SXSW Austin Locals: Whiite Walls

Started by lead vocalist Brent Dobey and guitarist George Garcia, Whiite Walls boasts some of the funkiest disco vibes scratching at the underbelly of Austin’s vast music scene. With chunky basslines, supplied by Eric Wright, soaring keys and vocals from Molly Gillespie and a driving beat by drummer AJ Audain, Whiite Walls is sure to get any crowd dancing and singing by the end of the first song.  Track Rambler was fortunate enough to speak with these disco jockeys for a moment after their “All The Friends Ball” set at Spider House Ballroom during the first weekend of SXSW.

How do you feel about SXSW and representing Austin during this festival?

WW: “This is the first SX that we have all played together as this group and it’s been great. We have a leg up because we’ve been here for years and we know what shows to pick and choose from. We’ve been an official band before and it made no difference. So, now we pick shows where there is a lot of hometown crowd. There is a beauty in being different and not worrying about trends that come through. Being true to ourselves and being a family. We’ve grown a lot as musicians in the last year; working on what we’re doing and not worrying about what other people are doing. It shows when we play live that we have a comradery that speaks volumes. Building a family relationship with everybody is only going to make our music better and we strive to be different. We’re just getting started.”

Do you feel that not having a huge online presence is beneficial to the mystique around Whiite Walls?

WW: “Maybe sometimes…but we should be better about it (the band laughs together). We’re so focused on writing the music and practicing that we aren’t very good about maintaining that online presence. Working with DO512 has definitely helped step up our game. But, some things are more important than analytics. The vibe that we feel when we play is very important to us and it does feel a little more special when people in the crowd are asking who we are. It’s kind of cool to be the underdog sometimes. Besides, social media is a shit show anyway.  There is a beautiful mystery in throwing our music out there without having a bunch of stuff online…getting to be ourselves and representing who we are. We have geared ourselves for the live set for the longest time and it makes or breaks us. Most of the time the vibe with the crowd, like we had tonight at Spider House, does us very well.”

TR: Did Whiite Walls start with the intentions of being a funk-rock band or did it develop as the band came into its own?

WW: “Definitely, but it has evolved a bit. We had a little more of a disco vibe before the funk happened. We each have our own eclectic music preferences and we just kind of included them all into what we were doing. Disco, funk, vocal melodies, post punk; it’s all just a jumble of different influences on us. But, funk is definitely a driving force behind what we do. We like the early 80s, old analogue synths. It’s a harder way to go. But, it’s a better sounding way to go.  To see the growth that has happened from our start to now is exponential. By being true to ourselves we’re doing way better things and taping into a style that we’ve never done before. It’s exciting.”

Check out a few of the highlights below from Whiite Walls at “All The Friends Ball” at Spider House.

Whiite Walls will be playing March 17th at then oddly entrancing but always inviting Electric Church.  A newly established venue that holds true to the Austin vibe that has been ‘Keeping It Weird’ since before my parents were born. Be sure to come out and support the local Austin music scene with Whiite Walls, one of my new personal favorite live performing bands in Austin.

Article and photos by: Demetrius Judkins @wolfspiritofthesun