Interview: White Rabbits
White Rabbits just can’t slow the momentum. Since the six-piece indie rock outfit released its debut album, “Fort Nightly,” in 2007, the band has kept going and going and going. A sophomore album, “It’s Frightening,” came out in 2009, and in between the two albums (and ever since the most recent one) the band has toured almost incessantly.
And while that much time in close quarters can be troublesome, particularly for a band with so many members, White Rabbits spent time living together in a loft in New York, which Stephen Patterson (vocals, piano) cites as one of the reasons why the band dynamic works.
“I think we do pretty well [on the road], which I attribute to the fact that we spent like three or four years living together,” he explained. “[So on tour] we weren’t at each other’s throats all the time.”
The band is on the tail-end of a short break from touring, during which members have made it a point to work on writing new songs. The plan is to head into the studio either at the end of this year or the start of the next and aim for a record release of next summer.
“It’s 100 percent the priority,” Patterson said.
On its upcoming three-week tour with Interpol, White Rabbits plans to introduce a few of those new songs and see how audiences react and respond. And while he doesn’t refer to the past way of doing things as a regret, Patterson did hint that the band purposely wants to approach the album a bit differently than the first two.
“We write fairly quickly,” he said. “We’ve always just kind of gone into the studio right then and there.”
So instead of writing and then immediately recording, this idea of road testing will allow the band to work out songs and get some perspective. However, that’s not to say that it isn’t sometimes a vulnerable sort of experience for the members, especially when trying out new songs that they feel as though they’ve poured their hearts and souls into.
“Talk to anybody in the band,” Patterson said. “It’s very terrifying…whenever you have people around you listening attentively.”
Luckily for the White Rabbits, the band has a built-in set of checks and balances, in that all six members have to be on the same page about a decision in order for it to work. For the most part, Patterson insists they’re typically all on the same page from the get-go.
In addition to the band’s healthy rapport, another one of the unique strengths of White Rabbits is that the band is skilled at taking the force of the music and translating it into a format that is apparent both in live performances and on the recordings.
“We were absolutely going for ‘let’s capture the moment of inspiration’ [on the first album] and I think it worked incredibly well,” Patterson explained. “I think we retained a lot of the energy…and I’m really really proud of how that record turned out.”
As for the second album, he said the six of them focused less on capturing the aforementioned moment of inspiration and instead spent a lot more time in the studio, laying down tracks and then working on the production aspect of it.
While Patterson admitted there are pros and cons to the spontaneous aspect of recording, he said the band is excited to see the organic evolution of the new songs that will occur on the road prior to hitting up the studio.
And although it’s sometimes difficult to maintain the trademark energy on stage night after night, Patterson said the members also serve as a support system for one another when one might be feeling off or having a bad day.
“You try your damnedest to not show that you’re not feeling it. That’s not entertainment,” he said. “But a lot of the pressure doesn’t just fall right on one person’s shoulders.”
In addition to testing out new material, the band is also admittedly excited to eat lots of In-N-Out for the next few weeks.
“The guys actually put an In-N-Out Burger sticker on the back of the van,” said Patterson, the band’s resident vegetarian.
The upcoming tour kicks off on Monday when the band plays the Fox Theater in Oakland, Calif., opening for Interpol.
“We do the band full-time, "Patterson said. ”[And] it’s not a bad job.“