WHITE FENCE INTERVIEW
By Alexander Laurence
WHITE FENCE is like a music junkshop of the past fifty years, created for people who like old vinyl records and gear. One person’s trash is the next person’s treasure. This
based band, started by Tim Presley, has polished up the vile rags of music’s
history, and offered a clean update on the state of rock and roll. White Fence has
also recently collaborated with such diverse artists as Ty Segall, Cate Le Bon,
Foxygen, Jessica Pratt, and The Fall. All these vital signposts are part of the
new revolution in music and technology. Modern garage rock music is not about
reality, or the state of LA music, but a new way of seeing things as they
Tim: Something had to change. In the mid-to-late 2000s, a lot of the psychedelic and shoegaze bands were repeating themselves creatively speaking. We stripped it down of all the excess. If you look at bands from the 1960s, people couldn’t relate to the weirder one, or the more normal one. It just happened that way because of the music climate happening in
Angeles. We toured on that third album and people
freaked out. But I have met people who liked the third album and didn’t like
Darker My Love before that.
Tim: They had a formula and it worked. We didn’t have a huge fanbase like them. If it worked for us like that, we would have just done the formula. We were more like the Beau Brummels. They were doing Beatles-like music, and garage rock. At the end, they did Bradley’s Barn, which is like a country rock record. That is the one I like.
Tim: I did the songs on the first White Fence record during the same time as the second and third Darker My Love records. I was recording it at home. I didn’t think the dudes from Darker My Love would like the songs. I was just doing songs because it was therapeutic for me. I wasn’t too worried about anyone liking it.
Tim: Yeah. Mark E. Smith had fired his band on the American tour. Rob Barbato and I met him in
and practiced as The Fall for a day. We were able to finish the tour dates.
After that, we just went into the studio and made a new album. Mark E. Smith
said “We are going into the studio in three days.” And we were like “What?”
Elena and Mark had three songs written. They hummed the songs to us and we came
up with the chords. Mark claims to know how to play guitar, but I never saw him
Tim: Definitely. The more we played them live, the better the songs got, and the more they sounded like actual Fall songs.
Tim: When the first record came out, I realized this was something I wanted to pursue. When someone wanted to put the album out, I thought that was weird. People liked it. I had the next one Growing Faith almost completed. When Eric from Make A Mess Records put the first record out, it felt like something I wanted to do. I liked making weird songs in my room. I love the band mentality, but White Fence was 180 from that.
Tim: I went to art school and didn’t know what to do with my life. I took a visit to LA, and stayed with Ozzie from Soiled Mattress and The Springs. He showed me a side of LA that I fell in love with. I thought that I could live here in LA, and I did in 2003. It was cosmic that I came here and formed a band. It happened very fast.
Tim: Yes. Except the latest one that has Nick Murray and Ty Segall also playing on it. My main hang up with rock and roll and showbiz is a lack of creative studio time. It costs too much money. I had a dream of being like the Beatles or Beach Boys where you live in the studio and you experiment with stuff in the studio. We aren’t on a major label, so we don’t have the money to do that. The closest thing we can get to that is to do it at home and doing it alone, regardless of fidelity.
Tim: There is a certain freedom with doing things from home. You can just do it yourself. For some people, it works. Releasing records is no problem. Having a cluster of shows and having to tour is a bigger problem. There is always a new member in White Fence, and I have to teach them all the songs again.
Tim: Nick Murray has been playing drums for a few years in White Fence. Josh Puklavetz plays bass guitar, and Cate Le Bon plays guitar and sings with me. She will be in the band.
Tim: I met him outside a bar in
Francisco. He had heard to first White Fence records
and he wanted to do a split record. I assumed we were going to do a few songs
each, but it turned into a more collaborative thing.
Tim: I had met her. She lived with my brother in
Francisco. I knew she played music but I hadn’t heard
any of it. She was very quiet and I hardly noticed her. And then, her boyfriend
at the time sent me some of her music out of the blue. I put out her first
record. My label isn’t my main concern at the moment. But I am trying to get
the rights to a Gene Vincent record. It’s a record he did right before he died.
Tim: Yeah. Jonathan Rado called me and said “Come on over.” He had a studio in his parent’s house. We played “Brooklyn Police Station” really loud at night. It’s like the loudest song on the album. I think that I was banned from his parent’s house since then.
Tim: When you have different members, you get a totally different band. It will sound different because this is the first time Cate Le Bon has been with us in
Europe. She had a tryout with us
on some dates in the East Coast and the South of America. She knew a lot of
songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and could solo a lot, so she passed the test. We also
recorded a new record together. That will come out soon.
photos by Angel Ceballos