South Carolina indie rockers Whitehall are moving into 2021 with a new album and (pandemic allowing) big plans. The band announced that their latest record, Swordfish Catcher, will be released in April and they’re kicking things off with a brand new single. Atlas spoke with the band via email about how the album came together, their favorite songs and what the future holds for Whitehall.
How did you get started as a band and how did you go about finding your sound?
We each have a special magnet that was placed in our bodies at birth that pulled us together. The rest came naturally.
How would you say your music has evolved from when you started to where you are now?
We all come from slightly different musical backgrounds, so at first our sound was kind of all over the place. We weren’t really sure if we were going to end up as a folk band, a funk band, a rock band, whatever. With the release of this new album it feels like we’ve finally settled on something that feels natural and is a coming together of our eclectic musical backgrounds. Spending far too much time together on the road helps too.
Who do you count among your biggest influences and inspirations?
Car Seat Headrest, Phoebe Bridgers, Pinegrove, Weezer, Pavement. We are big fans of 90’s things so that inspires a lot of our writing. But we aren’t strangers to George Strait or Death Grips either. It’s a mixed bag.
What’s the story behind your upcoming album and how did everything come together?
We wrote this record over the last couple of years while we were on and off touring the East coast. The album really seems to come from a place of frustration. It’s about wanting to be a better person, and being anxious about whether or not that’s possible.
What song of yours resonates the most with you guys and what song seems to resonate the most with fans?
There’s a song on the album called “New Hampshire” that we’re really excited for people to hear, it’s probably our favorite. It was written while we were traveling up the east coast to Canada in 2019, so we have all these fuzzy memories tied to the song. “Vacation Home” from our previous release, Ocean Fiction, really seems to rustle people’s jimmies too. It’s always one of the biggest parts of our live shows. On our best nights we have everyone, including ourselves, jumping up and down in unison.
Are there any topics that you haven’t had a chance to explore in your music that you’re looking forward to writing about?
It’s hard to say. Thematically we tend to write about what’s going on in our lives and that tends to be pretty difficult to predict. Stylistically though some of the new songs we’re writing have been a little bit more abstract lyrically and that’s been fun to explore!
Every artist has a different relationship with music and how it affects their lives. How would you describe your own relationship with music and what that means to you?
Music is the force that pulls us together and without it we are lost and floating in space. I mean, technically that’s gravity, but same thing, ya know?
What’s coming up for the band? What are you hoping for in 2021?
We just announced the release of our second LP Swordfish Catcher coming out on April 2nd and are very excited to share it with the world! We really miss playing live shows though, so hopefully we’ll be able to *safely* tour as much as possible when shows start coming back!
Is there anything else that you would like people to know about you or your music, or is there something you wish you could talk about more that you may not get asked?
We’ve been working hard on our music video making skills and have recently released two videos for our new singles “Good Guy” and “Capsize”. They can be found on YouTube and both songs are on all streaming platforms!
Story by Olivia Khiel
Photo credit: Mia Naome