ARTIST NAME: White Label Analog
SONG TITLE: Turn To Dust
ALBUM TITLE: In Case You Just Tuned In
GENRE: Indie Rock
As the old adage goes, “You have a lifetime to make your first record.” But that freedom of time is coupled with increased pressure. So often, debut albums are saddled with the weight of expectation.
The members of Austin, Texas-based White Label Analog – vocalist Chris Didear, drummer/vocalist Heath Macintosh, and guitarist Chal Boudreaux, and bassist Joel Sutton have been through that pressure before, and they know how to rise to the challenge with their electrifying album, In Case You Just Tuned In.
“In Case You Just Tuned In is a veritable snapshot of our lives since releasing (their 2015 EP) A Little More Time,” says Macintosh.
“A reflection of our ideas, feelings, and the experiences we’ve all shared.”
It was released in September 2016 and ignited a 7,000-mile fall tour from Austin to the Pacific Northwest and down the West Coast.
“White Label Analog have created a sound that echoes some of the greats in the Indie and Alternative genres (The Strokes, Bloc Party, The Hold Steady, and Two Door Cinema Club) while remaining uniquely their own.”
– Paul Driscoll (RadioBDC: Director of Operations and Program Development).
Lead single “Echoes” epitomizes this idea of taking in and appreciating each snapshot moment. It received spins on KROQ (LA), WRFF (Philly), KTCL (Denver), WLKK (Buffalo), WWCD (Columbus), KFMA (Tucson), KRXP (Colorado Springs), KLBJ (Austin), with official adds on KACV (Amarillo) and RadioBDC (Boston).
“I play over 40 new tracks weekly, and “Echoes” has been one of my strongest reaction songs of the year.”
-Bruce Rave (host of syndicated show Go Deep heard on KXRN, Indie1031.com, WSUM, and WVMO).
The “echoes” of the title “are the reverberations of our experience on earth that continue after we are no longer here,” says Didear.
It’s a song with a universal, understandable message: Life is short, experiences are fleeting, and so we should make as many memories as we can in the time we’ve been given.
It’s a theme that envelops much of In Case You Just Tuned In. Even at its most personal moments, where failed relationships are analyzed and personal loss is quantified, the album is truly focused on crawling your way out of the dark and into the light.
Musically, the album is bursting with the vitality of this mantra, with energetic synths and vivacious drum beats that recall the most joyous moments in the listener.
While White Label Analog self-produced the record, allowing them the autonomy to create without outside influence, they turned to a number of mixing engineers to deliver the fully realized sound they were seeking.
That collaborative effort, highlighted by 11-time Grammy nominated mixing engineer Mark Needham (The Killers, Saint Motel, Imagine Dragons), as well as Dwight Baker (Kelly Clarkson, Missio, Blue October), Mark Dufour (Ghostland Observatory, Vertical Horizon) and Chris “Frenchie” Smith (Gary Clark Jr., Built to Spill, Jet), allowed the band to achieve the most fully realized iteration of each of the 11 tracks on the album. The result is an eclectic group of songs that seems to pull as much from pop-rock traditions like The Killers as they do from indie bands like Two Door Cinema Club and Modest Mouse.
Songs like “Rainmaker” retain infectious melodies while simmering with big rock bombast.
In an era of convergence between indie rock and pop music, White Label Analog is the daring alliance between the two…
White Label Analog is not worried about trying to fit into any genre labels or follow any trends in music.
“Trying to copy or chase what’s already happening is like chasing a moving target,” Didear says.
“We just want to create honest music that is fun, engaging, but still has a little attitude.”
That effort, and the band’s trademark defying of expectation is best exemplified by the closing track on In Case You Just Tuned In. “Hard Road,” the Black Sabbath cut previously known solely as the last single released during Ozzy Osbourne’s first tenure in the band, is given a new lease on life at the end of In Case You Just Tuned In, transforming the rollicking track into a climactic singalong to conclude the album.
The song’s refrain is a fitting one to describe the journey of White Label Analog: “Oh, it’s a hard road…Forget all your sorrow, don’t live in the past. And look to the future, `cause life goes too fast.”
The individuals in the band went through a great deal of personal exploration to get to their debut full-length release.
But White Label Analog wasn’t looking back. They continued to advance, invigorated by their collaboration and 2017 proved to be an exciting year with new milestones.
White Label Analog performed at the RadioBDC+1 event in Boston, MA, followed by an official SXSW 2017 showcase.
“My 2 favourite shows at SXSW – The Dandy Warhols and THESE guys – White Label Analog! Great songs! Loved their sound. We added “Echoes” immediately.”
