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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

ďHappy People Write Bland MusicĒ: The Whitey Interview Nobody Asked For

posted by on March 20 at 13:12 PM

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Things are looking up for Whitey.

I recently interviewed Whitey (AKA Nathan J. Whitey) for Alternative Press magazine, but could use only a tiny fraction of his responses. After the jump, I print the interview in its entirety, for all the diehard (and future) Whitey fans out there. Heís an interesting cat and his music, as heard on The Light at the End of the Tunnel Is a Train, often sounds like a beautifully morose collision between glam and krautrock. I can get with it.

Whitey plays Chop Suey April 10.

How does your [self-admitted] misanthropy affect your music-making process?

A misanthrope is a loose termÖ it doesnít have to mean you hate all humanity, Iím not an extremist or a complete loner. Itís more about a healthy mistrust of peopleís motives, and the comfortable distance that comes with this. If you live at that distance, this makes you an Outsider. And distance from anything helps you put it in perspective. Part of me is always watching everyone and taking notes.

How did your first N. American tour go? Any revelations? Any disasters? What was the most important thing you learned on that tour?

It was a very interesting month. RevelationsÖ many. Americans in the suburbs I went to arenít all obese. Thatís possibly a European myth. However, they would be if they ate breakfast at Dennyís every day like we did at first. It was like Supersize Me. I felt if I didnít stop having breakfast there, I would start sweating fat.
Any disasters? Charlottesville, Virginia. We played in the University area, and went to the campus bar for a late-night afterhours drink, invited by a couple of nice blonde, sporty, wholesome girls. Unfortunately, the bar was full of blonde, sporty, wholesome jocks. A big sweaty bunch of knuckle-dragging oafs. We left after our first round, slammed down in front of us by the shirtless bug-eyed cretin of an owner with the words ďI ainít got nothing against faggots but yíall gots to leave.Ē Charming. I was unable to obtain any spray paint before we left town that night, which was a shame as I was planning on writing FAG BAR in massive letters across the glass frontage. It would have given the cretin a stroke. Actually, if anybody reading this on that campus wants to do this for me, itís the bar/pizza place with a big painted mushroom on its sign, built onto the side of that big bland white hotel. Photos to www.myspace.com/hellowhitey. A handsome reward for the most creative effort.
Most important thing on this tour? That if you have to spend a month in a small van with six men, Valium is your best friend.

What inspires you to create music?

Failure, frustration, revenge, ambition, poverty, drunks, thugs, outsiders, obsession, falling in and out of love, women, drugs, drugs, drugs, a sentence in a book, a line in a film, idiots on trashy reality TV. Everything.

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is A Train is stylistically diverse; that being said, it strikes me as one of the more natural-sounding works that combine rock and electronic music. Do see yourself continuing with that sort of eclecticism or do you plan to narrow your focus at some point?

Iíll go wherever I end up. MeaningÖ I donít really know. I try not to think too deeply about what I do. I canít always avoid it, though. When I do over-intellectualize things, I freeze up. Any creative process is most effective when itís instinctive. The new album as it stands now is stylistically all over the place, and I like it that way. On a good day, that is. On a bad day Iíll worry that itís not eclectic, itís unfocused. Firing at too many targets and not hitting any dead center. Itís a natural reaction when so many musicians/bands stuffed down our throats by the media are so stylistically rigid. Itís seen as a bad thing by labels, and by a lot of UK journalists if they canít stuff something in a pigeonhole. The world would be a happier (and more orderly) place if they all just got jobs with the Postal Service.

In my opinion, the dominant mood of The Light is morose euphoria. Toward which end of the emotional spectrum do you mostly lean, or are you pretty well balanced between them?

Letís just say I lean downwards. And imbalance is fruitful. Happy people write bland music, period. To quote 19th-century asylum graffiti, ďBlessed Are The Cracked, For They Let In The Light.Ē That pretty much sums up every decent musician, artist, or author I can think of.

Who's your favorite krautrock band, and why?

I donít really have one, I donít listen to a lot of music, and I own very little. Iím a book nerd, not a music buff. The only krautrock band that springs to mind is obvious. Can. Oh, and Grauzone. I suppose they are krautrock. Eisbaer is pretty linear and cold.

What are your plans for 2007?

Finish Great Shakesā and sign it to somebody. I still donít have a record deal. Itís very frustrating. Anybody with an offer and an aversion to pigeonholes please get in touch. I also want to study screenwriting and sell my first script to a fat mogul. And stick to writing a journal. A side effect of my lifestyle is my short-term memory is pretty patchyÖ I need to start writing things down or Iím going to wake up one morning in an old folks home with one lung, no nose, and hepatitis, and wonder what the fuck I did for 40 years.

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Great stuff, Dave. This guy sounds like hoot.

Posted by Eric Grandy | March 20, 2007 1:23 PM

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