It may only be their debut single, but with ‘Swans’ WHITE KITE sound like old hands! The woozy electronic funk of the London band’s track is as fresh as it is addictive, it’s refrain latching on and hooking into your brain. It will compel you to press play again, even if you think you’ve had enough. (You really haven’t, and neither have we!) We tracked down Louis of the band to discover what White Kite are all about…
Your new single ‘Swans’ is a great introduction to your sound, mixing ambient guitars, synths and rattling beats! It’s a great pop song; can you tell us a little about the track and what went into crafting it?
I’d been fiddling around on synthesizers for a while, making little loops and layering them together. ‘Swans’ was the first finished track to come out of that process. As soon as I laid down the first chords it felt different and exciting.
You utilise some interesting guitar tones and arrangements in ‘Swans’, whilst the grand sound of your previous track ‘26’ ebbs and flows. How did you go about finding such sounds when composing these tracks?
It often starts with me just playing around with synthesizers and drum machines before layering vocals over the tracks, which resulted in the bulk of ‘26’. With ‘Swans’, Tom started playing heavy guitar chords over the layer of synths in the choruses when we were jamming it out, which gave those sections of the song a real rawness and energy.
How important is it to discover these new sounds? Do you feel that this is a critical factor in being White Kite?
It’s a huge part of what keeps me interested. When I was younger I used to write songs just on guitar and piano, but increasingly I found that electronic music could take you to totally different places and create so many possibilities. To me the production and feel of the music is as important as the writing itself these days. It’s what makes an artist sound truly different.
Your music carries an alternative electronic funk vibe that is at times similar to Wild Beasts. Were they a big influence on your sound as a band? What other influences do you draw into White Kite and why?
We’ve been told that a few times, which is funny as I don’t actually know their music at all. I’d say the influences are a mixture – I love classic songwriting and melody and listen to a ton of Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Talk Talk and artists in that vein. On top of that my dad was a jazz musician so I grew up listening to the jazz greats like Bill Evans, John Coltrane and Miles Davis. I try to bring some of that influence into the electronic music I’m writing as I think they compliment and contrast with each other perfectly. These days the biggest influences come from alternative and electronic music – Sohn, Flying Lotus, Grizzly Bear to name a few.
Your sound is quite unique. Would you say that White Kite have found their niche in regards to the music that you want to create?
I think we’re only just getting going really. I want to push this sound as far as it will go, then maybe it’ll go somewhere new. I’d never want to rest on one sound; sitting in niches seems like a cop out to me.
You have a London date at The Victoria on 25th January. Are you excited to play? What can people expect from your live show?
Yes! We also recently had a gig at the Pickle Factory with this great electronic band called Zola Blood. Our live show is bigger, louder and more intense than the recorded versions. We also have a massive multi-coloured flashing light. It does some pretty heavy strobing at points so we’ve actually had to put health warnings up at shows. People seem to dig it.
What inspires your own writing?
I think that’s a hard thing to pin down – it could be so many different things that trigger a song. I mainly write to record moments and feelings that I want to remember. I treat it like a diary. It’s something I just have to keep doing.
What led the four of you to collaborate on White Kite? Were you all active in bands previously?
Tom and I have been very close friends since we met at school, and through him I became friends with his twin brother Will. We all bonded over music and always loved jamming together. We met Andrew earlier this year and decided to form White Kite so it all came together very naturally.
What else do you have planned for 2017? Are there more singles or an EP in the works?
We have a ton of tracks ready to drop when the time is right. In the meantime we have lots of shows coming up and some big plans for the year ahead. It should be an exciting 2017 for us.
White Kite’s ‘Swans’ is available to buy now. They play The Victoria in London on 25th January.