-Mike Fuller (Program Director-KACV FM90).
WLA was named as one of Austin Monthly’s “10 Bands to Watch” in the March 2017 issue and traveled internationally to perform two official showcases at Canadian Music Week in Toronto, CA in April 2017.
Most recently, their tracks “Al Capone,” “Awakened By The Fire,” and “Sidewinder” were featured in 4 episodes of MTV’s “Teen Mom 2” in August, September, and October 2017.
The track “Where Have You Been” was licensed for the feature film “My Ranger” which premiered at the Austin Revolution Film Festival in September of 2017 where it won the award for Best Soundtrack.
Go on at length on what it takes to write a song from the start to the end.
Songwriting is a creative outlet for musicians and a way to express yourself however you see fit.
Not all musicians are writers, but for a band predicated on creating and performing original music, it is paramount to constantly work on the craft of songwriting.
We allow the process to happen naturally within a group setting. Songs like “Turn To Dust” usually start out with either a piece or whole song coming from one writer who birthed the idea, and then others are given an opportunity to add their input.
Rarely do we write songs by “jamming” in our rehearsal room.
We use Garageband to record our ideas individually and then share them via the cloud.
Each member at their discretion can contribute to the idea and it is iteratively changed until we think it is in a good version to try in a live band situation.
Once we practice it live, then it takes more of the band’s personality as the nuances are more developed in the execution by the band’s musicianship and chemistry.
We’ll continue to work to further development of ideas through trying out different arrangements or trying additional ideas as they are suggested.
Once we have a song in its final form, then we’ll try it out on a live audience.
Over time the song may continue to morph until it is recorded with better production with the intent to release.
We co-produce everything we release but have worked with various recording engineers, mixers, and producers.
Our latest single “Everybody Knows” incorporated more technology in our sound and working with Gil Gonzalez was a great experience for us in having his ideas, objectivity, and was very refreshing.
Once a track has been recorded, it is considered final as a recorded product.
However, for live performance, we may tweak it just a bit, so that it lends itself more for a live setting rather than for a radio or streaming audience.
Elaborate on the gain and loss of being a musician.
As in life, you have ups and downs, but if music is something that is truly in your blood, it is that passion for it that keeps you wanting to do it.
For most of us, we just can’t imagine the idea of not playing. It is therapeutic, it is a motivator, it is addictive, and a labour of love.
However, there isn’t any drug or feeling that equals when you finally get a song to a high level in terms of what you feel is its best form and hearing a finished recording for the first time or hearing it on the radio, or performing it in front of a crowd and nailing the performance.
To experience a crowd, who is hyper-engaged in your performance and music, is an ultimate high.
Tell us how you connect people with your music.
Well, we do all of our outreach organically either through exciting performances and selling our music at shows or doing our best to make our music available on every digital platform possible.
Hopefully, if we’ve done a good job writing songs that somehow have that intangible something that makes the listener want to hear more, or know more about us.
Our songs typically are about personal experience and we like to write music that not only has a rock or pop element but makes the listener want to move and dance.
Mention your greatest song up to date.
Very tough call and every member would likely have a different answer. “Turn To Dust” is high on the list, but I (Chris) would lean more towards our track “Echoes” or “Everybody Knows.”
Tell us what you hate most about the music business.
It is a double-edged sword, a necessary evil. Most artists just want to work on their art.
However, in order to expand your audience, you must invest time in marketing and promotion, booking, management aspects, etc.
Unless you are making enough money to live off your music (which most musicians don’t) then you have either be wealthy (which most musicians aren’t) or work to pay the bills.
So, carving time for all of the business aspects you need in order to grow your business can be a difficult juggling act.
So as a DIY artist, you have to multi-task and as needed, hire folks to help you get things done.
However, you have to weigh the return on your investment, be careful who you hire, and spend your money wisely.
Most things you can do yourself, but these things require a significant investment of your time.
However, if you are persistent, don’t give up, and spend time learning about techniques or approaches that work, you can see dividends in the way of better gigs, pay, bigger crowds, and more opportunity.
Discuss how you monitor your digital distribution and streaming.
There are a number of ways to gauge your Distro. CD Baby sales reports, iTunes reports, Spotify reports, FB page analytics, PRO royalty statements, website statistics, and online sales.
Really boils down to what revenue streams you have or choose to employ. Most have some form of reporting that includes analytics.
State the obstacles that a new artist can face as a starter.
A lack of experience, not knowing enough about the business aspects, having the maturity to be an active listener to maintain the membership and commitment of a band, not having established networks to help you or for your knowledge base, maybe needing more experience in songwriting, not having an engaging live performance.
