The other day I had the chance to sit down with John Paul ("JP") Cabellero and Steven Vernet from the five member Los Angeles based White Arrows who in 2012 released their first LP ("Dry Land is Not a Myth"), including a vinyl version, and toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Australia. For those who saw the White Arrows open the 2012 Labor Day weekend FYF Fest at the Metro friendly, Chinatown adjacent, State Historic Park, you can see them up close and personal at the historic West Hollywood Troubadour for KCRW presents the Invisible Children Holiday Benefit Show on Saturday night, December 15, 2012. White Arrows, who got their start almost three years ago, had a residency at the old Spaceland in Echo Park club, giving them a chance to refine their sound and live performance persona. They have already come a long way in such a short time, playing SXSW twice, and their USA/Europe/Australia tour, White Arrows, knock on wood, are hoping to get a Coachella 2013 invite. Their sound is described as psyschotropic, but is a blend of driving rhythms and pop.
During 2012, White Arrows was on the road so much, that they were glad to have places in Los Angeles to rest and recover, since they were home no more than 3 weeks at the longest, before hitting the road again. They consider the "Eastside" of Silver Lake and Echo Park as their spiritual home, with band founders Mickey and Henry Church having grown up in Pacific Palisades, and JP having grown up in Hermosa Beach and Steven in the Montclair area. JP described himself as a contrarian, and so as to not do PE, he joined the marching band at Mira Costa High school playing percussion instruments and bass. While Steven started playing the drums in elementary school, but when he couldn't convince his parents to invest in a drum set, he learned the bass guitar which he played in band while at Montclair Prep.
With all of their time playing on the Eastside, followed by large indoor venues such as the El Rey and Henry Fonda theater, I was curious as to what might be some of their favorite places to eat before or after such shows. At the top of JP's list was Torung Restaurant in Thai Town on Hollywood Blvd, just a few blocks west of Western. This place is open until almost 4 am on the weekends, and late a night, it is a real cross section of Hollywood. While Steven was much more of a meat and cheese guy, and thus, top of his list was Golden State Burger on north Fairfax across from Canter's Deli. Some people swear that these are the best burgers in LA. Another favorite of Steve's is Castle BBQ, an all you can eat Korean barbecue on Western just south of Melrose. JP also talked about being a major Pho fan, and they had their favorite while in Silver Lake, which I suspect was the Pho Cafe, a favorite of the hipster Silver Lake club scene. A Silver Lake favorite of Steven is the Silver Lake Juice Bar which is right there with Pho Cafe on the 2800 block of Sunset.
We talked about the realities of the music industry as to what it takes to develop a following and create a brand, creating demand for the groups tshirts and other licensed material. White Arrows are perhaps unique in 2012 in which their tshirts are all original tie-dyed which they make themselves, 300 at a time, and thus no two are alike. The White Arrows currently have over 10,000 followers on Facebook, and one can find many interviews, official videos, and performances on YouTube. What was different than their usual electric sound, were a series of acoustic recordings they did for The Living Room Sessions which can also be found on YouTube and the song "I Can Go"embedded below:
This reminded me of another option that recording artists now have from StageIt in which a group can broadcast live from their own living room, and play for tips from a live Internet audience.
So White Arrows with the KCRW stamp of approval during this December break are beginning to think about where they will tour in 2013. But why wait, tickets are still available for the Saturday night performance at the Troubadour, that gave rise to many famous bands over the last 50 plus years. White Arrows in 2012 had the honor to open for the Naked and Famous (who have over 400,000 Facebook fans) on part of their European tour, are on their way to headline their own tours. In fact MTV Push artist of the Week on the web, profiled White Arrows in 2012, just before the release of their debut CD. And in closing, here is White Arrows official Get Gone video on YouTube.