Exclusive Interview + Photos: Whitehill Grove – “Runaway”

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Whitehill Grove
WHITEHILL GROVE are an energetic band from Edinburgh who deserve much notice in the music industry. Their passion as a band is fantastic, the band is made up of four lads who are best mates from the Musselburgh area of Edinburgh, who have a very keen love to play music. I’ve never seen a band so energetic and keen to be in a band before. Their banter is top notch and you can always except them to be playing pranks on people or just having weird brains sometimes. Currently, Whitehill Grove have released their debut EP with their debut single ‘Runaway’ which was released in February 2016. The band are playing several gigs this year and are writing more music for upcoming EPs in the pipeline. The band are expecting to have another EP out later this year, but if not most likely early 2017.

AMBY: Firstly, why did yours decide to become a band?

Whitehill Grove: Callum and Danny started as a two piece band after a few failed earlier attempts at having successful bands. Then a few months after we started and had written a few songs, we got Ethan in to drum for us as the two piece was fun, but not very exciting live and then we added Seth because we wanted the extra depth in sound, which we now have.

AMBY: Where did the inspiration and idea come for who ‘Whitehill Grove’ are and where did the name come from?

Whitehill Grove: Whitehill Grove started during the summer of 2014 or later that year. Our bassist Danny and myself Callum had to been going into Edinburgh and busking quite regularly and were really enjoying it, and one day coming home we decided to try come up with a name for us. The collaboration of our two street names came up, and we created ‘Whitehill Grove’ and it just stuck. We had been in a side project called ‘Keep Karma’, Danny, Ethan and Callum and then we knew Ethan could drum, so we looked for a drummer and it was an obvious choice.

AMBY: Who are your influences as a band?

Whitehill Grove: We have a lot of influences as a band. Callum personally thinks that band don’t sound like anyone else, however they’ve had few places of influence for when writing lyrics. For Callum, his band influences are Catfish and The Bottlemen and MUSE. Danny is more into pop-punk music like Neck Deep. Ethan likes music like Blink 182 as he often talks about them and also has quite similar drumming to Travis Barker, but then he also likes Childish Gambino, and occasionally raps in our songs. Seth’s influence in music is bands like The Strokes.

AMBY: When did you start to play gigs as a band and where about? Also, how was your experience playing your first gig as a band? And how is the experience of supporting bands and getting your music out there to crowds, apart from your mates from school?

Whitehill Grove: Our first gig was in February 2015 at The Mash House in Edinburgh, a venue where we have played a lot. I don’t think we really knew what to expect from the first gig, but it was an amazing experience for us. The gig was pretty much sold out and crowd chanting our name is something which was pretty special to us. Overall, we’ve said before our first gig was probably the best overall gig we’ve played in our career so far. Performance wise is truthfully was our worst, but no one seemed to care. Supporting bands is fun to do as well, as it is an effective way of playing to potential fans. We always strive to play our best in an attempt to make people remember us, as well as the band they’ve came to see. We are on the lookout to support bigger bands with a bigger fan bases.

AMBY: Starting to record your own music and writing lyrics… how’s the experience of doing that?

Whitehill Grove: Callum thinks the way we create our best music is when we get together as band for a night and we will all come together and usually have new things we want to work on. Ethan and I are the ones that do the lyrics; we usually go away and sort the lyrics with the chords whereas Seth and Danny get the layout of the song put together. When then just join up what we have and play the new song until we all like the sound of it.

AMBY: Creating demos such as ‘Pinch Yourself’, how do you feel about the demos you’ve created since becoming a band?

Whitehill Grove: The demos we’ve recorded have been good fun, and as our first experience of recording as a band. The songs aren’t as good as ones we’ve written and recorded since then but it was still a nice thing to have done, and the being able to release them for free.

AMBY: What’s the dream cover to play as band and have you played any covers at gigs or just to yourselves? How do find the experience of covering songs by other bands or artists?

Whitehill Grove: The cover we all definitely look forward to playing would be ‘Killing in the Name’ by Rage Against the Machine. The song is so full of anger and is the perfect song to pump up the crowds at gigs. Callum would love to cover ‘Tyrants’ by Catfish and The Bottlemen as well, but he also much prefer playing out own songs at gigs and wish that people knew as well as they know the covers we do. We have played other covers such as ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ by Arctic Monkeys a few times and ‘Dammit’ by Blink 182 as well, those are probably the most played covers we play as band.

AMBY: Your debut EP, how do you feel about it? Is it something yours are proud of as band? Also, where did the inspiration come from for the EP, artwork, and lyrics?

Whitehill Grove: We as a band are very happy with the way the EP has turned out. The fact we recorded it in July 2015 and it came out this year in February was a bit annoying for us, but everything has added up just right. Danny decided to put a hidden track at the end of one of our songs, and it is probably the most ridiculous thing you’ll hear. The next EP will be much better though, it will be probably and hopefully it will get more people’s attention… or at least we hope so.

AMBY: How do you feel about the lead single off your debut EP and your debut single? Where did the inspiration come for the track and how did you decide as band which member was playing what on the song?

Whitehill Grove: Callum came up with our debut single ‘Runaway’ He came to practice one day with the song and it was pretty much already done, it just needed other guys playing on it as well. It was an easy choice of being our single, it was firstly as it the name track of the EP and secondly it is quite a catchy tune. It’s better than original single ‘Pinch Yourself’ which whilst being a good song we have played the song far too much and we hardly ever play it anymore.

AMBY: How was your very first photo shoot as band in a professional environment?

Whitehill Grove: The photo shoot was good fun, and also something that we had needed for a while to get some good publicity shots. Our photographer who is good mate of ours who supports our music was very flexible when deciding what shots to take, so we got to take as many serious and non-serious photos as we liked. From throwing a half a onion, to teddy bears with sombreros, we just tried very hard to make it a fun experience for us. The environment was enjoyable because we thought it was a proper studio, it was quite light hearted and we didn’t have to be especially serious when doing it.

AMBY: How do you feel about playing bigger shows and festivals in future, even this year?

Whitehill Grove: The aim for us as band, which we don’t think is unrealistic at all is to be the biggest band in Britain. That’s a bold statement but it’s something that we want and will work hard towards it. Playing bigger gigs will come as will festivals, but it takes a lot of hard work to find support slots etc… So whenever we get that opportunity it will definitely be something we do our best at. We have applied to pretty much all British festivals this year, in an attempt to get our music out there to a wider area, and hopefully we get accepted for some of these. The aim is small local ones, then branch out. Obviously down the line there’s Glastonbury, and T In The Park but we will have to wait a few years for that.

AMBY: What can we expect from Whitehill Grove at gigs this year?

Whitehill Grove: Well it all depends on how well we do this year. Our performances will only get better but when it comes to live shows they will get better wit time, we don’t have the resources to wow people with an amazing light show, or whatever you expect. Let the music do the talking and who knows where we might end up. So we guess expecting new songs, more energy and more dancing.

AMBY: Any plans for your debut album as band in the pipeline?

Whitehill Grove: An album is a long way off it’s not something we could really finance, in a few years maybe an amalgamation of EPs but for now unfortunately it’s unlikely.

AMBY: Lastly, where do you want to aim yourselves as band and where can you see yourselves in five years time?

Whitehill Grove: Simple answer. We are aiming for the top, and won’t give up, that’s where I want to be in 5 years.

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Whitehill Grove

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Follow updates from Whitehill Grove here. The Runaway EP is now available via iTunes here.

Interview and Photos by Calum Buchan | @calum_buchan

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