There are literally all kinds of things that you must either research to improve upon or just plain need to spend the time learning by doing.
There are also services out there that take advantage of inexperienced musicians and end up wasting their money and time.
Patience is also something that you have to have because a lot more doors close than open. However, the doors that open should be viewed as wins and can motivate you to keep moving forward.
Tell us how you will tutor a new artist in the music business.
I will book younger bands and newer bands when it makes sense to do so.
Those opportunities can make a big difference for newer artists and were it not for others who helped me; it would have been even harder for me when I started.
It’s always great to have a mentor, everyone needs them. Nobody knows everything.
You should always be willing to learn, and to give something back when you are successful.
I am glad to take the time to pass along knowledge and experience when someone asks or cares what I have to say.
Explain how you record songs.
We record music as most do after going through an exhaustive pre-production process and then go into a studio.
We’ll start with the basics; all play together and capture drums first, and then begin overdubbing guitar and bass using the scratch tracks.
Vocals are tracked last of the main instruments, and then all the extra flavour like keys, percussion, etc.
Then we allow the engineer or producer the opportunity to get some rough mixes, and then refine them iteratively until the song is in its final form.
Lastly, we’ll work with a mastering engineer to get the final mixes mastered.
Discuss digital and analog recording.
Both have pros and cons. I love the warmth of analog, but it is a long process to get a great final recording unless you are releasing a live performance, and it can be more expensive.
You have to do a lot of track punching/overdubbing to get each track composited.
With digital, the production has gotten so much better, you have a lot more editing freedom, and it’s very efficient.
However, you can get bogged down in the minutia of detail in either. So you have to balance out perfection with realism; unless you aren’t on any time or money constraints. However, most artists have caps on those things.
Tell us your opinion on adding effects to vocals.
I think they are necessary and appropriate if used in a way that helps to present the song in what you deem is its best form.
They should complement a song, and not get in the way of it or be used to hide poor performance.
I like a little slap delay mostly, but there are all sorts of plugins and effects available for live performance and in a recording.
Tell us how you eradicate noise in your recording.
Trim the fat. That is to eliminate things that don’t add or contribute anything to the song. Filters, EQ-ing, limiters, and a multitude of gear can help eliminate noise.
Best foot forward is to start out with good basic tracks. That means good recording gear (microphones, pre-amps, etc.), quality instruments – which includes new guitar strings, new drumheads, etc.
There’s an old saying “crap in crap out.” If you start off with bad sounds, there’s no effect that can make it magically better. You can spray perfume on a turd and it’s still going to smell like a turd – just with perfume on it!
Describe the themes of your lyrics.
They are about all kinds of things… life experience, loss, defeat, triumph, growth, inspiration, observation, perspective, introspection or whatever happens to inspire or motivate us to write.
Sometimes it begins as just an emotion or feeling that expands into a story.
Tell us if you consider singing about politics or injustice rather than love stories.
I have written songs with political content in them. Politics is a part of life… However, most of our lyrics are about experiences and in trying to take the listener to a place where they aren’t focusing on the here and now of their life, but a momentary escape where they feel free from the confines of the worries and challenges of everyday life.
Discuss the registration of your songs with your Performing Rights Organization.
I would advise all artists to copyright and register their songs with a PRO.
We are with ASCAP and if you want to get paid for your music, registering your works with one is a great way to ensure that you are paid when someone uses your music.
Licensing your music is a viable revenue stream if you are able to secure placements.
We’re still getting mailbox money from the 3 songs they used of ours in MTV’s Teen Mom 2, and who doesn’t love mailbox money?!!!
All you have to do is register with ASCAP and then use their online interface to register your works.
Same goes for copyright, you can do it all digitally these days. It’s great and protects you and your music.
Discuss how you distribute your music.
We try to put our music on every major outlet possible. You can do them individually or use a bundled service like CD Baby who is already partnered with a bunch of distributors.
The point is to get your music out there. I’d rather have a smaller percentage of something than 100% of nothing!
Every indie artist should make their music available on Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon, SoundCloud, their website, have music available for sale at live shows, and whatever means they can find.
Discuss how you cope with the crowd on the stage.
I try and make eye contact, execute the songs well, move around, and keep the audience engaged.
Live music should be an experience and is one of the best ways to make new fans and increase your audience reach. Word of mouth is still the best endorsement.
However, the bottom line is to remember you are there to have fun. Expect the unexpected and don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff!
Elaborate on the song titled “Echoes.”
The song “Echoes” was inspired by a dear friend who passed away from cancer. It is about living life to the fullest. Echoes are the memories and experiences we leave behind with others as part of our legacy. Those memories reverberate and echo long after we are gone. So, Carpe Diem!
