Originally from their new album In Bardo, White Arrows’ “We Can’t Ever Die” gets their sun-kissed summer single sharpened by pop music’s re-interpreter/re-shaper himself, Ricky Eat Acid. Fronted by the Sam Ray, the shape-shifting pitch-purée artist who has been featured prominently throughout the pages and performances of Impose continues to keep us re-imagining the possibilities outside the conventions of familiar musical comforts and structures.
White Arrows’ “We Can’t Ever Die” gets a whole new lease on life and energy, brokered by Ricky Eat Acid. Sam begins the remix with some of his preferred sped-up sample rates, that collide into a digital cataclysm, followed by a “hell yeah” vocal stem of vague origins. And that’s when Ray brings down the synth-ambient backdrop for White Arrows high-pitched adjusted verses to dwell in an eternal musical artifice of new digi-tek environments. Now keep in mind, we are still only dealing with the first minute and seven second of the re-work.
Ricky Eat Acid treats White Arrows to some new tripping drum machine sequences where snares and hi-hats are hit hard under Sam Ray’s tight grip of creative control. From here, vocal items from chorus and chapters are chopped and divided like living Rorschach inkblots being electrocuted in a B.F. Skinner box. New keyboard tones are introduced, until all becomes swallowed up again by those initial sustains of new atmospheres. Here all these aforementioned components are dissolved one by one, where the last thing heard are the choice sections from Mickey Schiff’s delivery that eventually fade into the ether along with the host of synth and percussive notes. Mickey from White Arrows joined us to talk about In Bardo, the remix, and more, following this debut:
Tell us about how the transitional states of constant tours, festivals, etc, lead to the groundwork for In Bardo.
Basically, we were never in one place long enough to write and record an album in it’s entirety. Since our first 7″ release we toured, and toured, and toured, and had to write our first record in two week increments. This was one cohesive piece with themes that are consistent throughout because it is a time capsule of one point in time.
What sorts of things changed, developed, or ceased and what new beginnings did you all discover through the process or developing your second album?
Andrew [Naeve] and I do almost all the writing and I think we just developed our sound through all that touring and playing together, and finally had the good fortune of being able to work in a proper studio with a proper producer for our first time ever. I also feel like I wrote this album for no one else but myself and my friends which was liberating. After being on the road for so long I had no real intentions, except for to create. I was gonna write whatever came out in whatever genres came out and figure out what I was gonna use it for later. It was all very freeing.
Having gone through these changes, what is it like hearing Dry Land Is a Myth now?
I barely listen to it, but there are songs on there that are still important to me. But, I’m not gonna lie, it’s a little like going back and reading some middle school essays before you’d fully developed your ability to write. Such is life though, we are (hopefully) constantly growing… if not, why exist?
Moving to the Ricky Eat Acid remix of “We Can’t Ever Die”, what struck you about how Sam Ray brought out some of the extra and eternal lives from within this song?
I hadn’t heard that many tracks he’s done, but every one that I did hear was dope. It’s weird in all the right ways… it’s kind of hard to explain, but the choice of sounds and arrangement he chose is spot on. I love hearing different interpretations of songs especially ones who are as innovative as Sam.
That label Orchid Tapes who has put out some of Ricky Eat Acid’s work has become one of the DIY forerunners of bringing disparate indie communities together. Who are some of your favorite super indie/unknown acts that everyone needs to hear?
I mean… he may not be new, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Adrian Belew. He played with Talking Heads, and king crimson, but never really took off as as solo artist. Kind of like Harry Nilsson or Paul McCartney sometimes, and sometimes he’s like David Byrne. Check out the songs “1967“, and “Oh Daddy” to see the range.
What’s the latest and greatest reports from the LA scene according to White Arrows?
It’s a cool time to be in LA. If bands, or rappers aren’t from LA they are moving here now, so it’s exciting. A lot of Chicago rappers, and garage rockers have moved out here and now call LA it’s home. I know Chance the Rapper lives here now, and Ty Segall, amongst other really rad people.
Where do you feel these new directions, and transitions will lead you and what kind of sound and style developments do you all detect are at work now with White Arrows, and how will it impact future releases do you feel?
I hope that it just makes it easier for us to collaborate with different people, and unique producers to see what kind of ideas clash to make something beautiful.
White Arrows’ In Bardo is available now.
Catch them on the following tour dates:
25 Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
07 Oakland, CA – Leo’s
08 San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar
10 – Seattle, WA – Barboza
11 Vancouver, BC – OWL
12 Portland, OR – Holocene
15 Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst Atrium
18 San Diego – the Casbah
23 LA – the El Rey
27 Phoenix – Valley Bar,
29 Dallas – Three Links,
30 Austin – Stubb’s JR
31 Houston - Fitzgerald’s Downstairs