White Night is a German-American electro-pop duo, founded in 2017. The band’s songs are melodic compositions that have weighty, expressive lyrics touching upon a variety of social and personal topics. White Night draw inspiration from 1980s pop, classical music, contemporary-classical music, and jazz.
We chatted with band members Willi Leinen (electronics, guitar) and Elizabeth Boardman (vocals, viola) about their career, music, and navigating the music industry.
Can you tell our readers how you guys met?
We met during our graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in California. We were pursuing our Masters degrees in classical music performance, Elizabeth in viola and Willi in guitar.
Initially, it was simply a romantic interest, but once we started dating, we realized how much fun we could have making music together! We both needed to nourish our creative sides to keep sane and happy during our intensive studies.
What inspired you to create this unconventional duo of classical and electronic approach?
Our slightly unconventional approach to music most definitely comes from our backgrounds in classical music. Having spent most of our life learning, performing, and sometimes composing, classical and cinematic music, it is bound to rub off on both of our compositional songwriting styles.
We are still in the early years of our style development, relatively, and so our songs are very varied in styles, as we keep wanting to indulge in new things.
How do you feel when fans like a song you thought was meh and kinda ignore something you yourselves considered one of your better pieces?
The way that listeners react to our songs is always a surprise. Sometimes, when we have been working on a song for a while, and we have heard it way too many times, we are sick of it by the time we release it. So it is always refreshing and reassuring if the listeners respond positively!
Recently, we released a more alternative (and slightly dark) song called Be, and I [Elizabeth] thought it was one of the best songs we had written so far. However, we were bracing ourselves for limited appreciation because it is less poppy than previous singles, the harmonies and melody are less predictable, and it is a little bit emotionally intense to listen to. So we were happily surprised when we received a lot of nice reviews about the song and positive feedback from listeners.
Tell us about your upcoming EP – what theme is it going to revolve around, what were the inspirations behind it, are you planning to collab with any other artists?
Our upcoming EP will be a compilation of all the singles we have been releasing monthly since our debut album release. The new singles all feature far more guitar, piano, and viola than our album.
While there is not one uniting theme for this EP, the songs are all a bit more vulnerable and emotional than the songs on our debut album (less dance tracks).
How do you usually record your songs? Can you give our readers a glimpse of your creative process?
We record all of our songs at home!
Usually, we begin with a chord progression on the keyboard and melody and lyrics usually come last.
What's the most unexpected song each of you have on your playlist these days?
Elizabeth’s playlist: Gut Wind and Wire album by The Baltimore Consort
Willi’s playlist: You Need to Calm Down by Taylor Swift
Where do you get your ideas on how to run your music business and what advice do you have for all the musicians on Show4me on advancing theirs?
It might sound cheesy, but the biggest advice we have for running your own business is to stay true to yourself when creating.
It is easy to get wrapped up in worries about what your audience will want to hear, and of course, while it is important to consider this when honing or making final touches to your music, the initial product needs to be genuine as that is what will make your music pure and unique.
How do you keep yourselves motivated?
We keep ourselves motivated by being a team.
We have both created music on our own and have our own classical music careers to tend to, but it is easy to get discouraged when you are working by yourself on something. When you are working as a team, you know the other is expecting you to bring your best self to the recording studio and to the stage, and that feeling gives you purpose and motivation.
Imagine you guys are going on a world tour. What would you title your tour, why and what city would you be most excited to play?
We would call our world tour Golden Heart-Tour, since it’s the title track of our first album. We already toured in Germany and in the US, and in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Berlin, and Leipzig, among others. There are many exciting cities to perform in, but we would like to play in Mexico City.
And finally, let’s address the elephant in the room – you are currently planning a crowdfunded show in Berlin’s hot spot Fluxbau. Give our readers along with your fans three reasons to visit your show.
One: we are playing new songs and our best-known songs with a unique mix out of electronic music and classical music.
Two: we have awesome support artists: Zustra & CALMDOWN!
Three: It’s a wonderful location right next to the river with an outside terrace)))
Want to follow White Night updates and music? Follow White Night Artist club.
Or support their crowdfunding campaign for April 2020 concert in FluxBau, Berlin.