Interview White Denim: ‘We Made Something Positive Out Of A Difficult Situation’

The band speak to DIY about the belated physical release of their 2010 album ‘Last Day Of Summer’.

Though it wasn’t made entirely obvious at the time, when White Denim’s ‘Last Day Of Summer’ record was released online in 2010 with immediate effect, for free, the band were crossing their fingers that donations would come in. The future of the band depended on it. Fortunately, with such an esteemed collection of albums already to their name, donations did indeed come in, enough of them to fund a year’s worth of touring and the release of a proper full-length in 2011’s ‘D’. Brighter days have promptly arrived, with enough in the locker to fund a physical release of the ‘Last Day Of Summer’. We spoke to the band about bringing out the album and the making of said record.

Obvious question to start with: What led you to releasing ‘Last Day Of Summer’ physically? Was there a big demand from fans wanting to add it to their collection?
Over the last year or so, many people at our shows were asking if we would be selling physical copies of the record. I wouldn’t exactly say that there was a big demand, but there were certainly a handful of people out there that wanted a nice copy for their collections (the band included - still waiting on snail mail actually…).

It’s limited to 500 copies on vinyl. Is the onus on it being a real, rare collectible then?
I am not exactly sure about the strategy there. You would have to ask the record company really. I imagine that 500 is a pretty good place start y’know. It is a relatively safe ‘toes in the water’ kind of number.

Considering it was a fairly under-the-radar, free release, were you surprised at the amount of critical acclaim it received?
Yes, every time a piece of your music goes out and is well received by the public it is extremely rewarding on a personal level. It makes you feel validated, like you are on to something and that you should continue to push yourself to create. I have always had a good feeling about that record, so I figured a few people would enjoy it, but I never expected the critical acclaim and am indeed very surprised.

Most people saw it as a transition release, to whet the appetites before you finally came out with ‘D’. Would you ever consider releasing an album this way again?
The manner in which this record was originally released was about our immediate needs and ultimately the survival of the band. I assure you that we were not directly thinking about strategy or public perception when we were making or uploading the record to our website. I hope we never have to release a record that way or under those types of circumstances again, but you never know what will happen. We are extremely thankful that we were able to get through it (with the help of our listeners) and that we managed to make something positive out of a difficult situation.

How did you do in terms of donations? Did a lot of what you received go towards the recording of ‘D’?
We did well enough to get out on the road. I think we averaged right around a nickel per download of the record. All of the proceeds went to getting us the road in October 2010. ‘D’ was already 95 percent done when we made ‘Last Day Of Summer’.

It was generally seen as exploring a much softer side to your sound, especially in comparison to ‘Fits’. Can you see yourselves going down a similar route for future records?
Sure. We enjoy making soft music just as much as we enjoy making hard music.

In retrospect, are there any songs that you wish you’d have set aside to appear on ‘D’ instead, or do you see the two albums as completely different beings?
No. I am happy with the track listing on both of those records. ‘Light Light Light’ was tracked with the rest of ‘D’ and I think it ended up where it needed to be. After the release of ‘Last Day Of Summer’ we were encouraged to revisit a couple of the tunes in order to add them to ‘D’ but I am glad we didn’t modify the record. They are pretty different from one another in my mind.

It was the last record recorded at Josh’s home studio. How did things change once you moved out of there and started recording ‘D’? Was it difficult to adjust to a change of location?
It can be more difficult to relax and stretch out in a studio that you are paying 500 bucks a day for, but on the other hand if you are prepared for sessions, then nothing can compete with the capabilities of fine audio gear. It was a welcome trade really. There are great things about both ways of working.

You release albums fairly prolifically. Is that a consequence of you being able to write lots of songs while on tour or are you just generally keen to set aside time each year to write a record?
If it were up to me, we would release records more often than we currently do. A good band generally grows much faster than a typical record cycle would allow you to see. We have thirty tunes in the can that are ready to hit tape right now- the challenge isn’t really about writing/playing the material, rather it is about consistently making it relevant to yourself as you wait for the recording industry and/or your audience to catch up or make the time for it. It can be tricky. We are learning that we have to weed out material that we may not want to be performing religiously for a two year promotional cycle. There is some give and take there - and it is probably for the best… maybe not - who knows? That is the way it is.

White Denim’s album ‘Last Day Of Summer’ is out.

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

March 2024

Featuring Green Day, English Teacher, Everything Everything, Caity Baser and more!

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY