Get To Know: Whitney
This band from Chicago will be on your playlists in no time...
They formed in 2015 shortly after the breakup of member Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich's band Smith Westerns in late 2014. They released their debut album, Light Upon the Lake, in June 2016, and it’s great.
We caught up with the band to find out a little bit more about them, check it out.
1. For those who don’t know about you and your music, tell us a little bit about who you are and where you’re from…
We’re a seven piece band from Chicago, we released our debut album Light Upon the Lake earlier this year and have been on the road ever since.
2. Describe your sound in three words…
3. You’ve all come from different projects, how did you come together as a band?
Complete luck, honestly. Julien and I have known each other since we were 18 or so, and he had moved to Chicago to be in my previous band Smith Westerns. After SW ended Jules and I were just messing around with a tape machine and came up with the first Whitney song before ‘Whitney’ really existed. After writing a couple more songs together we thought we should put together a band so we could play the songs live and basically enlisted the help of all of our best friends at the time--who also happened to play the instruments we were looking for (bass, piano, trumpet). There was one of those really special moments last February when we all basically quit our jobs on the same day to leave to go on tour, and we haven’t stopped touring yet.
4. Who are some of your biggest musical influences
I think a great part of this band is that each member brings his own influences to the sound but here are a few: The Band, Neil Young, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Miles Davis, Jim Ford, Mulatu Astatke, Amanaz.
5. Tell us about the writing and recording process for your new single/album…
Julien and I write the main song idea and develop initial arrangements usually by pacing around our apartment and talking through each little detail for a couple of days or so. Then we usually demo each song on our own tape machine and sometimes that demo ends up as the final version. ‘No Woman’ is actually the first recorded version of the song that Julien and I recorded in the livingroom of our Chicago apartment. However, for most of the album we went to LA to record with Jon Rado and mixed with Jacob Portrait. The biggest part of the recording process to us is making sure the songs sound organic and natural, we try not to use any reverb or modulation effects on anything--we try to keep the music and lyrics as honest as possible.
6. What can we expect from your live shows?
We try to have as much fun as possible. Just two nights ago a fan on twitter challenged us to play our instrumental ‘Red Moon’ for 10 minutes and he would buy ten albums--when the time came we asked who it was and he ended up to be standing in the front row; we made him take out his phone and time it and we came in right at ten minutes (with the help of our good friends in Sam Evian’s band, you should check them out). It was a challenge to keep interesting but I think it was a really special moment for audience and band to come together and participate in the performance together, also it was a little ridiculous and fun to try. I guess we’re just into opening the songs up live and showing audiences something that isn’t on the record.
7. You guys had a big run of festivals this summer. What has been your highlight so far?
This is a tough one. End of the Road is up there, Oya Festival, Pitchfork, Electric Picnic--honestly we’re happy to be playing any festival so it’s hard to judge, and pretty much every festival we have played has surprised us in a very positive way.
8. Have you met anyone and been totally starstruck?
I haven’t actually met him, but Charles Bradley was walking around one of the backstage areas and I felt pretty crazy.
9. What’s on your iPod/playlists that people wouldn’t expect?
Yesterday we listened to Jimmy Eat World in the van for a while and had way too much fun I think.
10. When can we see you live?
Hopefully soon! We’re leaving for a month long run in Europe on Friday so we should be around (you can check out all the show details right here.)