For a local band that’s technically releasing their first record, the White Noise are in a pretty damn good position. It’s hard for the quintet not to be happy about how so much of the country is hearing their ambient hardcore and industrial sounds for the first time, as they dropped AM/PM just a couple of weeks ago — which happened to coincide with the first dates on their summer-long stint on Warped Tour.
“It’s been incredible to showcase the new songs on the tour,” says lead guitarist Josh “KJ” Strock. “Even bands are coming up to us like ‘Dude, what was that song?’ Everyone’s enjoying what we’re doing, so it makes it even more rewarding in the end. It’s exciting for a band like us, because it feels like Warped Tour is made for us right now. We’re not a punk band by any means, but we want to bring back that feeling of Warped Tour.”
“It’s been a great opportunity to engage so many fans,” adds vocalist Shawn Walker. “We don’t like to sit around, so we’ll go out in the line everyday and engage with these people. Some of them give you the ‘No, I don’t want to listen to your shit’ look, but you convince some of them to come to your set. It’s awesome exposure, and it’s cool to be able to throw it out like that.”
Of course, the current incarnation of Warped Tour isn’t exactly how the guys of the White Noise remember it. Originally from Massachusetts and Texas, the bandmates have fond memories of catching their favorite punk and post-hardcore bands on the famous touring festival’s circuit when they were teenagers a decade or more ago. At first, Strock and company weren’t sure they’d even be able to land a spot on the tour before their record dropped, but now that they’ve been on it for a couple weeks, it’s become apparent that they belong.
“I wouldn’t say any of the bands on Warped Tour right now are the bands that we listen to, but that’s no slight toward anyone on Warped Tour,” Strock says. “Right now, it’s a pretty good mixture of bands that are within our scene and older bands that we never really listened to but can still appreciate.”
But while AM/PM may technically be the group’s first record, the White Noise has been around for more than a few years in one way or another. After all meeting through the recording studio in Dallas where Strock was working at the time, the guitarist and Walker joined rhythm guitarist/bassist David Southern’s metalcore band, Set the Sun. Once they’d rounded out their current lineup in 2014, the group soon realized that — despite being the most popular local music genre in their area — none of them really liked the tunes they were performing.
“No one listens to metalcore in this band really, so that needed to go,” Strock says. “But it was a huge scene where we were, and it was the only scene. If you didn’t play it, you had a very tough time getting booked. If you were doing something different, they wouldn’t even know what bands to put you with, so you’d just stick out in a bad way sometimes.”
A move to Southern California and some soul-searching later, the White Noise had their new name and more unique sound down. Five singles, an EP, and now a full-length album later, the band is hoping to catch on with a more artistic angle than the work that brought them early success (at least in Texas). As Strock sees it, their Warped Tour run and the release of AM/PM should give people a glimpse into every angle of the band — which he hopes is enough to win some new fans over both in OC and throughout the rest of the country.
“Hopefully people understand this is an album that we didn’t just throw together,” Strock says. “To us, it’s a piece of art that we put a lot of time into. From the lyrics to the instrumentals, we put a lot of time into it to shape it a certain way so people get an experience from listening to it. We want to give people a good live experience and good album experience, and hopefully they appreciate that and we get more fans from it. We’re not just out here throwing some songs together to play Warped Tour and get a bunch of girls.”
The White Noise Perform at The Vans Warped Tour this weekend. For more details, click here.