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

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White Legs are no strangers to making music together. You may have even seen them play together before, though you’d be forgiven for not realising, as they would have been leaping around in bird masks as part of experimental avian collective B>E>A>K. “Ever since B>E>A>K was put on hold, us three have had an itch to make some noise,” explains bassist and vocalist Martin Longstaff. “We all went to school together and after having a few practices for something to do we decided to start the band last year, mainly to make the music we want to hear and to talk about the things we care about and have been going through.”

The Sunderland three-piece have an impressive musical pedigree between them. Longstaff is best known for the devastatingly beautiful acoustic folk of The Lake Poets, while guitarist and vocalist Richard Amundsen and drummer Jordan Hill were part of spiky post-punk outfit This Ain’t Vegas. Musically, White Legs have more in common with This Ain’t Vegas, and any Lake Poets fans will be shocked to see the usually serene performer letting loose and bringing the riffs, though it actually comes naturally. “I suppose I’m best known for a quiet, introspective sound, but every other band I’ve been in over the past 15 years has been punk/post-punk/loud as fuck and I suppose I just love to make noise and throw myself about.”

When it came to debuting their new project, there has been little fanfare and they’ve remained somewhat elusive. Their debut single, Cut It Away, will be released on 19th November. Longstaff puts this down to “doing it the old fashioned hard way,” and wanting to make a proper go of things. “This is going to be our main project going forward because it’s what we enjoy doing the most. We want to get a few gigs under our belts before we start releasing music and shouting about anything. Gigging our way through it, seeing what works and not doing anything half-arsed.”

We aim to make sharp English noise. Loads of riffs and lyrics you can dig your teeth into

Having worked on the band for around a year now, and with 13 tracks under their belts, White Legs already plan to put together an album next year. As an introduction to their sound, Cut It Away is a short, scrappy blast of noise that’s equal parts garage rock and post-punk. Though Longstaff explains that the track is about the things we rely on that aren’t good for us, the track feels more energetic than angst-ridden.

“We aim to make sharp English noise. Loads of riffs and lyrics you can dig your teeth into. The problem is when you say ‘English’ people think Oasis and Britpop, but for us think more along the lines of XTC, Gang of Four, Wire, early Police, and maybe a much heavier Prefab Sprout if we’re being generous to ourselves.” 

As seasoned musicians, White Legs already know the lay of the land when it comes to making something work, and at the heart of their ethos is the notion of integrity and honesty. “Both musically and ethically we’ve always aligned ourselves with DIY punk rock stuff and always felt having control over what you do is dead important. We’ve all been around a long time and I think having consistency is important, whether that be turning up on time, promoting the gigs properly or just putting out quality music. If you concentrate on those fundamentals, be yourself and believe in yourself then the rest will fall into place. And if it doesn’t just put your own gigs on and do your own thing.”

White Legs release Cut It Away on 19th November. They play Brave Exhibitions Festival at The Cluny, Newcastle on Saturday 17th November.

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