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

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Whilst the concept, and the dream, of being a music polymath sounds interesting; the reality of writing, producing and recording music, let alone running your own social media campaigns, releasing your own material and managing your own career, may well be something very different.  Especially if you are a perfectionist. How exactly can you find time to develop the level of diverse skills needed in order to satisfy your perfectionism?

Middlesbrough indie trio Whale Hill may well be having those thoughts right now. In the process of promoting new single Vertigo, and working on finding venues for a series of shows in the summer, they find that their music video shoot has just fallen through. “I’m trying to pull something new together as we speak,” says main songwriter and vocalist Reece Mallett, “the concept is going to stay the same but the difficulty we’re having at the minute is the scheduling. We’re often in different places.”

Coming off the back of first release Broken Rose, Vertigo seems like a natural follow-up with its post-punk rumbling bass lines, claustrophobic aura and knowing punk glare. Its refrain “I’ve got this feeling I don’t belong / I’ve got this feeling vertigo” suggests that they’ve looked over the edge. “Vertigo tends to be one of our most fun songs to play live but its subject matter is quite the opposite; it’s about anxiety and mental health and things falling apart. Originally I talked too much about girls but I try to speak from personal experience and about mental health.”

Vertigo tends to be one of our most fun songs to play live but its subject matter is quite the opposite; it’s about anxiety and mental health and things falling apart

Happy to open up about his own mental health, Mallett talks about his own challenges with perfectionism, particularly in his song writing. “I do feel pressure with my own work, and I’m never satisfied with the material I write, but that’s possibly a good thing as it keeps me motivated to not settle for anything less than my best. I tend to think the same when we play live and I’ll keep any mistakes we’ve made in my head for about three weeks after a show.”  Pushed into talking about how that perfectionism affects the band’s dynamic, Mallet expands: “I’m very particular and that means that I tend to manage the band. I can be my own worst enemy, but I can also sometimes be the band’s closet ally.”

With the current challenges on Mallett’s to-do list being diverse (pulling the artwork together for Vertigo, talking to local promoters about future gigs, “doing admin, which I hate”) there’s still a lot for Mallett to try and perfect; “there’s a lot happening for us at the minute, we’ve had a great response to Vertigo and the plan is to tour that at the end of the summer, then release its follow up, Bloom, and then work on new material. Our aim is to build on the great reception we’ve had at our lives shows and convert that into festival appearances and plays of our music. We need to work more, keep our momentum going, and write more great songs. We take this stuff seriously.”

The work of a polymath, it seems, is never done.

Whale Hill release Vertigo on 7th June.

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