Conchúr (pronounced Conor) White is a solo artist from Northern Ireland. He originally emerged onto the music scene as frontman of the band Silences, but last year branched off to create his own solo work, resulting in the excellent EP Bikini Crops, released this March. His rousing dream pop sound has already seen him appear in the first two Mixtapes of 2020, as well as a Showreel post for the EP’s title track, but now he now faces a Q&A, so read on to find out more about the EP, life in lockdown, video editing, and craft beers…
~ Given the odd times we’re in, where are you right now & what can you see?
I am in my apartment which is about 20 minutes from Belfast. I can see a few blocks of flats and a golf course. Lockdown to me means working from home. A lot of video editing/recording for my day job with Autism Services.
~ How did you first get into music, & subsequently form Silences?
When I moved to secondary school, I befriended a class mate named Chris. He played guitar and listened to a lot of music that I liked. I went to one of his rehearsals with a band and the idea of performing became tangible and I didn’t look back. I think the modern musician needs to be able to put their hand to a few instruments so I dabble in different bits.
Silences was made up of childhood friends so we started playing together from when were 15 but it was only in 2013 that Silences came about.
~ The Bikini Crops EP is your debut solo work, so what was behind this move, and are Silences just on a hiatus?
Musically Silences was always evolving. Our top 5 tracks on Spotify would have you believe we were a folk band but we were always trying to develop, possibly to our detriment. There still was, however, a shred of familiarity in our music but in late 2018 I started writing songs that were just so far apart that it was hard to imagine them not being something new. Four of these tracks came to be the Bikini Crops EP.
As for Silences, we all had other avenues that we wanted to explore. I doubt we ever reached enough people to ever have an outcry for a return so if we did it come back to do something it would have to be for the pure enjoyment. We are genuinely best mates so I doubt any of us would ever rule it out. For now though I’m really focused on my own thing.
~ What’s your usual song-writing process?
Chords – Melody – Lyrics. But like most this can be flipped on its head.
~ What’s the best advice you’ve received about making music?
Record everything. Every idea. Your location, state of mind and company can dictate how an idea sounds. You might record a voice note when you’re feeling uninspired and it bores you. Two days later when life is great and the sun is shining that idea will sound different.
~ Are there any other new bands or musicians local to you in Northern Ireland that you recommend we check out?
There are so many, it’s hard to keep up. But for me right now there’s a local act called Dr Zoot that sticks out. I’m biased as I’ve worked with them, but I’ve made an effort to work with them because I think they’re so exciting. They’re still finding their feet but definitely worth checking out and keeping an eye on. Watch 30 seconds of their track Hundo.
~ If you were invited to curate a festival stage, what bands/artists would you invite to perform?
Father John Misty
Lana Del Rey
~ Which famous song by another artist would you love to have written yourself?
I think about this a lot actually. I’ll name someone who doesn’t appear on my festival line up and that’s Frightened Rabbit – Poke. I remember hearing that song for the first time and feeling as though I’d heard it a million times before (in a good way). It was so familiar. I never looked it up, but to me it’s about greeting an end of a relationship with humility and grace. Recognising the good. He was a really special talent and that album is one of the greatest imo.
~ Aside from music, do you have any other creative skills?
I like editing footage and think I’m reasonably okay at that! I made a video for a cover of ‘Lungs’ by Townes Van Zandt over this period which I enjoyed.
~ What would we always find in your fridge, and what are you eating too much of due to lockdown?
There is no shortage of craft beer. As for what I’m eating too much of right now, try everything!
~ What are your plans once lockdown is largely lifted in the UK & Europe?
Well if everything goes according to plan I’ll be out doing shows with John Grant and Margaret Glaspy with a new EP being released before the end of the year. Aside from music, I definitely plan on taking a trip somewhere. It’s a privilege to be able to just get up and go so I’ll try to appreciate it that more in the future.