It’s been over two years since Ehse Records released White Life’s fantastically catchy self-titled LP (Ehse 019), and with the group taking just over a year off from performing, many were wondering if they’d be seen again. After a calendar year that has included the debut release of his pop outfit Dungeonesse, as well as a rare surprise performance with The Art Department at this year’s ScapeScape, WL’s Jon Ehrens says the wait is over. We reached out to Jon recently to tell us why White Life had been silent and what we can expect from them in 2014.
How long has it been since White Life has played?
Our last show was at [The Baltimore Museum of Art], about a year ago – it was for the opening of the contemporary wing. We played two hour long sets!
What was the motivation for you and the band to start playing shows again?
My sister was pregnant, and I was working on other things, but now she has her baby Eisley and wants to get back to singing.
Is White Life preparing material for the upcoming year? When can we expect it?
Yes, we have a few songs in various stages of recording – here’s hoping I can get them done soon!
Recently we’ve seen you release more pop-oriented material with Jenn Wasner as Dungeonesse. Has writing more pop music in the past year affected how you approach the aesthetic you explored “White Life”?
I spent a lot of my formative years neglecting certain aspects of music, most notably rhythm and production. The years in which I made the white life record and the Dungeonesse record, I devoted most of my efforts on improving in those areas. Now I’m trying to combine all of the things I’ve learned.
Can we expect new material to debut at the Jan. 12 show?
I think all of the songs have been played live before, but not all of them are recorded.
You can see White Life make their return at the Chiffon EP Release show, January 12 at The Crown in Baltimore, MD with fellow guests Chiffon, Gh∞st and Meth Dad.
5/3 – Washington DC @ DC9 w/ DDm and Big/Bright
5/6 – Brooklyn, NYC @ DBA w/ Sassoon, DDm and SHAMS
5/8 – Providence, RI @ Black Box w/ Ddm, Tierdrops and Kolour kult
5/9 – Boston, MA @ White Haus w/ DDm, Gorilla Toss, GAY and Hot Company
5/18 – Atlanta, GA @ The 529 w/ Wowser Bowser, and Mediocre Machines
5/19 – Athens, GA @ TBA
5/20 – Raleigh, NC @ TBA
5/25 – Baltimore, MD @ Soft House w/ Sassoon, North America and more TBA
Awesome interview on Shock And Awesome!
Jon talks about the music scene, getting the shit beat out of him, and the “couch surfing scene” in Baltimore, White Life’s sound and inspiration, also writing hit songs, capitalism, masturbation, and making people cry. Enjoy!
You can download the entire podcast on itunes (type “Shock And Awesome” into search) or Stream the interview here.
TUE 8/16 BROOKLYN, NY: KNITTING FACTORY w/Ami Dang, Gangatronics, & Heaven’s Jail
WED 8/17 NYC 8:00pm: PIANOS w/ Fan-Tan, Sherlock?s Daughter, & Ravens & Chimes presented by Stark Online http://www.pianosnyc.com/showroom/8172011-sherlock-s-daughter
THU 8/18: BOSTON, MA 9:00pm: MILKY WAY LOUNGE w/ Original Organix, DJ Leah, & Krisjin & Feed the Tiger http://www.milkywayjp.com/event/?id=837
FRI 8/19: PROVIDENCE, RI 10:00pm: SALON BAR w/ Savage Soul feat. DJ?s Micah Jackson http://www.thesalonpvd.com/calendar.html
SAT 8/20: NORTHAMPTON, MA: BAR 11 w/ Lord Jeff
8/21 – 8/23: TBD
WED 8/24: WINOOSKI, VT 9:00PM: MONKEY HOUSE w/ Lawrence Welks * Our Bear to Cross http://monkeyhousemusic.com/calendar/2011-8-24-white-life
THU 8/25: BUFFALO, NY: THE VAULT
FRI 8/26: DETROIT, MI: at El Comal
SAT 8/27: MILWAUKEE, WI: TBD
SUN 8/28: CHICAGO, IL: Sweet Forril (Secret Location)
WED 8/31: BALTIMORE, MD: Floristree w/ Moss Of Aura
White Life’s Time is Wasting remixed by Schwarz
Ami Dang’s Manali remixed by Schwarz
Another Remix of Ami’s Manali by White Life’s own Jon Ehrens aka JohnnyEK on Sound Cloud.
White Life’s “Time Is Wasting” was recently featured on quite a few sites including ‘Witness This’ and ‘scatter brains!!’
“Time is Wasting, wastes no time inviting the listener to the smooth, catchy party that is White Life – makes you check your worries at the door, hands you a cold adult beverage and introduces you to a hot dance partner to make memories with.” – Witness This
“can i say this is delicious? when i first saw reference to yeasayer i said no. but then i said yes, and danced a little (tim horton’s is still getting used to me). i’m starting to learn if it comes from baltimore, check it out immediately” - scatter brains!!
If you’ve yet to pick up a copy of this weeks City Paper…
“…the most high-profile Ehrens project to date, the self-titled debut album by White Life out earlier this month on Baltimore label Ehse Records, is a bit of a departure even from his varied earlier work. With slick synths, funky basslines, drum machine beats, and soulful vocals by his sister Emily Ehrens, White Life’s songs flirt with campy retro in their appropriations of 1980s pop and R&B, but hold together beautifully with Ehrens’ increasingly confident songcraft, and some of his most somber, dramatic lyrics to date. “I actually wrote all the words for the record in one day at this restaurant,” he says in April at a midtown eatery during a brief visit home from Los Angeles, where he’s been staying the last few months. “I was really fuckin’ depressed, and I came here and had coffee.”
A few weeks later, however, the songs felt cathartic and celebratory at the album’s release party at Soft House (White Life’s third show ever, even counting a brief and hastily assembled set at last year’s Whartscape). He danced through the crowd between verses, and both Ehrens siblings confidently belted big pop hooks over programmed beats, accompanied by a small backing band including Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, who provided harmonies and production on the White Life album. That night also saw the live debut of Flock of Dimes, Wasner’s new solo project, for which Jon Ehrens joined her on bass for a couple of songs. Wasner and Ehrens have two more projects on the horizon: an improv session with Lexie Macchi (disclosure: City Paper Music Editor Michael Byrne’s housemate) and Nate Nelson that may be released on cassette under the name Poof Sounds, and a songwriting collaboration as Dungeonesse that’s being planned as a series of 7-inch singles.” – Al Shipley, City Paper – May, 25th 2011
Read the entire article HERE.
Also, over on City Paper’s Noise blog you’ll find a digital mixtape of some of Jon’s unreleased or hard to find songs from his many different projects.