White Lies are an English alternative rock band from Ealing, west London. Formerly known as Fear of Flying, the band consists primarily of Harry McVeigh (lead vocals, guitar), Charles Cave (bass guitar and backing vocals), and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums). The band are complemented by Tommy Bowen (keyboards) during live performances.
White Lies formed in October 2007, upon writing songs they felt didn't suit their original band. After delaying their first performance for five months to build up media hype, they earned a recording contract with Fiction Records days after their debut. The release of singles "Unfinished Business" and "Death" led to tours and festival appearances in the United Kingdom and North America, including a headline performance at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend and a place on the 2009 NME Awards Tour. Further singles "To Lose My Life" and "Farewell to the Fairground" led to further media attention and the band's first worldwide headline tour. Upon the release of their debut album, To Lose My Life..., White Lies became the first British act in 2009 to achieve a number one album.
At the beginning of 2009, White Lies featured in multiple "ones to watch" polls for the coming year, including the BBC's Sound of 2009 poll, the 2009 BRITs Critics' Choice Award and the Q Magazine "Best New Artist" award. White Lies' musical style has been described as dark yet uplifting by the media, drawing comparisons to Joy Division, Editors and Interpol.
Charles Cave and Jack Lawrence-Brown were both from Pitshanger Village in North Ealing, and first played together in a school show at North Ealing Primary School. Harry McVeigh (from Shepherd's Bush) joined them two years later, and they began playing under the name Fear of Flying at the age of fifteen. Cave described the band as a "weekend project", and one of many groups which they were involved in while at school. Fear of Flying completed one UK tour as a support act, as well as further slots with The Maccabees, Jamie T and Laura Marling. They released two double A-side vinyl singles on independent record label Young and Lost Club, "Routemaster/Round Three" on 7 August 2006 and "Three's a Crowd/Forget-Me-Nots" on 6 December 2006. Both vinyls were produced by former Blur and The Smiths collaborator, Stephen Street, who they met through a friend at school. They went on to play the inaugural Underage Festival in Victoria Park, England on 10 August 2007.
Two weeks prior to the group starting university, they decided that they would take a second gap year, and perform new material which the band felt did not suit their current outfit. Cave stated that "I felt as though I couldn't write about anything personal, so I would make up semi-comical stories that weren't really important to anyone, not even me." Fear of Flying disbanded in October 2007 with a MySpace bulletin stating "Fear of Flying is DEAD ... White Lies is alive!", before introducing a darker sound and a new name that reflected their maturity. Cave stated that the band deleted their MySpace account "without any token farewell gigs". McVeigh said that the current musical climate had an effect on the split, stating that "Maybe a few years ago, we would have signed a deal and had a chance to make three albums [...]. In the current climate...we’d have been dropped". When asked about the name change in an interview with a radio station in San Francisco, Jack Brown said that "We just thought that we should perform these songs as a different band. We had songs that we felt weren't suitable for the band that we were in and we thought White Lies would be the perfect vehicle for the songs."
Playing under the new name, White Lies played their first gig at Hoxton Square's Bar & Kitchen on 28 February 2008, supporting Team Waterpolo and Semifinalists. They were billed as a quartet, playing with live keyboardist Tommy Bowen, formerly of Mumm-Ra. The band admitted rehearsing for two months for the gig, as well as putting off their debut for five months to gather media hype. Following this, the band received numerous record label offers, eventually signing to Fiction Records a matter of days after their first performance. The band also signed publishing rights to Chrysalis Music Publishing. The band said they chose the name because "white lies are quite dark...that's how we see ourselves" and that white lies "protect the upsetting truths" of the band's lyrics. Receiving airtime on BBC Radio 1, Zane Lowe named "Death" his "Hottest Record in the World" on 5 February 2008, despite the song having never been officially released. Radio 1 would go on to feature the band at Radio 1's Big Weekend in May 2008, where they headlined the BBC Introducing stage.
On 10 March 2008, White Lies were announced as one of four bands taking part in the first ever NME New Noise Tour (now the NME Radar Tour). The tour visited eleven cities in the UK throughout May 2008. The band were first featured in the magazine in the issue dated 22 March 2008, appearing in the "Everyone's Talking About..." section of their Radar article. Live Editor Hamish MacBain described tracks "Death" and "XX" (later titled "Unfinished Business") - the only two songs available on the band's MySpace - as "...not to afraid of a little sincerity, not afraid of a little scale". The band released their debut single one month later, a 7-inch vinyl of "Unfinished Business" on 28 April 2008. The limited pressing was released by Chess Club Records, an independent record label co-founded by drummer Jack Brown. To mark the release, the band supported dEUS in London's Scala on 16 April 2008, as well as a performance at the 2008 Camden Crawl.
In an interview with the BBC's Newsbeat programme, McVeigh stated that due to the nature of the band's songwriting techniques clashing with their difficult touring schedules, there will be no new White Lies material until 2010. Despite this, McVeigh has mentioned that the ambitious recording of "Nothing to Give" and "The Price of Love" (from To Lose My Life...) act as a taster of the different sound to come on their sophomore release. In September 2009, the band released "Taxidermy" as a digital download through iTunes for the first time. A live favourite amongst fans, the track had previously only been released on the (now deleted) vinyl release of "To Lose My Life". During the same month, the band supported Kings of Leon's tour of the United States, and Coldplay's tour of the United Kingdom. As well as this, the band played their own headline tour across Europe during October—November 2009, including some of their biggest shows to date in the UK. A number of the tour dates were later cancelled, due to McVeigh falling ill during their concert in Munich, Germany. Having fully recovered in time for the beginning of their UK dates, the tour continued as normal, with cancelled dates being rescheduled for February 2010.
On 13 February 2010, White Lies became the first high-profile artist to perform at the FAC251 music venue in Manchester. Operated by Peter Hook, the venue is situated on the former site of the Factory Records headquarters. The band played at the venue again on 14 February, with tickets for the second show made available exclusively through the band's website. The performances are the band's only scheduled headline performances of 2010. Both concerts sold out in a matter of minutes, with 38,000 people applying for the 400 tickets available. On 1 March 2010, the band were confirmed to play the 2010 V Festival in the United Kingdom. As well as this, they have supported Muse at Stade de France on June 12th and at Wembley Stadium on September 11th 2010.
Their second album has been completed and is set for release in 17th January 2011. It is produced by Alan Moulder, and the first single will be "Bigger Than Us".
The album title has been confirmed as "Ritual".
As Fear of Flying, Banquet Records described the band's second single as "Quite danceable indie". The Guardian's official website named them an indie-pop band, stating "they made promising, if unremarkable, Franz Ferdinand-styled pop with cheeky chappy lyrics". In an interview with BBC London, they cited Talking Heads as a major influence. White Lies' darker sound has been primarily compared to Joy Division, Interpol and Editors, as well as Arcade Fire, The Killers, Echo & the Bunnymen, Tears for Fears and The Teardrop Explodes. McVeigh's singing voice has been compared to that of Ian Curtis and Julian Cope. When asked about the comparisons in an interview with ITN Music, McVeigh stated that "We weren't alive during that period of music...we've never really been that into Joy Division, especially not the Editors...or even Interpol really", adding "I don't think our music sounds a whole lot like those comparisons, I think we're a lot more euphoric and uplifting". As well as this, the band have stated that The Secret Machines are one of their main influences.
Official Website: http://www.whitelies.com/
MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/whitelies