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
Our name was a suggestion by our drummer Heath Macintosh after we pondered over a gazillion names that didn’t stick. “White Label” refers to old school vinyl records.
Back in the day, record companies would release advance singles on plain white labels with no artwork for DJ’s to spin on radio and in clubs. It was a way to promote a single before it came out and before there were the digital media platforms that we have today.
“Analog” is just a nod to the fact that we still play live instruments guitar, bass, and drums.
Pretty much was the same with our last album titled “In Case You Just Tuned In.” Lots of titles thrown around, but in the end, we were hoping that it would grab the listeners’ attention, and announce us as a new cool band that you might have not heard of…. until now.
We’re here and you need to check us out! It also lent itself well with our 45 adapter logo. We kicked off the release of ICYJTI with the single “Echoes.”
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IN CASE YOU JUST TUNED IN, AUSTIN BASED INDIE POP/ALT-ROCKERS WHITE LABEL ANALOG FOLLOW THEIR CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED BREAKTHROUGH ALBUM AND TOUR WITH THE UPLIFTING, UNIFYING ANTHEM “EVERYBODY KNOWS”
When longtime friends and onetime bandmates Chris Didear (lead vocals), Heath Macintosh (drums/vocals) and Chal Boudreaux (guitar/vocals) joined forces to emerge as White Label Analog they were driven by two key rules: 1) It’s gotta be fun, and 2) See rule #1.
The Austin based group created in 2013, whose current lineup includes bassist Mike Fisher, has dubbed their edgy, upbeat vibe everything from indie pop/alt rock to the more whimsical “indie slam disco.”
They had a blast touring the Midwest and West Coast (Denver, Seattle, L.A., San Francisco, San Diego, etc.) to support their 2016 breakthrough full-length album In Case You Just Tuned In, the follow-up to their 2015 debut EP A Little More Time.
In what will be the first of several upcoming individual tracks, the WLA’s fun and raucous latest single “Everybody Knows” is the perfect uplifting antidote/anthem to counteract these troubling and challenging times.
Didears’s original idea was to create a romantic but super fun love song dedicated to and about his relationship with his wife, but it took on deeper universal dimensions when he thought about how it might inspire people living through this difficult era.
His dynamic words can apply both one on one or be a spiritual calling to something greater: “We’re not confused, we know our place…We get so high can’t feel our face…no ordinary life will do, I’ve waited my life for you…”
Helping bring the energy of the music and message to multi-dimensional life is the compelling video WLA created for the song with fellow musician and friend Steve Miller, who directed it.
The clip centers on a joyful pool party and featuring folks from all walks of life, having fun and celebrating a beautiful summer day. It’s interspersed by animated images of the band members in the style of a-ha’s classic video “Take on Me.”
“Considering the political climate and how the country is so divided,” Didear says, “I thought it would be great to put a song out there with a universal message of love and acceptance that was all about connecting with others and inclusivity.
I wanted the video to be really light-hearted and joyful but not cheesy, and we thought, what could be more spontaneous and full of life than a pool party? Sonically, ‘Everybody Knows’ has a slightly different style from the album, reflective of our decision, with our producer Gil Gonzalez, to use a bit less guitar and more synth and electronic percussion. We’re all excited about the direction the band is taking.”
Tweaking the vibe even slightly is a bold and visionary move considering the success White Label Analog has had with their previous, guitar-dominated sound.
Their song “Echoes” received spins in Los Angeles, Philly, Denver, Buffalo, Columbus, Tucson, Colorado Springs and their hometown of Austin, where they often hold court at popular live music spots like Stubb’s on Red River, Dozen Street on the city’s East Side, and Craft Pride on Rainey Street.
Regionally, they have performed in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, San Marcos, and Eagle Pass.
Selected as one of Austin Monthly’s “10 Bands to Watch” in March 2017, WLA was an official showcase artist at SXSW and Canadian Music Week in Toronto that year.
They also performed at RadioBDC’s +1 event in Boston.
“Oceana,” a track from their debut EP, was used in the feature film “Trippin’ to the Altar.”
“Where Have You Been” was featured in the 2017 award-winning indie film “My Ranger,” and three other tracks were licensed and included in 4 episodes of MTV’s “Teen Mom 2” (Season 8).
“The most exciting and gratifying aspect of WLA’s success these past few years has been working hard on new music, then having the opportunity to present it to people and see such positive reactions,” Didear says. “I think if you ask most musicians, their #1 favorite thing about being in this business is performing in front of a live audience and enjoying the amazing moments where those connections are being made.