathan, who’s a bit legendary actually - he used to manage Happy Mondays - he's the real deal. He loves a party.
“We ended up at this insane house party/ bar thing down this side street full of really cool-looking Greek people in Athens. We stayed until 5 or 6 in the morning, and had a gig the next night. I just remember waking up on the show day and the first thing I did was go to the bathroom for a wee and then, before I'd even managed to achieve that, I was vomiting into the bath.
“The hangover lasted until 30 seconds before the show. I was terrified. I'm usually quite good, I take the shows seriously and am quite professional. This hangover was so punishing. If the show had been a disaster because I was hungover, I would never have forgiven myself. People had bought tickets for the shows...it would've been the worst thing in the world to turn up and be some knobhead drummer who's too hammered and is a state. But the adrenalin kicked in and I survived it.”
Track five: ‘Is My Love Enough’
What do you love the most in the world?
“The obvious answer would be my wife, because otherwise I would get in trouble. Definitely my wife. But when you're away on tour, I miss cooking. When you're on the tour bus for three months, you can't cook. I love to cook.”
Track six: ‘Summer Didn’t Change A Thing’
What change would you like to make about your life?
“I would've liked more time to work on our second record. I think we had to rush our second record slightly. That's a small detail I'd change. Maybe I'd change it so that we're successful enough to fly business class or first class everywhere we tour, that would be kind of amazing. But also quite unrealistic.
“That's the one thing I dislike about touring, is getting on a long ass flight and being sat in economy class like everyone else, wishing you were at the front of the plane.
“Some bands do sit at the front of a plane. I wish it was White Lies (laughs).”
Track seven: ‘Swing’
(Sorry if this is a stretch, but here we go.) Swing is a form of music. Is there any form of music that you can’t stand?
“I'm quite open-minded and will give most things a real go. I have to say, Charles and Harry are quite big fans of Black Metal, and I have no interest in doom-laden metal at all. Some metal I could listen to, but some of the stuff Charles and Harry put on in the dressing room...some of it is very clever and musical, but some of it is the worst (laughs). I think it's more the environment: backstage in a dressing room, the atmosphere you need to create is one of relaxation and preparation, not of very angry men from Norway.”
Track eight: ‘Come On’
(This is even more of a stretch. Apologies to everyone affected. The next question is good, stick around for that, if you want.) What has happened that's so unbelievable that you've said the words "oh, come on" in the English language.
“That is a bit of a stretch. But you've pushed through. Maybe we should be more creative with our song titles. Next album! But yeah, 'come on'.
“At Shepherds Bush Empire, it was a bit trippy to come out after eight years to see so many people to still come out and see us. When you take a bow at the end, that's when you actually get to see everyone, and you're like 'this shouldn't be a real job. I can't believe this is a job.'”
Track nine: ‘Right Place’
When have you found yourself in the wrong place, at the wrong time?
“When we were shooting a music video for ‘Farewell To The Fairground’, which was one of the first ones we did, we filmed in Northern Russia, in the middle of winter. The bit we were filming in was in the Arctic Circle.
“To get there, you have to fly to a place called, Tromsø which is in the north of Norway, and you have to take a border crossing to Russia. So we flew out.
“This was 8,9 years ago, but even then the Russian atmosphere to four 19 year olds and a film crew going into Russia was quite icy. They didn't really like us doing it.
“So we went and filmed the video, and when we were coming back at the border, I went to the loo and came back out to see the mini bus, with the crew and the band, driving off into the distance. They'd forgotten me.
“They'd left me at the border with these five huge Russian dudes with submachine guns. I've got no reception in the middle of Northern Russia. I just had to stand in the snow and wait for them to realise that they were missing one third of the band. I was very nervous, not the most pleasant experience. Left to die.
“Fortunately, they came back, and White Lies were able to continue as a band.”
Track ten: ‘Don’t Fall’
What’s the highest height you’ve fallen from?
"Do you know what, I've never fallen from a high height. I'm doing all right. I aim to keep it that way. I went for a run, like a 20-mile run, and 10 miles in I tripped over a paving slab and I tore both of my knees open. I didn't have my phone or any money. I was 10 miles from my house, so I had to dust myself down and run another 10 miles. That was my worst fall. Touch wood."
White Lies will be heading out on a UK tour in February, starting in Newcastle on the 23rd. They will also be supporting The Killers at BST Hyde Park on July 8. White Lies’ latest album, Friends, is out now.
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