White Kite are a London-based alternative trio consisting of frontman Louis Shadwick and twins Tom and Will Dunning. They met in high school at the tender age of 14 and according to Shadwick, it was the first time that he had “found people who were into the same music and wanted to make original stuff”.
His own musical journey began at the keys of his family piano at home as a child. His father is a jazz musician and his mother has worked in the record industry. Eventually they picked up on his passion for music and he began having piano lessons:
“From there, I decided that I prefer writing my own things rather than learning other people’s songs. It all came quite naturally. After that, I taught myself to sing and play guitar, because I didn’t have a band back then”
On the origins of their band name, White Kite, Shadwick explained that they “liked the simplicity of it and the sense of it being kind of otherworldly”. “It also felt like a blank canvas for us to do anything, because musically we didn’t want our band name to pin us down to a particular genre. We also liked the universality of it and how it rolls off the tongue quite nicely”, he said.
One of their biggest musical influences is the New York indie band Grizzly Bear, who have recently released a new album called ‘Painted Ruins’. Shadwick praised the record, describing it as “just another example of how incredibly inventive and artistic they are”.
He also acknowledged the subtle influence of jazz on their music:
“I listened to a lot of jazz growing up… I don’t know if you can always hear it in our music, but I do love throwing the odd jazzy chord in there! I always like to keep it quite experimental, even if the song itself is more ‘poppy’”
Their latest single ‘Devil’s Pact’ demonstrates this influence perfectly, with saxophones interspersed throughout the track. Lyrically, it’s “about quite a bad breakup” and in some ways, it links to their previous single ‘Past Life’ which is “more directly” about Shadwick’s sexuality “than anything [the band] have released so far”. On this topic, he said “it’s such a key part of anyone’s life, it informs what relationships you’re in, it informed how I grew up. It’s a part of my sensibility and I think a lot of the music I write is tapping into that”. Devil’s Pact’ is “much more personal and introspective” than their other singles, although “it’s still got hooks and a clear structure, but it’s more inward looking. It’s the song that I love the most out of all of the ones I’ve written so far”, he said.
Their sources of inspiration are quite diverse, with Shadwick citing Portishead and Massive Attack as influences on their track ‘Curtain Call’. He believes that, at times, it can be very difficult to make music which is experimental, yet warm:
“I always try not to go too electronic, because I find that a lot of electronic music can be quite cold. I like keeping that ‘human’ element in there, even if it’s just by using guitars or piano or putting the vocals at the forefront. For me, it’s got to have that connection to the listener”
The band wowed audiences earlier this year at Latitude Festival in Henham Park, Suffolk – where they played two mesmerising sets on the atmospheric SOLAS stage. Their Thursday night set drew a huge crowd to the woodland, who watched in awe amongst the beautiful light installations which were suspended from the trees.
White Kite certainly have a bright future ahead of them… “The ideal thing we want to be doing is touring as much as possible and writing as much as possible and we hope that will take us to where we want to get to!” said Shadwick. “We’ve got so many songs waiting to be released and I’m just writing all the time. After this new song, we’re going to play it by here and decide which songs we want to release into the world next”. We can’t wait to hear what they’ve got in store for us in the near future!
‘Devil’s Pact’ is out now!