White Hills: In search of space

by Zach Zinn

David W. plays guitar and Ego Sensation on bass. photo BY CHRIS CARLONE
White Hills aren’t the kind of band that are going to let you relax for long. This is pure interstellar travelling music. Like a well oiled kinetic machine the motorik rhythms push forward. Repetition is the key here and they aren’t afraid to sit in a groove for a long time and build tension. Glorious tension. Movement is not an option here, it’s a necessity.
White Hills is made up of two core members, Dave W. on guitar and Ego Sensation on bass. They’ve had a long series of collaborators including Kid Millions of Oneida and Antronhy of Julian Cope’s band. With all of this reputably psychedelic talent coming in and out you would expect a constantly morphing sound, but it has been pretty consistent push toward the outer reaches of sonics. And people are digging it more and more all the time with the help of Thrill Jockey Records.
“I don’t look at it as people coming around. We are just getting more exposure.” said Dave. They definitely have gotten the exposure and while they have done well in Europe for a while, the more extensive tours of the US show us that. “It’s been a conscious effort to tour more in the U.S. over the past few years. So that means we find ourselves in places like Bellingham more often. Wherever we go we win people over. We just look forward to playing wherever we are wanted.”
They have been winning people over at festivals like Roadburn, Supersonic, Austin Psych Fest and All Tomorrows Parties, and the appreciation elsewhere is long overdue.
The band is often compared to Hawkwind, and they have no problem with that. Actually when I said that I thought they sounded like Hawkwind, but darker and punker, here was the response: “I think people don’t realize that Hawkwind was dark and they were punk as f#%* for their time. I don’t try to focus on the darker side of things it just comes out. There is dark and light in all of us. As much as our music is dark there is a side to it that exhibits light. It’s liberating music, the shedding of one’s skin.”
While they have been getting a lot more exposure, there are a lot of other bands out there that are making music that seems to search a little more. They count bands like Peaking Lights, Psychic Paramount, and Dissapears as peers, and when they come up here on May 16 they are playing with Sub Pop astral travellers Kinski. There is an immersive glam element to the live shows, but it works equally well as one of those close your eyes and headbang away kind of shows as well. Sometimes that search for space can come just by closing your eyes and letting your mind get blown.
Coming up!
White Hills is playing with Kinski and Sunshine on Wednesday May 16 at The Shakedown. For more information, visit myspace.com/whitehills.