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WHITELANDS

Whitelands

Night-bound Eyes Are Blind To The Day

    Whitelands are Etienne, Jagun, Vanessa and Michael and they are ostensibly a shoegaze band ever since Etienne stumbled across Slowdive’s KEXP session in his recommended videos on YouTube a few years ago. However, they come at the resurgent, Gen Z-soundtracking genre from a refreshingly different angle thanks to their mishmash of musical backgrounds. There’s also the fact that their line-up is fully PoC in what is traditionally seen as a predominantly white genre.

    “There’s an underlying narrative that it’s OK for white men to be romantic, sensitive, emotional and make dreamy music and, by contrast, young Black men should be making angry music,” says Vanessa. “We’ve all grown up with these stereotypes and therefore I think people are mystified when they see Whitelands.” “I consume a lot of media,” says Etienne of his wide range of influences. “Videogames, music, news, paintings, manga, animations and film are my go-to, especially anime. There is this drive to want to understand and feel the whole weight of an expression. So, the songs are based on other songs, pictures, aesthetics, ‘vibes’, an emotion someone else felt. Fundamentally, you are what you eat.”

    As a result of this diet, the lyrics are stunning, dealing with everything from unbalanced relationships and vulnerability to depression, being diagnosed with ADHD and, on the new single ‘Tell Me About It’ (featuring vocals by Dottie from the band’s Sonic Cathedral labelmates deary), trying to navigate love following that diagnosis.

    The album is bookended by two poetically political songs – ‘Setting Sun’ and ‘Now Here’s The Weather’ – that deal with imperialism, racism and performative ignorance.

    “We’ve experienced tokenism, micro-behaviours, envy and resentment,” concludes Vanessa. “So we feel we have to continually prove ourselves. We know we’re making a positive impact, but I want Whitelands to really break some barriers.”

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Liam says: Massive shoegaze tip!!! I've been loving their track 'Tell Me About It' (which is complete ethereal bliss) for the past month and thankfully the rest of this LP from Whitelands lives up to the anticipation. With sprinklings of DIIV, Slowdive and even an appearance from fellow gazers Deary, 'Night-bound Eyes Are Blind To The Day' is proper reverb drenched goodness that manages to avoid the derivative trappings many modern shoegaze acts can sometimes fall in to. It also has the Slowdive seal of approval as it was mastered by drummer Simon Scott, with the shoegaze legends also taking Whitelands out on tour with them - so how's that for a recommendation? MEGA!

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Setting Sun
    2. The Prophet & I
    3. Cheer
    4. Tell Me About It
    5. How It Feels
    6. Chosen Light
    7. Born In Understanding
    8. Now Here’s The Weather

    Whitelands

    Remixes

      Whitelands follow their acclaimed single ‘Setting Sun’ with their first ever vinyl release, an EP of reworkings. Simply titled Remixes, the EP features two reworkings of ‘Setting Sun’ by dreampop legends A.R. Kane – the short Initiation Dub and the epic Hero Remix, which comes in three parts, titled Departure, Initiation and Return and takes the song to some unexpected and exciting new places.

      “Whitelands came up in conversation three times in a week,” explains A.R. Kane’s Rudy Tambala of how he got to know the band and came to remix them. “Two times is coincidence, three times is a conspiracy, so I reached out to them on social media, and we started chatting. They’re cool, like baby Kanes. ‘Setting Sun’ was close to my heart, reminding me of ‘Fools Gold’ meets Slowdive versus Frank Ocean. Anyway, I heard several approaches in my head, so I thought, ‘Fuck it, let’s do ’em all’.

      “I knew I wanted to take a prog approach: Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon, Sasha’s Involver2, Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Frank Ocean’s Blond, etc. Even my own sixty nine. It’s that seamless drift from one part into the next, stretching the idea until it ruptures, creating space for a new way of perceiving; this has the first inklings of hive mind, telepathy, in a musical form; you dissolve into it as it dissolves into you. A fundamental dreampop construction and aim, whereby subject and object become one. Ahem.

      “As the extended mix took shape it suggested to me the three components of The Hero’s Journey, hence the titles. The three-minute pop song was determined by the technical limitations of the 7” vinyl single. Digital has obliterated that. The perfect dreampop song has no time limit. ‘Setting Sun’ A.R. Kane Hero Remix is timely.”

      Alongside Rudy’s reworkings is an equally dazzling drum’n’bass take on last year’s single ‘How It Feels’ by the band’s guitarist Michael in his howdogirlssleep guise.

      “Combining shoegaze and jungle was something I never thought of, but when I thought about remixing ‘How It Feels’ the song pretty much made itself,” he explains. “It’s such a sonically rich and emotionally capturing song already; the only thing I had to do was add drums that would enhance the track. I tried to create a feeling of transient energy in the song which the mix engineer, and my good friend, Reinaldo helped me to create. I hope people can shake their ass to this one.”

      “These remixes are an absolute dream!” concludes singer and guitarist Etienne. “Having a legend like Rudy doing this for us is very special. And also having Michael also exploring the experimental possibilities of ‘How It Feels’ is honestly such a great thing.”

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Setting Sun (A.R. Kane Initiation Dub)
      A2. How It Feels (howdogirlssleep Remix)
      B1. Setting Sun (A.R. Kane Hero Remix)


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