[Editor's note: This story previews White Mystery's concerts, both with Snake Island!. They play Saturday, March 3, 8 p.m. at Brother's Lounge in Omaha. Info here.; and the Zoo Bar in Lincoln Sunday, March 4, 9 p.m. along with Boom Chick and Dads. Info here.]
by Steven Ashford
The relationship between White Mystery’s brother-sister duo Alex and Francis White extends well beyond playing in a band. Aside from being kin, they're a business partnership, roommates and confidants.
To make these two Chicago power-rockers any closer, you'd have to tie their blazing red, overflowing curly locks into a knot. Sure, it would be a sight to see, but it would probably leave a good kink in their necks.
White Mystery is giving Nebraska a double-header this weekend, with an Omaha show Saturday at Brothers Lounge and a Sunday special at Zoo Bar. Alex White responded to some of our questions via email recently, explaining how the band turned their mother into an indentured servant, announcing new music and exploring their first Runza.
Hear Nebraska: Being brother and sister, is there one of you who had more of a musical influence on the other?
Alex White: It's an equal amount of influence exerted mutually, where I recommend old '60s tunes and Francis injects heavy metal.
HN: Was it hard to agree on the style and sound of White Mystery and how the energy would be exerted?
AW: The sound and energy are natural byproducts of genetics, and you'll see that organic rhythm live in person.
HN: I’ve heard that your mother makes the merch for you guys. What all does she create? Does she slave away generating bulk amounts of material for you guys to bring on tour?
AW: Diane Alexander White is the White Mystery momma, photographer and printmaker extraordinaire who creates the V-neck shirts, baby onesies and men's underwear available at shows and online here. We all work together to dye fabric but she's the expert stamper. It's more indentured servitude than slavery.
HN:You describe White Mystery as an entrepreneurial endeavor, but you choose to steer away from a manager, a label or a booking agent. Are there people outside of your direct family who play a major role in the development of White Mystery?
AW: Yes, Axel Black is out for blood.
HN: What is your approach to booking shows?
AW: Playing as many shows in as many cities for as many friends and new people as possible. "White Mystery RETURNS!" is the third annual SXSW, nationwide and Canadian tour for the band and it'll be bigger than ever. It's a pleasure to work with promoters in each town to create a show that every rock 'n' roller can attend and find like-minded friends. Local bands and DIY communities are incredibly important to the success of each show and welcoming White Mystery to their town.
HN: Do you typically stick together on nights after shows or do you choose your own paths by doing your own things?
AW: It's a priority to stick together for the most part, and fortunately it's pretty easy for two people to keep track of each other. Can you imagine keeping track of a dozen people? Both siblings like to party hard and that leads two redheads down a similar path a majority of nights.
HN: Do any Nebraska experiences stand out?
AW: Love the Snake Island! dudes, Digital Leather, Chris Aponick, house parties, and that diner near Barley Street Tavern with a counter and stools, where your hamburger comes with sweet potato pie.
HN: Festivals seem to be a dynamic of White Mystery, especially those in Chicago. Can you describe what the differences are in playing, for instance, Taste of Chicago vs. Bitchork?
AW: Wow, that's an awesome dichotomy to set up! Headlining Bitchpork, a 100 percent DIY fest shares the same thrill as playing a city-run public fest like Taste of Chicago, but the audiences are different and so are the bathrooms.
HN: Do you have a preference?
AW: It's all good, White Mystery played a giant show with Le Bucherettes in front of hundreds of people and split to go play a pierogi party in a basement for a dozen people the same night, cuz it's fun to play, and a rock 'n' roll duty.
HN: What do White Mystery fans have to look forward to this year regarding new music?
AW: White Mystery releases new music every April 20, and this is the third year in the row, but the first ever publicly available 7-inch single that contains three songs and has three videos. You'll hear the two siblings sharing more vocal duties and a lil' bit of piano.
HN: I think it was Alex who was quoted as saying Blood & Venom takes a more “analog” approach than the self-titled LP. Will the upcoming release take on a different or similar style?
AW: Always analog, all the time. While songs become available digitally, like on iTunes, it's important for the recording process to be honest, live, and high energy on tape.
HN: Do you look forward to anything in particular returning to Nebraska?
AW: Excited to see all of you, play Omaha and Lincoln with Snake Island! and try Runza for the first time!
Steven Ashford is a Hear Nebraska contributor. He knows that it doesn’t take much for this band to fill a void, so make sure you catch one of these shows. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.