White Heath have released new single In a Glasshouse, and the band has not only delivered one of the stand out tracks of the year, they have also mirrored the innovation and guile heard in their music with a wonderful interactive launch concept. Guitarist Adam Pearson was kind enough to answer some questions for the site, and agreed to let the interactive journey start here.
In A Glasshouse sees a band unafraid to rip the shackles of genre specification to pieces, and use the shards to meld a colossal spectacle with so many different textures and a depth that is unmatched.
Giving this band, and indeed this track, a genre or label would be doing a massive dis-service for me, and it’s often misleading, which Adam touched on, saying, “One thing we’ve noticed is that we’re often placed in the folk bracket, which is less true now than it ever has been. We do have string parts but it is more violin than fiddle. There is certainly an orchestral element to the music, but then orchestras play all kinds of music, so again that’s misleading. It’s quite a conundrum!”.
Adam explained that much time has been spent in the studio over the years honing the band’s craft and experimenting, but In A Glasshouse was born in a different way.
He enthused, “We had a very clear idea of what the song would sound like. We feel a lot more confident that we can produce a wide range of sounds and textures – that we weren’t capable of before – whilst maintaining the identity of the band. We feel that it’s exactly as we envisioned it.”
It has perhaps more of a conundrum that the band do retain such an identity whilst never being afraid to deviate from the norm or push their own musical boundaries, but In A Glasshouse sees them do these things and never leaves any doubt as to who you are hearing.
Sean Watson’s gritty vocals hang over an orchestral build up that has a cinematic wonder to it, and the rich tapestry is added to as woodwind and string bring things to life. The track could be a wonderful lullaby, content in its beauty, but this is White Heath, and a collision of genres brings it to thundering and dramatic impasse, that sums up everything you need to know about the mettle of this band.
It’s a Paranoid Android for the modern generation, and the most vivid depiction of a story through music this side of Vivaldi.
So where does the interactive website fit into all this? Adam enlightened me, stating, “I think it adds to the song as there’s a strong narrative within it and we wanted people to immerse themselves in this in a way that’s more involving and engaging than reading a lyric sheet.”
The track is based around the traditional German folk tale The Erl King, for which the band enlisted the help of some special collaborators to bring to life.
“We’ve been collaborating with this great Edinburgh-based illustrator Emily Hair and Glasgow-based computer programmer Alex McGivern to create this interactive point-and-click world that’s based on a lot of the themes within the song, revolving around a young boy who has a nightmare. We don’t want to reveal too much as we want people to explore it for themselves and the site will also provide a link for people to download the track for free.”
Below is the first picture from the site – by Emily Hair – and by clicking on it you can indeed download In A Glasshouse for free and explore this wonderful interactive world. For details of the upcoming tour, plus tomorrow’s Edinburgh launch, come back once you’ve done that and read on after the photo.
White Heath are heading out on the Make-Believe Tank Tour in support of In A Glasshouse, and if you are wondering what the photos and tour name are all about, well, I’ll let Adam handle that one.
“It’s a bit silly actually; I think we overcompensate on the daft side of things to make up for how serious the music can be. Essentially we did this photo shoot where we dressed up as soldiers and messed about – one of the photos that we’re using for the tour poster is us in a skip acting all serious, and the skip kind of looks like a tank or something. I don’t really know, it’s all a bit silly.”
23rd March – Edinburgh – Voodoo Rooms (Single Launch) + Exhibition of Emily Hair’s work from 7.30pm
31st March – Manchester – Jackson’s Pit
6th April – Liverpool – Zanzibar
7th April – London – Bull and Gate
14th April – Glasgow – Nice And Sleazy’s