Described as “the sound of indie” by AnR Factory, The White Lakes is one of the more interesting indie-rock bands in the UK (well, right now at least). Originally from Oxford, but now based near London, the foursome has been performing for just over two years. Matt Ellacott (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Finlay Carson (lead guitar), Logan McQuirk (bass guitar) and Kyle Oliviera (drums) are building a strong reputation and loyal following. We had the chance to speak with frontman Matt Ellacott (ME) about their new single ‘Summer (She Won’t Wait)’ and much more!
OSR: A dull question, but how did The White Lakes form?
ME: The White Lakes first started when Kyle and me met in music college in 2017/2018. We became friends and ended up moving to the same university together in Guildford. We met Fin in the smoking area at a nightclub and Logan joined at the end of 2019.
OSR: What about your band name? How did that come about?
ME: So, me and Fin had had a crazy night out and we got in around 8am the next day. We couldn’t sleep so we stayed up watching these weird documentaries that you can find on YouTube. One of them was about a Russian Nuclear Testing and we watched the whole thing. At the end, they had tested so much in this lake that no life could survive in it. They called it White Lakes or the White Lake. So, we put an ‘S’ on the end and thought it sounded cool as a band name.
OSR: Can you tell us about your most recent release ‘Summer (She Won’t Wait)?
ME: ‘Summer (She Won’t Wait)’ first came about when the band was in its early formation. I took a bit of a break from the band during my studies and ended up becoming even more productive writing songs like ‘Summer’, ‘Wolves’ and loads more.
I was quite sad during that period of my life as I felt the best times in life were behind me, such as going to a field with your mates, getting drunk for the first time, having your first cigarette and just not caring about anything. So, I think the song is a reflection of my emotions and a story for my younger self basically saying life goes on. At the same time, that’s what the song means to me. I would like it to mean something different to each person who listens to it; that’s music, that’s art.
OSR: Which was more difficult when producing ‘Summer (She Won’t Wait)’ – the writing or recording?
ME: They are both very different experiences, so both have different challenges. With writing, the song is normally quite laid back and relaxed, whereas recording is very fast tempo and focused requiring a lot more brainpower. I would say recording is the hardest. Every sound has to be perfect and the way we heard it when writing, so it takes a lot of time to get to that point of perfection. Not that we have reached it yet; it’s a constant battle to sound better.
OSR: Of all your tracks from ‘All Night’ to ‘Summer (She Won’t Wait)’, which is your most favourite and why?
ME: I would have to say ‘Summer’ just because of the time we are in now. It’s interesting, our fans seem to be more together because of that song. Also, when we play that song live we have had some class reactions, everyone bouncing and singing along! We miss playing live.
OSR: What about your least favourite?
ME: It’s very hard to rank your own song, but for me, I love them all. If I was to say one it would be ‘All Night’ because I feel we could record that song a lot better than we did in 2018; but, I do love ‘All Night’.
OSR: What is your favourite lyric from ‘Summer (She Won’t Wait)’ and why that line?
ME: I would have to go with “holding on to my reflection”. In the time I was writing it, I was trying to relive my years as a 15-year-old, and stopped being happy because I couldn’t recreate those emotions and feelings. Since then I haven’t been “holding on to my reflection”. I have fond memories of those times as they shaped me into who I am, but, yeah, that line is a dig at the 17-year-old version of me.
OSR: Who or what inspires your music and how?
ME: I feel we are quite lucky when it comes to inspiration. We have all come from different musical backgrounds, such as Fin being heavily into prog metal. Kyle was into punk, Logan was an indie boy through and through, and I used to be a trumpet player in a brass band and a jazz band. So, we always use all these different genres in our music, especially all the new music that we are writing during lockdown. We feel we have really found our sound as a group. We just find elements from different tracks, such as beats, grooves, chord progressions and work them into this indie-rock sound.
OSR: If you could perform with any other local artists, who would they be and why?
ME: If by local you mean Oxford, it would have to be Foals. They are, in our eyes, the kings of indie music in Oxford. They headlined The Cellar in Oxford when they were a lot smaller so we wanted to. We had the chance and it was amazing! Would be amazing to play a show with them. Fingers crossed!
OSR: Who was your first celebrity crush and why?
ME: I think my first celebrity crush was Vanessa Hudgens when she performed in High School Musical. I was six at the time, so I couldn’t tell you why I loved her, but I did. If she is reading this, hit me up!
OSR: What’s something you always wanted to do as a child but never got to do it?
ME: I think mine was eating Haribo. My mum raised me and my brother as vegetarians, which included no gelatin. Going to school, watching all my friends have them made me really want them. I knew I wasn’t allowed to do it. At the time I would follow everything my mum said because I didn’t want to disappoint and I wanted to be a ‘good boy’.
OSR: What can we expect from The White Lakes for 2020?
ME: Well, 2020 has gone to shit really. We had so many gigs planned, such as supporting Red Rum Club at the O2 Oxford. At the same time, it’s allowed us to write loads of new tunes and we think they are our best yet by miles. So maybe, if we are looking forward to 2021, then you will see us play so many shows, release, hopefully, a killer EP with some massive tunes and get out to see our fans!
OSR: Do you have a message for all our readers?
ME: Thank you all for reading! Go have a beer and stay safe. Wash your hands and remember social distancing.