“I would make up stories in the form of songs in my head,” said White Arrows singer Mickey Church of his childhood vision problems, “but it was mostly my sense of smell that my memories are related to. I think interpretation is important for me to understand what I mean. It’s like I have intentions, but it may take someone else to interpret those intentions for it to make sense to me. Mystery is always more exciting.”
Tonight Church will take the stage at House of Blues in Cleveland alongside his bandmates–John Paul Caballero, Steven Vernet, and Andrew Naeve–as direct support for The Neighbourhood. White Arrows, which formed in 2011, is made up of a group of friends who’ve joined together and created music which has been described by fans as “psychotropical.”
“I think someone used it for us,” Church responded when asked what exactly that meant, “or it may have been a joke. But it’s a reference to psychotropic drugs I’d imagine.” And one listen through a cut will make it clear why they’ve been described as such: the band effortlessly blends a trippy sound with a heightened musicality that creates a lush soundscape that’s always infused with sunshine. We had the chance to talk to Church about the impact other senses have on their sound, the writing process, and how life differs on either coast. Check it out and grab your tickets here to see them tonight at House of Blues!
How much of an influence do you think visual art has on music and vice versa?
They are joined together. Even the absence of music is powerful because of us being accustomed to hearing music in movies, and whatnot. I always loved that relationship.
How involved are you with the video production for your songs?
I’m pretty hands on. I’ve been really set on certain people, especially for this record, to be the “team” to make ideas come to life. Most of them are my best friends that are amazing artists in other fields, but they just get it. So I’ll give keywords, or references and concepts, and they use their skills to actually make them come to life even more magical sometimes than I anticipated.
Music and art classes are being cut throughout the country in a lot of public schools. How would that have impacted your life, growing up without art or music?
I went to really small schools, so any art or music I did was on my own. I think that cutting those classes, however, will stunt the left brain growth and our artistic people won’t be nurtured as much, which is scary. It wasn’t until college that I actually got full control of the types of classes I got to take.
You went to school at NYU for a bit. Did life in that city change how you perceived music at all?
My taste in music started in high school with some older kids showing me some deeper stuff that wasn’t being played on the radio, but definitely expanded living in New York. There’s a competitive edge in the city that makes you just want to know and learn about every subculture, or deep cut.
What influence has life back on the West Coast had on your music?
Just space. I can write and record at home, and not have to worry about making too much sound. I can go on walks and not feel bombarded by people.
Is the writing process collaborative or does it sort of stem from one person?
It’s usually Andrew and I that do all the writing. We hole up in the house and write and record, sometimes I bring an idea, or sometimes he does, and then other people will add in some flavor.
Do you write while you’re on the road, too?
No, I wish I could do that. It normally takes us getting home and having some time off.
Currently you’re touring with The Neighborhood. How did you get paired with them?
We played a few shows with them before we played Coachella last year and hit it off. Then we ran into them kinda recently, and they offered us the tour.
What is one of the greatest lessons touring has taught you?
That humans can adapt to extreme circumstances and live outside of their comfort.
Again, White Arrows are playing tonight at the House of Blues in Cleveland with The Neighbourhood. Doors open at 7pm, show begins at 8pm. Tickets are $29.50 for standing room or $33.50 for seated.