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White Arrows’ Mickey Church Chats About Inspiration, Touring, New Album

 Jim Henson, Mr. E and the Bellyaches and Jacques Cousteau, these are just a few of the things The Spec discussed in a recent interview with White Arrows’ frontman Mickey Church. The LA-based band’s unique use of electronic sound and catchy riffs keep them a cut above when it comes to exploring the world of music. Their Get Gone EP, released last year, caught the attention of many, and their new album Dry Land is not a Myth is expected to do the same. Due on June 19, the record will be their first full length.

Mickey Church

White Arrows, originally a one-man production, is Mickey Church, John Paul Caballero, Andrew Naeve, Steven Vernet, and Henry Church. Together, the men create music that entices the mind to think outside the box. The band is currently on tour with Beat Connection and Mmoths and will make a stop at Phoenix’s Rhythm Room on Monday, June 18.

The story of Mickey Church is one you don’t have to see to believe. Church was born blind and for the first decade of his life, saw things through an “impressionistic smear,” tells the VOTIV website. His vision was corrected by age 11, but his imagination and keen senses have not been lost. “Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose,” said Church when asked what he wants his fans to know about life.

Read below to see what else the frontman had to say about past, present and future tours, inspiration, and White Arrows’ forthcoming full length…

So where are you guys right now?

We are home, which doesn’t feel like home because we’re on the road more than we’re home. When we’re home it kind of feels like where most people go on vacation. It feels like a foreign place.

At least it’s a place you know better than any other place that you tour.
It’s true, it’s true. I haven’t acclimated back though. Since we’ve been back, I’ve been randomly waking up at four o’clock in the morning. We’ve been back out for a week. I actually kind of like this schedule better than my normal schedule. Normally, I wake up at like 10, but I feel like there’s so much day ahead of me now.

You started White Arrows as a solo project, correct?
Not intentionally. I started White Arrows as just recording by myself, but I never really thought that far ahead. I never thought I was going to play solo, or even play live at all. I just wrote the songs when I was by myself and I called it White Arrows, when I put it online.

Just out of the blue? White Arrows?
Well, yeah, I went through a couple of names before I landed on White Arrows. I was Bogan Via for about a day, I was Mister E and the Bellyaches for a day. There are a couple other horrible names that I thank God didn’t stick. I think I wanted to be called “The Sound and the Fury,” which sounds like some kind of screamo project. It’s a William Faulkner novel, but it sounds very screamo.

I’m glad that you settled on White Arrows because I think it’s a great name.
Thanks. I sometimes think of other names and I’m like, “aw man, I wish the band was called that,” but I think it might be too late at this point.

What artists have had the most impact on your music?
I recently just saw a Jim Henson cult movie called “The Dark Crystal,” and that kind of stuff, like, a lot of imagery and a lot of film and a lot of art I feel like influences the music that I make, just in the fact that it’s kind of visceral and goes hand-in-hand with music and evokes a certain emotion in the themes that are being portrayed. Yeah, a lot of documentaries and Jim Henson puppet making. It was really cool. I can’t believe I’d never seen it before. I heard a lot about it and it’s really awesome.

I haven’t seen it either, might have to check it out now.
Yeah, it’s like pre “Labyrinth.” That movie with David Bowie. It was made by Frank Oz and Jim Henson and Frank Oz was the guy that made all those puppets for the original Star Wars movies. Jim Henson, obviously, is also a master of making puppets and it stars no real people whatsoever. Its kind of all puppets and marionettes. It’s really good. The story is a lot like Avatar. It’s like Avatar meets Lord of the Rings. It’s awesome.

You guys just came back from an international tour, what do you think were the best and worst parts about touring outside of the U.S.?
The best parts were it was all new. It was all new territory. Not only places we’ve never played before, but places we’ve never been before. I’m very uncultured when it comes to travelling…it was the first time I really got to explore the world and actually have a reason to be in all these places…that’s the best thing about touring, in general. Whether it’s in the states or outside: Having an excuse to go into cities that normally wouldn’t be cities that you would visit. Kind of being surprised by what you find in a city. You know, like having people that are genuinely interested in music. It’s, like, a very universal thing that you start to realize the more you tour and the more you travel.

Do you find that you guys have a lot more fans now from Europe?
I think we’ve made a lot of great connections while we were out there and it’s carried over here and we can’t wait to keep doing it. The worst thing about touring over there is just not being able to use our own gear. You can’t leave with your amps and stuff and it takes a few shows to kind of acclimate to foreign stuff. Other than that, everything is pretty cool.

You’ll be touring with Jinja Safari soon, are you excited about that?
I am excited about that. I listened to their music for the first time yesterday and I think it’s pretty cool. Coincidentally, there’s another band going on that tour called Opossom, who’s the guy from Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s brother, who played drums in Unknown Mortal Orchestra when we went out with them in the states. So, it’s going to be like a reunion. You kind of become a family with the band that you tour with and then after six weeks, you go your separate ways and try to maybe meet at festivals sometimes, but you never really keep in touch, so it’s going to be cool to reunite with someone that we already toured with in a different capacity, in a different band.

How do you guys fight homesickness or rough patches in the band moral?
In the states we tour in an RV. So, we live in the van that we tour in and obviously you miss certain things about being home, but also, when you’re at home, you miss being out there. You feel like you’re wasting time unless you’re recording. Kind of like, “what are you doing? Let’s get back on the road.” In the RV, you can bring vestiges from your home to fight homesickness. Like, I bring a laser star projector in the RV…which is projected on the ceiling. You kind of keep yourself entertained and there’s plenty to do on tour.

Can you tell me about your upcoming album? How is it the same or different from Get Gone?
I think the Get Gone EP is a really good representation of what to expect on the record, kind of just a kaleidoscope of different genres that meld together to make one cohesive piece. Those three songs that are on the Get Gone EP are going to be on the record as well. So it kind of ties it all together. It’s just more of the same different thing.

The name of the upcoming album, Dry Land is not a Myth, what inspired that?
I believe it’s an old proverb that’s very earthly. I think I read a quote somewhere that Jacques Cousteau said, and I’m paraphrasing: at birth, gravity kind of holds man down to the surface and he needs to just go beneath the surface to be set free, or just to be free. And that’s going under water or feeling weightless. Not being weighed down to the specific place you are at.

Do you think your music embodies that?
I think so. I think there’s a weightlessness to the music.

Dry Land is not a Myth is available for full stream on Spotify. White Arrows, Beat Connection and Mmoths play Rhythm Room on June 18. Tickets, $10-12, can be purchased online through Ticketfly.

 

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