In Brudenell Social Club Games Room, by the covered snooker table and in amongst all the recently unloaded stage equipment, we sat down to chat with White Lung’s lead singer Mish Way. The effortlessly cool Canadian sat there chewing gum whilst wearing sunglasses and a heavy biker’s leather jacket with her wrist tattoo “FGT” pocking out from under the sleeve. Apparently “FGT” stands for fucking good times and was tattooed onto her, and a group of her friends, by her husband.
The band are about to finish their UK tour and Mish was pleased with how it was going so far, before they head off to America. “It’s going gooood, we have just been in England, which is great, all the shows have been awesome. I’m very surprised, it’s great. We are in Manchester tomorrow then England is done, then a bit of Europe, just for a week and then we do our big North America tour starting in July.”
Some bands maintain that there are huge differences between touring in America and the UK, while others say the differences are minute, so I was keen to see how they regard it as they hail from North America. “Well…the buildings are newer, my only beef is that you guys hate ice here, there’s no ice ever. I feel like I have to always ask for more ice. It drives me crazy, I got an ice coffee the other day and there was no ice in it, I was like ‘what is happening here’. Then I asked somebody and they said it’s just a thing here no one really cares about ice. I said on stage the other night in London I was like ‘Why don’t you guys like ice?’ and some friends in the audience said it sounded like ‘Why don’t you like us?’ and everyone was like ‘WE LIKE YOU!’ and I was like ooppss didn’t translate.”
White Lung’s last two albums have been released on Domino Records, I wanted to find out if that was the privilege I imagine it to be. “Yeah it’s great. Honestly, everyone at that label is so great and so organised and they take care of us, they are so good. We are really fortunate to be a part of that family, we really appreciate it. As much as labels don’t really matter now, I think that they do in a lot of ways. We are lucky they are so awesome.”
Their latest album ‘Paradise’ is their fourth in a career which has been very varied and exciting, I quizzed Mish on some of her personal career highlights. “That’s so hard because I never set out to make music as a career, I always did writing so heavily on the side because I just assumed this was something I would do as a hobby or for fun. Then when things started to snowball your goals change so I was never like my goal is to be this and do this because the percentage of people that actually get to do it is so small and I am always wanting to do more so I don’t think I can answer that, ask me when I’m fifty, if I’m not dead.”
Mish’s lyrics are so varied and emotive that I was intrigued to discover what her writing process was. “A lot obviously from my personal life but as well on this last record I took on a lot of different characters when I was writing. Because I am a journalist I did a lot of research last year on different things, certain stories always resonate with you, it’s so all over the place. Books, movies, you know everything, there are things that are always sitting at the back of your mind, it’s like this box of Christmas lights in your closet and they are all tangled and then you un-string them and they kind of work themselves into the song and it actually ends up kinda beautiful.” Mish then went on to discuss their progression from the first album to this one. “For me personally, I have grown as a singer, I’m singing now. We are such a tight unit now, when you first start there is just four people jamming in a room and playing songs, and that’s it you go record them, we don’t work like that now. I think we have all become a lot stronger song writers. It’s so instinctual, when Annie starts a song I just know what I’m going to do, and Ken he is like my brother we work together so well. But I have learned how to be a singer because I was not before.”
With White Lung being predominantly women I wanted to know if they get fed up of that fact constantly being mentioned as if it is some kind of novelty. “I get it because it’s a truth, it’s like ‘Mish has blonde hair’ it’s true, ‘she’s a woman’ that’s true. I mean I used to be a lot more sensitive about that stuff, and more politically charged, but as you get older you are kind of like it’s the nature of the beast, I’m not going to spend my life worrying about it. I also think that women play music they have been doing it for years get over it, don’t treat us as if we are special Olympic athletes or something. But I do think that because we are women that it kind of effects what we sing about and how things go. I used to be so much more irritated by that but I don’t let those things bother me at all now it’s not worth it.”