Buzz works for record deals
White Lies. Picture: Supplied

To celebrate their fifth anniversary and road-test third album Big TV, London pop-rock trio White Lies returned to the venue of their first ever gig.

The band, which formed at high school as Fear of Flying before changing to their present moniker in 2008, played three intimate shows at the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen last July.

Funnily enough, those 2013 gigs as an established major label act were far less chaotic than the debut performance.

Chatting in the canteen at _The West Australian _ during their recent tour with Thirty Seconds to Mars, White Lies explained that their manager had somehow drummed up plenty of buzz ahead of that 2008 club gig.

"It was a ridiculous situation," bassist Charles Cave recalls. "I think we'd been offered a couple of deals before we even played that first show. Most people had only heard two songs. I suppose that's testament to how ridiculous the music industry can be sometimes."

Drummer Jack Lawrence- Brown weighs in: "Everybody came to the show from all the different labels and they all s… themselves because they saw (each other) . . . sure enough, the next morning we had six or seven deals on the table."

Healthily cynical singer Harry McVeigh reckons that, given the hype surrounding their first forays, White Lies are "pretty lucky" to have made it as far as three albums.

McVeigh admits he enjoys sending the band's management and label emails whingeing about life on the road, despite the fact they love it. White Lies completed their first headlining tour of Asia before landing in Perth.

"Gallows humour is very important to keep managers on their toes," Lawrence-Brown offers. "Otherwise they get complacent."

There was little complacency when it came to writing and recording Big TV, a loose concept album about a naive girl who moves to a bustling metropolis.

McVeigh and Cave, who write most of White Lies' songs, decamped to an isolated cottage studio out in the English countryside, much like the titular pair in Withnail and I.

The threesome then went into whichever North London home eccentric and peripatetic producer Ed Buller - and his "amazing voluptuous hair for a 50-year-old" - was renting to complete pre-production.

Buller and band then headed to ICP Studios in Brussels where the same team had made 2009 debut . . . To Lose a Life.

White Lies say that the producer is "old school" and "a dying breed".

"He throws himself so far into it that he can't step back," McVeigh explains.

"He's a member of the band, in effect," Cave adds.

"I would definitely say that any band that just wants to be recorded, you should not work with Ed," Lawrence-Brown expands.

"Ed will tell you the songs are wrong, or everything is in the wrong key or the verse isn't good enough - he won't back down."

White Lies wouldn't have it any other way and were pleased with their fans' enthusiastic reaction to Getting Even when the track was released as a free download two months out from the album.

"I think our biggest regret on this album is that we didn't just release the album after we put that up, because it had an amazing response," Cave muses.

Buller also encouraged the band to explore their 80s influences; Be Your Man echoes the Cars, while Tricky to Love could be a Duran Duran off-cut.

"The inspiration to Tricky to Love was actually Sade," McVeigh insists. "We listened to a lot of Sade while we were writing."

The West Australian

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