“Take Five” is an interview series that focuses on Chicago’s ever-growing music scene by giving you insight on the city’s best local acts via the best source possible: the acts themselves. We ask five questions, and they give five answers. Here is the latest installment featuring White Mystery.

In the opening paragraph from our last chat with Alex White, Audrey Leon wrote about what a year 2010 was for White Mystery. Now, it’s mid-way through 2012, and it may just be the biggest year for Alex and Francis White yet.

The duo have just dropped their third release, an EP titled People Power, in as many years, was on tour for over two months hitting all the majors locales supporting national acts like the Coathangers, are playing the revamped Riot Fest in September, and most importantly, their song, “Party,” was played on Jersey Shore. Since they’re on break in Chicago before heading back out on tour with Shonen Knife in late July, I caught up with Alex White to dish on White Mystery’s past, present and future.


LLP: What was the most memorable part of the big two-month tour?

Alex: Playing 70 shows from March to May around the United States and Canada was a marathon for White Mystery that started at SXSW and ended with a sold-out rock’n’roll circus record release in New York. It’s amazing how many people we played for, how many cool bands we played with, and how many adventures we shared on a continuous two month tour. Memorable experiences include Bill Murray attending the Burger Records showcase White Mystery played in Austin, spending a birthday at a notable musician’s house in Detroit, finding a box full of blood in Toronto, and a grease fire disrupting the party in Vancouver.

LLP: Can you talk about the idea behind and production of the “Rapid Overdrive” video?

Alex: “Rapid Overdrive” is a song based on the colors of the rainbow and printable spectrum, abbreviated as ROYGBIV and CMYK. The lyrics are a chant, and the goal for the video is to create a visual experience that matched the sensory-rich imagery of the song. Watch the new White Mystery video and you’ll see why the stop motion style and illustration talents of animator deluxe Penelope Gazin are a perfect match for a fanciful punk song about “Rattlesnakes, Orangutans, Yardbirds, GWAR, Bees, Intravenous Vampires, Rapid Overdrive, Your Gods Bow Inside Vehicles…”

LLP: First Jersey Shore and then Friendzone, how do White Mystery songs keep getting on MTV?

Alex: MTV uses the White Mystery song “Party” for programming and it’s an honor to leave a dent in pop culture.

LLP: You two are already back in the studio. Can you describe some of the new material you’ve already started recording?

Alex: New songs, bigger hair, same attitude from White Mystery. We’re recording three singles this summer in between tour dates with Shonen Knife that experiment with shreddier guitar and more complex drum rhythms.

LLP: By this time next year, what do you want White mystery to have accomplished?

Alex: The goal is to play beyond North America on new continents and have another merry 4/20 in 2013.


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