Ex-Maccabees musician finds solo solace in Peckham...

Will White is fresh from speeding across London when he picks up the phone to Clash. The former Maccabees musician turned solo songwriter has just taken his band to the BBC’s new broadcasting house, recording a segment for their Introducing strand. 

It was a hectic journey, but it also left room for the conversation between band members to meander, discussing personal growth, shifting musical appetites, and their attitudes towards London itself.

“It’s all so crazy when you get here,” he comments. “I grew up here, but it’s just so intimidating, it’s like an animal, constantly changing.”

But then you find that little nook, a small corner to call your own. “Until you get kicked out by landlords and then who knows where you’ll end up!” he chuckles. “But it is about finding little pockets, little places. There’s so many of them everywhere.”

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It was just about getting really, really comfortable with writing songs...

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For Will White, Peckham has become one of those “little pockets”. The songwriter has based himself in Print Village, a complex or nexus of artists, designers, musicians, and malingerers.

“I think the big thing for me was having my own space… that was outside of my house,” he explains. “It was a huge thing for me to leave the house everyday and write music, rather than sit in my room while everyone else was at work pretending that was a viable way to live. Just walking into a room that’s my mine, and is full of all my gear, and the only reason I go there is to write music.”

“I did 9-to-5 basically up until now, writing songs everyday, trying to get better and better,” he continues. “Sometimes I’d write four a day, sometimes it was one. It was just about getting really, really comfortable with writing songs. As soon as you open the door to that thing it all comes in, it’s pretty quick.”

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Amassing a huge catalogue of material, Will began using the name BLANc as a catch-all for his productions, his curious pop-etched indie journeys. “I think in terms of writing music, it’s not something that comes easily but it’s also not something that I feel I’m faking my way through. I’ve always felt comfortable doing it, and I feel like I can now express myself accurately through it.”

“For a long time I did it because I love doing it, and was slightly underwhelmed by the results,” he admits. “Now, though, it’s changing!”

This confidence is evident on debut EP ‘Only One’, a collection of charmingly ad hoc melodic jewels out now on YALA! Records, reminiscent of Willy Mason’s solo searching, or even aspects of Tom Petty’s yearning Americana.

“They’re really honest songs, these songs. They came from me and a guitar in a room on my own,” he insists. “I’m not really trying to weave fictional stories, necessarily, I’m just trying to make sense of my life.”

“At that particular time I fell in love in Peckham, and that’s where my studio was, and where my house was, and it was this tiny little world I was living in. And luckily it came out in the songs. That was all part of that period of time. It was an honest period of time, a time where I felt good about expressing myself.”

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It was this tiny little world I was living in...

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Minimalist through necessity, ‘Only One’ finds its author augmenting himself with a close-knit flurry of guests. There’s a sense of a songwriter feeling his way through proceedings, working on instinct; it all makes for something very natural, and very endearing.

Will doesn’t want to be tied down – he saw the pressure the Maccabees faced at times – but he’s keen to look to the future, emboldened by the gentle precision of his songwriting voice, and the reaction of fans.

“We’re releasing another double A-side with Yala! in October. Which is two songs – one of them is produced by me, and another is produced by Hugo, my brother.”

“Then I’m in the process of recording the release that will follow that,” he sighs. “I’m unsure as to whether it’s going to be an EP or a mini-album. It just depends on how it goes. I don’t like putting too many definitive plans out there.”

Left to his own quiet corner of South East London, Will White seems to have found his niche.

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Stay in touch with BLANc online HERE.

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