I'm going to keep this introduction brief. As White Light Cemetery have a lot going for them.
- Their new album is being released by powerhouse record label – Ripple Music
- The band play an exciting blend of Southern Metal and Stoner Rock.
- If you dig Crowbar then you're going to dig this a band a great deal.
- We've got a cool interview with drummer Thomas Collley.
- Plus an exclusive stream of the album.
- Check this great band out now as White Light Cemetery will be turning some heads and making themselves known over the next few months or so..
Hi Thomas. Thanks for doing the interview. How’s life treating you today?
Well, Mardi Gras season started a couple days ago, so that means king cake. And also, our new album on Ripple Music is dropping this week. So, yeah, life is good!
For people not in the know, can you provide a brief history of how the band came together and where it is today?
The band was started in late 2008 by Ryan and Shea and a couple other guys. I joined in August of 2010 when the original drummer was moving across the state. About a year later we parted ways with one of our guitar players, so Shea, who had been doing only vocals up until that point, picked up his guitar and filled that spot too. Then Tara came into the fold in late 2012. And that's been our lineup for the last four years.
Why did you call your band White Light Cemetery?
Ryan named the band. It's actually a line from the Machine Head song, ‘Now I Lay Thee Down’. He just thought it had a ring to it.
How would you describe your music for first-time listeners?
Our music is very diverse, I think. It's definitely rooted in heavy rock n' roll of the 70's but has lots of other influences in there as well. Southern rock, blues, metal. There's a little bit of everything.
We are here to talk about the new album. Careful What You Wish For. A great album packed full of heavy Southern Rock/Metal riffs. What can people expect from the album?
Again, diversity. There's a pretty good mix of musical styles on it. A couple heavy tunes, a couple bluesy tunes, a couple straight up rockers. We kind of run the gamut on this album.
What is the overall concept of the album?
We didn't really have a clear cut concept going into it. This album is just the result of the four of us being in a room together and playing music that we love. Nothing overly complicated or thought out. Whatever happens, happens.
Why did you call the album – Careful What You Wish For. Any specific meaning?
Mainly, we just thought it was a catchy title. But it's also a response to all of our friends who kept on hounding us for new tunes for the last couple of years.
Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for?
It was a pretty easy one to write. Ryan would usually come into the practice room with some ideas and we'd jam on them until it was a song. Came together pretty easy. As far as recording, it was a piece of cake. We did everything live except for vocals and guitar overdubs. It was recorded at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas with Kent Stump of Wo Fat. That guy is awesome!
What influenced you when recording and writing this album?
Mostly the music we're listening to at the time. Free, Bad Company, Mountain, and Deep Purple were all on heavy rotation while we were writing this one.
You’ve signed to Ripple Music. How did you hook up with that great label?
They found us actually. I think Todd had gotten a hold of our "Crow Sessions" demo and written a little piece on it on The Ripple Effect. After that he just kind of stayed in touch and kept tabs on us. Then in mid 2014 they finally got to see us perform live and that kind of sealed the deal. We signed with them shortly after that.
Were you aware of Ripple Music before you signed to them? Had you heard of them before. Did you have offers from other labels?
Honestly, I wasn't aware of Ripple until they began talking to us. We had talked with a couple other labels but we didn't really pursue any of those seriously. We were just kind of keeping our fingers crossed that Ripple would want to give us a shot.
Some people have compared your music to Crowbar. Are you pleased with that comparison or would you want people to classify you as White Light Cemetery?
Both actually. Crowbar is one of our favourite bands and also very good friends of ours, so to be compared to them is definitely a cool thing. But, at the same time, we definitely want to be known as a band that has their own sound.
You’ve toured with Crowbar. How was the experience overall and how did you manage to support them on tour?
It was awesome beyond words! It was our first tour as well, so to be able to do that with Crowbar was pretty amazing. They were coming off a hiatus and Kirk had just quit Down to focus 100% on Crowbar. He was looking to hit the road for a bit before they went to the studio and he knew we had this huge tour van. So he called us up and said let's pile up in your van and do a couple weeks of shows. So that's how we ended up doing that.
What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it down to one individual or a group collective?
A little of both actually. Most of the time Ryan or Shea will come to practice with riffs or song ideas then we'll work with that to make it into a song. There are a couple songs on this album that actually came about as spur of the moment jams in the practice room, which I think was a first for us.
Will you be performing gigs this year. A more in-depth tour to promote the album. Are there plans to perform any overseas such as Europe?
Absolutely! We already have a few shows booked for January and a short tour in March, which includes a Ripple Music showcase at South by Southwest in Austin. We're planning on keeping fairly busy for the rest of this year. Hopefully a more extensive tour this summer and playing in cities we've never played in. As far as Europe, that's definitely a dream of ours. We don't really have any contacts over there yet but we're working on getting over there.
Words by Steve Howe and Thomas Colley