Light Absence Shrubbery Kinetics! It’s White Rose Movement!

The Leadmill, Sheffield on Friday 3 February 2006

I don’t know what that Ricky Kaiser Chief lad is feeling so smug about, doesn’t he know we’re on the brink of apocalypse? Whilst he leads his flock of bratish British Topman teens about, dressed as their saviour Just William, throwing his brown-sauce smeared mini-hot dog face about in ways that, if the wind changed, would leave his mother in streams of tears, the music world is readying itself to hock up its final breathe, before giving in and being hooked up to a life support machine that’s sponsored by O2.

Wowww!!! Hold on a second, this all sounds a bit malevolent and cynical, but then again I am sat in the company of the White Rose Movement and maybe something of their aura is rubbing off. “We’re a moody bunch of bastards” elicits guitarist Jasper with a snort, after failing to see the fun-side of my ‘Can you sum up the White Rose Movement in 10 words or less’ game. Rock is a serious business, remember. Still, with a little further probing they eventually settle for ‘Passionate’, ‘Dark’ and ‘Disco-crossover’ – it’s an unexpected melee of styles that works a treat.

After two years getting the act together, White Rose Movement are finally in a position to show the world why we should be listening to them. Their name is taken from the Nazi resistance movement that took place within Germany, although Jasper admits they adopted it as their moniker more because they “guess it was just an attractive name. It wasn’t really a political statement; the White Rose Movement weren’t really a political group. It was just a comment on what was going on in the world”.

Elegant blonde keyboardist Taxxi acknowledges its fulfilment of the aesthetics quota, “It’s also quite a beautiful name, quite classic”. With a name chosen to draw you in, what’s on offer once you get there? “Our style of writing, it’s just different from everyone else’s, as is the music. I don’t know can’t really explain it anymore than that”. It’s a fair point, as their live performance the same evening exposes them as dark avengers of indie pop that in the face of the current populous of bouncing guitar chivalry we’ve been sorely lacking.

But they’re not too far detached from the current ilk of NME darlings, the missing link lying in their collaboration with Paul Epworth, the man who almost single handily dominates and dictates your dance floor playlist down the local indie disco.

Jasper explains how the band ended up working with him: “By pure coincidence. He used to do sound at a venue in London and in our previous band, Arturo, he did our sound when we played there. Then we were recording in the studio about a year and a half ago with a guy called Steve Osbourne and it was all going horribly wrong. He was in the studio below us, recording Maximo Park’s album. We bumped into him…”

Taxxi: “He gave Jasper a disc of his remixes and we just really got into it.”

Jasper: “We gave him a demo we’d just done of ‘Love Is A Number’ and he loved it and said ‘Why don’t we have a go at recording this and see where we go from that?’ so we abandoned Steve Osbourne, jumped on board with Paul and never looked back!”

Hopping between producers like STDs amongst teenage chavs, after final settling what do they think his production brought to the sound and the final product – their excellent debut album?

Jasper: “I really like his bass and drum sounds. I guess he just took what we’d already done with the demo and made it really fat so that it could cross over onto the dance floor. He’s got a bit of a swing thing in the way he makes music. The way he produces it, you just really want to move to it.”

Taxxi: “His personality makes you excited. He brought out something in each individual member of the band because oh his glowing personality.”

Jasper: Yea, he’s very inspiring to work with.

Yes very good, but I’m feeling cynical now - are you at all worried that having the name Epworth attached to your record there’s a certain amount of expectation? How do you intend to overcome that?

Jasper: “I think the record will come out and people will realise that it’s not just about Paul, it’s about us. We just happened to meet Paul at the right time and we made a great record together.”

Taxxi: “Anything that yanks you out of obscurity is a good thing…”

Jasper: “He’s had a lot of press and there’s probably a bit of a Paul Epworth backlash, but I don’t see it as a problem, I think the record speaks for itself.”

OK, so they’ve worked with a top producer, made an excellent album and have responded well to my petulant questions. Now all they’ve got to do is take over the world. In the early stages of this tour (supporting The Rakes), how have people been responding so far?

Jasper: “It depends in different areas. There seems to be areas where The Rakes are absolutely huge and people are there only to see them, but we’ve had a few – like in Exeter – where we walked on stage and everyone went absolutely mad, we had crowd-surfers, it was totally unexpected, because we didn’t think anyone in Exeter new about us! When we were in Portsmouth people were just waiting for the Rakes...”

Taxxi: “...just looking at their phones.”

Jasper: “So it’s kind of mixed. The places we’ve been to before we’ve been getting a better response.”

Slow-burners then, just like the band they are supporting – The Rakes outshone clever marketing with an album of solid hits. Having heard the White Rose Movements’, they set up perfectly to do the same and with a bit of luck should become one of 2006’s success stories. With all this potential and positivism in mind, I finish by asking what they are most proud of so far as a member of White Rose Movement?

Jasper: “We’re really proud of the record, we worked really hard at it. After working with three of four producers and it not really working, then finding someone that you really gel with, it really excites you.”
Taxxi: “Yea, definitely the album.”
Jasper: “Following that, World Domination!”

Behind the broody exterior, the band are steadfastly confident and justly so. Next time a Kaiser Chief barters for your attention why not turn to the left and let White Rose Movement absorb you instead into their shaded world – you can have way more fun in the dark.

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article by: Alex Hoban

published: 18/02/2006 14:42