Author: Moorman, Trent
Date published: May 16, 2012
Journal code: STRR
WHITE HILLS LET SPACE AND ROCK TAKE THEM
New York's White Hills attain ignition through throwback, overdriven riffage. Sounds launch with distorted liquid hydrogen into deepened, darkened space. What vocalist/guitarist Dave W. and bassist Ego Sensation mainly want is to be expansive, to dabble on the atmospheric edge of volume, wondering, and shredding. Songs on their 2012 Thrill Jockey release, Frying on This Rock, are simultaneously heavy and weightless. Dave W. enters open-ended, nefarious solos and orbits inside them for indefinite periods of time-he's about letting the moment do what it needs to do. Sometimes it burns up upon reentry, sometimes it remains in stasis, and sometimes it's shot through a black-hole Black Sabbath void where even light can't survive. Frying on This Rock was recorded in the vastness of Brooklyn's BC Studio with Martin Bisi (Brian Eno, Sonic Youth, Herbie Hancock, Iggy Pop, White Zombie). Dave W. spoke as White Hills were pulling into JFK Airport for a flight to San Francisco. As we talked about space rock, they drove past the space shuttle.
Space rock is a tricky niche. You guys get put into the space rock category often.
I am literally looking at the space shuttle, right now. Fucking NASA! It's sitting on the back of a plane. This is insane.
What space rock do you like and pull from?
First off, Lemmy-era Hawkwind. You can't beat that. And bands like Pink Fairies and High Tide. Also, people call it krautrock, but Amon Düül II. Noi is another one. Can, for that matter. This is the kind of stuffthat turned me on to opening up and being expansive.
Describe your album title, Frying on This Rock. Who's frying? What's frying? Why that title?
It was a lyric in one of the songs that didn't actually end up making it onto the record. I felt like it reflected the music. It reflects my thoughts about us as humans living on this planet. Some people think it's a reference to LSD, and then there's the reference to the state of Earth at this moment. We are kind of frying on the rock of planet Earth.
We're all on this rock, and we're all on LSD, releasing dopamine. Have you ever hallucinated spiders on your skin?
I've watched the skin of a woman's face fall offas she was laughing at me, until she was just a skeleton. Her skull was the only thing left.
In the Red Hot Chili Peppers documentary Funky Monks, John Frusciante says he has orgasms sometimes when he's soloing. Just right in his pants. Does that ever happen when you solo?
Not so much. Something to work toward, I guess [laughs]...