Monday, January 26, 2015

Artist Feature: Bo White

Photo Credit: James Willamor
When you talk to most musicians about whether or not they had a direction in mind with their musical projects, you usually are greeted with a swift "no, it just kind of came out this way." It usually serves as an amalgamation of all of their current and previous influences, effortlessly turning into a style all their own. Charlotte-based musician Bo White seems to approach things a bit differently. Since White's youth he's been meticulously crafting music of all varieties, theres the math-y yet melodic indie pop of Yardwork, the guitarless symphonic pomp of Bo White y Su Orquesta and his most recent post-punk excursion of Patois Counselors, each with their own unique, defined sound that feels unlike any other. Patois Counselors will be making their live debut this Friday at Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte, N.C. alongside acts like Diarrhea Planet, Junior Astronomers and Museum Mouth, so in advance we spoke with Bo about how the hell you can consistently make such a wide array of incredible music.

"I’m genuinely interested in most genres of music at any stage," White says, "precise to free, novice to virtuoso. I pay the most attention to unique elements that separate certain genres or sounds from others." So whereas many artists may find particular elements of a certain genre and build their sound around multiple facets, White seems to become enamored by one in particular and delve deep into the genre's possibilities. "If I want to do a different genre, I start another project," White states, which explains the myriad of acts that White has been a part of. He cites his most recent solo releases as the exception to these rules though, claiming that Adornment and Millenial Tombs were "compilations of experiments," which is quite the testament considering Millenial Tombs was listed as one of our favorite North Carolina albums of 2014. "I tried to think about them as little as possible," White proclaims, "Adornment is the compilation of what I could come up with in a weekend. Millenial Tombs is a compilation of what I could come up with in a few weeks while recovering from a stint in the hospital."

When you take into account that White can put such minimal thought into a project and still have it lauded as one of the best releases of the year, it kind of leaves you a bit floored as to what this musician is truly capable of at his finest. When discussing his creative output, White states that he's running at "medium capacity" when at his most prolific, stating that he could "write and record all day, every day" but, you know there's this whole thing called society that we probably need to interact with. Regardless of whether he's working at full capacity or not, it's astonishing to see how seamlessly White can craft such intricate works throughout such a wide selection of genres.

Frankly that astonishment is something that I'm not quite sure will ever go away. It seems as if each new project broadens White's horizons in a new and invigorating way, and that's because he's got well defined ideas as to how each new project should sound. "With any project I begin by imagining the end result," White says. "Do I want to eat Sunday brunch to this music? Do I want to spark some romance? Do I want to get bled on at the Milestone? From there I’ll shape the kernels into a form that is approximately a full song, say 3 minutes or so." If I had to take any guess as to which one of these coincides with Patois Counselors, I'd wager that its the latter. To date there's only two songs available for folks to soak in from Patois Counselors, a primarily synth-driven track entitled "Clean Skits" and "Free Jazz Complaint." The music of "Clean Skits" sounds crunchy and dissonant, propelled by brisk drumbeats and nervous wails from White that dip in and out of the mix as the warm, distorted synth line encompasses the listener. "Free Jazz Complaint" feels a bit more straight forward, it sounds a bit like if Damon Albarn were to take a foray into psyched-out punk rock. White's vocals take more of a forefront on this track while frenzied guitar lines pop in and out,  soundtracking White's meta rants on free-form music.

"I wanted to blister some paint off the walls but do it in an anti-macho, smart ass way," White says of Patois Counselors. "I’ve played punk and noisier stuff before, but people forget. Even when I’m singing Sade soul through a cassette deck with clarinet samples, I feel like I’m doing it in a punk manner." White shrugs off the fact that this may be lost to some audiences, but when you go back and analyze his music through this lens it makes a bit more sense. White's got an inherently punk attitude throughout his work and Patois Counselors serves as an excellent outlet for that attitude. It's crass, but accessible, which is why it fits perfectly on the Reverb Fest bill. Joining some of the state's most revered punk-oriented acts, Patois Counselors will make their live debut this Friday evening with a fresh new band that's "that's taken [his] parts and made them more visceral," meaning you can probably expect things to get pretty wiley.

Listen to "Free Jazz Complaint" below and check out Patois Counselors at Reverb Fest in Charlotte at The Neighborhood Theatre on Jan. 30. alongside Diarrhea Planet, Junior Astronomers, Museum Mouth and Southern Femisphere.

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