Interview: Whale Hill | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Whale Hill are a band from Middlesbrough who describe themselves as ‘a boyband in disguise as an angsty, post-punk trio’. Having listened to their brand new single Bloom, I doubt whether Westlife or A1 could mask their smooth sensitivity and purvey the raw aggression that is soaked into the track.

They are young and vibrant however and are on the ascendency, with an excellent year being rounded off with plenty going on. We caught up with the band to find out more about them, the track and the near future.

How would you describe your sound? Who are the band’s biggest influences?
Our sound has changed a lot since the inception of the band, we’ve evolved a lot in our first year and a half together and have started to feel like we’ve found our footing towards a more aggressive post-punk sound.

Influence-wise we have a wide range, we draw a lot of it from current popular punk bands such as Shame & Idles. A lot of our recent influences in structure have come from our appreciation of hip hop, especially with a big emphasis on lyrical flow and how to portray messages in our music.

What is your new song Bloom about?
Bloom is a song to encourage people to do whatever they want and to break from the mould. I’ve found personally with environments we’ve grown up in and in current education systems that room to express yourself isn’t always apparent, or encouraged and Bloom is our rebellious look back to think why don’t we just do what we want in our lives that makes us happy.

The song is our first true venture into a new, more aggressive direction of style that we have been creating and will be playing moving forward and we can’t wait to have it out for people to hear.

Where was it recorded?
Bloom was recorded with the fantastic Jamie Donnelly of Be Quiet. Shout Loud. fame earlier in the year, it was our first time working with a producer on a project as our previous attempts had been DIY efforts and he pushed us to put everything into the record.

It was exactly what we needed for the new single, he didn’t let anything sub-par make it onto the recording and worked us hard to make sure we got what we wanted out of the song.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Did you overcome it?
I would say our biggest challenge as a band has been learning the industry, for all 3 of us this is our first experience in music and there is a lot to learn. 

It’s by far the best thing we’ve ever embarked on but it’s definitely not without its challenges and especially the toll it can take behind the scenes, which a lot of people don’t see.

Briefly describe your songwriting process.
Our songwriting process normally starts with a riff or a bassline that hooks us immediately. We then continue to build upon that with either a structure or a song topic that fits the mood and aesthetic of the music.

We’ll then go into a practice space and begin trial and error of what we feel works sonically and eventually come to a point to where we’re all happy with the result and excited about it whether it takes an hour or a few separate attempts.

All of our songs are written from either past or current struggles internally within me and I find it much easier to connect to a song this way if it can hook me on a personal level.

What’s next for the band?
We have a busy end to 2019 with a headline show in Newcastle at Head of Steam on December 14th and two more big shows very soon to be announced to close off the year.

As for 2020, we have a lot of exciting ideas we are currently floating around within the group and a new batch of songs we’re keen to get into the studio to get recorded. Then, we’re going to continue to venture out of the Teesside area as we have been recently into bigger cities to push our music and live show out to new audiences.


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