I have to preface this article with a disclaimer. This is perhaps the strangest and simultaneously most intriguing interview I have conducted to date. Mickey Church, of the Los Angeles band White Arrows, is very good at rambling. This isn’t helped by the fact that he had needles strategically placed into his face throughout the duration of our phone conversation.
White Arrows is opening for tomorrow’s sold-out The Naked and Famous show at the Granada Theater. Church has only been to Dallas once, and has an unfortunately skewed view of what this city has to offer. So please, for the sake of our reputation, someone go take this kid out for a drink after the show.
And now, the interview. Presented to you in dialogue format. You have been warned.
Laura Stillo: Hey Mickey, how’s it going?
Mickey Church: I’m good. I’m actually horizontal right now. I have acupuncture needles in my face.
LS: You have got to be kidding me.
MC: Nope, I swear. I have a sinus infection and an ear infection. We’ve been traveling so much, we’ve deemed our RV ‘The Infirmary on Wheels’ or the ‘Rolling Mausoleum’ because we are just sick all the time. It’s insane. It’s been a three-week process of getting sick and getting through it.
LS: I am so sorry. Wait…do all of you have needles in you at this present moment?
MC: No, that’d be pretty funny. I can just imagine psychedelic indie rockers all laying in the same room with our pressure points being pushed.
LS: Whilst giving an interview. Are the needles actually helping you? Have you done acupuncture before?
MC: Yeah. I do acupuncture pretty much every other week when I can.
LS: Is someone physically sticking needles into you right now?
MC: Right now.
This is the part where I remember that we’re supposed to be talking about music instead of needles.
LS: If you guys are all sick, what’s going to happen at the show on Thursday?
MC: We’ll be better by then. We’ve had two days to sleep in our own beds in Los Angeles. I feel just about ready. By Texas, I’ll be perfect. I’ll be 100%.
LS: I’m going to hold you to that. If you mess up, I’m going be really sad that you lied to me.
MC: Or if I get you sick?
LS: It’ll be all your fault.
MC: I’ll take the blame.
L: I’ve never seen a White Arrows show before. What can I expect?
MC: A lot of energy and abstract quotes that you’d need to Google to find out where [they are] from. More often than not, we have flashy colors and geometric shapes as projections. It’s sensory overload. We like to walk that line of seizure-inducing visuals along with textural music.
LS: I recently read that you were born blind. Do the geometric shapes and flashy light displays have any correlation to the fact that you were born blind? Like a rebellion?
MC: I think the fact I was born blind – I just assumed people couldn’t see me. Being onstage, I’m not comfortable with the idea that we are just standing up there with regular stage lights; people seeing me, and every move that I’m making. It’s kind of like a protective cloak in a way. I’ve always been drawn to big performances, too.
LS: Are your shows best served with a side of alcohol and/or drug paraphernalia?
MC: Yeah, probably.
LS: What do you think of when you hear the city name “Dallas, TX”? What comes to mind?
MC: My 360-pound cousin that I met one time when I was six. His name was Billy with an eye-patch who is 34 and still living at home with his mom in the trailer parks. That’s the first time I ever saw what a Lazy Susan was because they had one in the trailer.
LS: Oh. No. We have to fix that.
MC: That’s literally all I know. I’ve only been to Dallas that one time. But I feel Dallas can make anything cool. I’ve pretty much fallen in love with any city that we’ve come across.
LS: After hearing your latest single “Get Gone” how many people have made comparisons to you and Mark Foster [lead singer, Foster The People]?
MC: I’ve been reading that here and there. I’ve always liked comparisons no matter how ridiculous I think they are. Some of my favorite ones that we’ve gotten, specifically from “Get Gone”; we got ‘the psychedelic indie version of Phil Collins’s Tarzan soundtrack’, which is pretty awesome. Most recently we’ve gotten Foster The People, The Strokes, Vampire Weekend…those are all flattering. I love all those bands.
LS: Do you agree with any of that?
MC: Maybe I come closest to the Tarzan soundtrack one.
LS: Besides the needles in your face, if I were to hop on your tour bus for a day, what would I encounter?
MC: It’s just good times. It’s hard to explain specifically. John Paul, our guitar player and my half-brother, he does something called the “mono-diet” where he’ll only eat one thing over and over again. He’ll listen to an NPR special about how bananas are becoming extinct and he’ll literally buy out stores of bananas and eat like forty bananas a day and that’s it. Right now, if you came on the Rolling Mausoleum, you’d see JP engulf an entire bag of 20 oranges.
LS: I don’t know what to say to that.
MC: I don’t even know what to say to that. We all kind of just sit there and count what number orange he’s on. He’s going on his sixth or seventh orange and it’s only 10 o’clock in the morning. It’s awe-inspiring. It’s kind of like he’s in an orange competition against himself.
LS: Does he smell like oranges?
MC: He smells like oranges and caffeine and Monster energy drinks.
This might make you want to go see them less. It might make you want to go see them more. Either way, White Arrows is opening up for the sold-out The Naked and Famous show this Thursday, October 20, at Granada Theater. Godspeed.
Update: He wasn’t kidding.
Laura Stillo is the Arts & Entertainment Writer and Creative Social Media Producer for YouPlusDallas. Follow her on Twitter at @laurastillo.