When White Rabbits headlines The Loft this Saturday, the band won't be doing so as part of a big national tour. Rather, the group, which has been holed up in Austin for the past few weeks working on their upcoming third long player, is treating its brief swing of Texas dates as a break from the studio. Next month, they'll wrap up the recording process.
It should prove a nice treat for the Brooklyn band's Texas fans, too, as the band plans on playing some of its new songs at these shows.
But what else can audiences expect? We caught up with White Rabbits singer and pianist Stephen Patterson earlier this week to find out. Hit the jump to read some choice deets on the band's upcoming disc, how the band feels about road-testing their new material, and just what it is he loves so much about Texas.
How long have you been hanging out in Texas?
We've been here for about a month now, working on the record.
Did you guys come down for SXSW and just decide to stay awhile?
No, we came down after the dust settled. We were in New York writing the rest of the record while South By was happening and then drove down. We just finished the first month of recording. We just put down basics for all the songs, [and now] we're taking a week off, playing these shows and trying some stuff out before we go back in to the studio for another month to do some more recording.
So these few Texas gigs are like a break, to get out of the studio for a minute to clear your head?
Yeah, it's good for us to kind of get out of our heads and do some stuff and see how it feels to be playing the songs live. We'll be working out some more arrangements and trying out some ideas before we totally commit to them on tape.
So for these next three Texas shows you might try a song out three different ways and gauge crowd reactions before deciding how it'll end up on the record?
[Laughs] Yeah! This is option one, option two, option three, and then everyone decides which is the best one! No, but we'll definitely be playing largely new material. There's some songs that are still being worked out, so we're just going to try out a bunch of ideas.
So, you're recording down in Austin. Is it with Britt Daniel (of Spoon) again this time?
No, we're recording with Mike McCarthy, who mixed our last record. We all had a really great time with him and we liked his studio a lot, and liked the idea of getting out of New York City to record.
Do you have any working titles for the record at all?
We have a few: Fright Nightly, At No Point To Ever Be Stopped, White Rabbist, Himself, The King of Queens.
How will you narrow it down -- just see what feels right at the end?
I guess. We'll see which looks good on the album cover. [Laughs].
What can you tell us about the new songs? How are they different from the last record?
They're definitely more in line with what we were doing on It's Frightening. It's more of a continuation of that, and less of the Fort Nightly material, I suppose. A lot of the songs have a lighter tone than the stuff off of It's Frightening. It's just naturally where we wanted to go.
It's less frightening then?
I wouldn't say it's less frightening. Hopefully every record gets more and more frightening. There are more songs in major keys, which is nice because that's something that we've never totally explored, as much as we've always wanted to. There seems to be more backbeats than there were on the last record. I'll leave it at that.
A lot of artists, like Jack White, like to come out and say it should only take five days to record an album. How does stretching the process out benefit you as a band or the record?
I definitely think that Jack White is on to something. That's the main idea behind recording quickly -- capturing an idea in the moment that it is created, and just capturing that energy. I don't think that's necessarily lost by taking your time. I think we just wanted to be able to explore some more ideas while we're in the studio. On the last record, we had the entire thing written before we went in and we recorded it very quickly, and I think that was exciting. But we're also really into the idea of really just being able to record it the minute it's written. I suppose we're still a bit meticulous about it -- more meticulous than Jack White would probably approve of -- but I think it still has that same goal in mind, just to keep it raw and capture the energy of the idea. It doesn't necessarily matter how long it takes, as long as that is what happens, as long as you're not sucking the soul out of something.
Who are some of the favorite musicians you've worked or collaborated with in the past?
Britt Daniels is at the top of the list. He's been a great friend and has taught me about a lot of stuff. Also, Skerrit Bwoy from Major Lazer, and everyone in Here We Go Magic we've all made music with. They're a blast.
Do you have any guest appearances planned out for this record?
We haven't had any guest artists yet, but that can always change. It depends on who swings by the studio.
Who might you ask on it if you had your wish, so to speak?
Always Elvis Costello. That would be a dream come true.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Have you been enjoying your time in Texas?
We had a pretty brutal winter in New York City and it seemed endless, so I'm very happy to be staying in this 98-degree weather.
Where are you guys staying while you're here making the record?
We've got a house in Austin that all six of us are crashing in for our time here. It's nice because we have a front yard and a backyard, which we don't have in New York City. We're sort of getting back to our Midwest roots, or what have you.
Have you cracked out the Wiffle ball bat yet?
Oh yeah, man! We've cracked out the Wiffle ball bat, and the Frisbee, and the football, and the baseball.
White Rabbits perform with Bad Design and Soviet on Saturday, April 30, at The Loft.