White Fence to debut songs from 'To the Recently Found Innocent' in SF

Interview with Tim Presley, aka White Fence, whose latest album, To the Recently Found Innocent, is to be released on July 22. Tim recorded the album with Ty Segall and it will be the first of his works to come out on Drag City.

Wendy:

Your new album, To the Recently Found Innocent, is the first studio recorded work you've done in a while. For the past two or so years you've been solely recording at home on a 4-track. What made you decide to go back to the studio?

Tim:

It just felt like time. I was recording at home and felt like I needed some different path, sonically. Ty had been asking me to record at his spot so that was always in the back of my mind. When I was recording at home I was starting to imagine what it would sound like with real drums, on an 8-track, rather than a 4-track, stuff like that. [There were] five records that I'd done already from home. I just needed to switch it up, involve people with it this time.

Wendy:

Sometimes it's good to get out of your own head and get some other input.

Tim:

Yeah, it was time. Also, I trust Ty. We've done a record together and we're friends. And I trust Nick Murray, who's been a member of the live White Fence for a while now, and he's a really good drummer. I just thought I'd begin to start trusting people again basically.

Wendy:

I imagine that was a really good experience then.

Tim:

Yeah it was. Totally natural; it felt right.

Wendy:

So you recorded at Ty's studio. Did you have it mastered somewhere else?

Tim:

What happened was, Ty, Nick, and I recorded the songs in his garage on an 8-track. Then me and Ty drove up to San Francisco and kind of dumped it down into a bigger recording situation in San Francisco, did overdubs and mixed it on a 24-track console.

Wendy:

Obviously the way you recorded this album represents a significant change for you. Do the songs on the album also represent any significant changes?

Tim:

Not really, but I will say I did choose songs that I thought would fit with that group of people. There's two types of songs for me: [there are] the ones that are a little bit self-indulgent, more experimental, kind of stuff at home; really only I can do that in a way. I didn't really want to bring that to the table. I catered to the tools I had, which were Ty, Nick, and then later, Eric Bauer at his studio. A song where I imagined a crazier drum pattern or something - choosing songs like that.

Wendy:

So you geared it toward who you knew you were gonna be working with. You have the luxury of having this ongoing wealth of new material to choose from. To write the amount that you write is really something else; I mean, you have a larger amount of songs to choose from than most.

Tim:

Yeah. It [seems to be] like a therapy session for me every day. I do it every day and night, all day and night, really. I just end up with a bunch of songs. some are really good, some are bad, but I have a good pool to choose from.

Wendy:

Are you gonna play any songs from the new album at Phono Del Sol in San Francisco, in advance of the release date?

Tim:

Yeah, we've already started on a few of them. San Francisco will be a good [time] to do more because in a week or so [after Phono Del Sol] we have our record release show in LA. Ty's gonna play guitar, so we'll probably play a lot of those new songs.

Wendy:

Following your record release show in LA, you have the Woodsist Fest. I've never been there but it's supposed to be in a beautiful setting with just the best vibe.

Tim:

It's amazing. I've been really fortunate to play it, because I personally hate festivals and I hate going to them. This is the perfect festival, almost the anti-festival festival. It's small and it's beautiful. There's not a lot of loud, obnoxious people tripping on meth. It's chill, and it's fun 'cause there's no cell service there.

Wendy:

Man, I need to go to this thing!!

Tim:

I know, it's really cool. And it's only the time I don't mind people lying down watching me perform. That's the vibe so it just feels right.

Wendy:

When you do play live, who'll be playing with you? You mentioned Nick Murray [drums], and that Ty will be joining you on guitar in LA. So, who'll be joining you for the four dates in California this summer, and on your full tour this October?

Tim:

It's a weird thing doing this band, because it's not really a band, so I have to pull together people, friends of mine, pretty much every time we tour, although the last couple years I've had a pretty steady lineup, but Jack who plays guitar - he does his own music under the name Jack Name. He kind of had to go and do that, so that opened up a spot.

Wendy:

So that's still in flux for the time being, but your major tour doesn't happen until October anyway.

Tim:

I got my friend, Cate Le Bon to play guitar on that one. I think her music's really great, so it'll be interesting to have her play guitar.

Wendy:

Will you have Jared Everett on bass this time out?

Tim:

Not this time it's Josh [Puklavetz]

Wendy:

Cool, so a mostly new lineup.

Tim:

That's the thing, it's a little annoying some of the time because I have to teach people the songs every time, but it is kinda fun to see how the chemistry works between these different people. It's like musical chairs.

Wendy:

Yeah, definitely. And you're not alone in that, that's for sure. Obviously so many people are doing their own work at home and pulling together bands when it's time to hit the road. It's sort of a common plight to be teaching a myriad of people the stuff that you do.

Tim:

It's of the times really. It's expensive to [have a] band and have a lot of financial backing, so I think people are just sick of it and are just like, "F**k it, I can do this at home."

Wendy:

And there is the element, too, of being able to lay the songs down whenever you want, without having to wait until everybody's available. Also, if you're fortunate enough to have the complete vision of all the different parts and don't necessarily need to rely on others, it's especially understandable why that would be appealing. I can see why you'd want to just act on the creative impulse as soon as it comes up, rather than wait.

Tim:

Yeah. I mean, have you ever said something, like a rant or a speech, and you're really proud of yourself about it but if someone asked you to repeat it, you couldn't do it? It seems to be the same thing. You have this idea and if you sit on it too long it's gonna dilute itself. That's how I feel. If I don't get it on tape immediately, then the moment's gone.

Wendy:

Definitely. I think that's why some bands go off to cabins or sequester themselves in an apartment as a group and work together. When you're all in one spot and someone gets an idea in the middle of the night, you can work it out and write it on the spot. That's a whole different ball game than when you're living in four corners of the city, or the country.

Tim:

That's the thing. What I was trying to say earlier is that a lot of those bands, they have the luxury of being able to do that 'cause they have money and people backing them, and time to do that. Not a lot of us have that these days, so you have to make do with [what] we have.

Wendy:

It seems like you're tied in with a really nice community of musicians, and are fortunate in the fact that you have these friendships with so many people whose work you admire. And obviously, you have roots in the punk community, which maybe was the base of all of this for you.

Tim:

You know, it's very similar to that. Everyone's kind of rooting for each other. A lot of my friends are of that scene, even though they make different music, but there is the ethos and aesthetic from that scene. That all [was] just the catalyst to how we act [toward] each other now.

White Fence will be be appearing in San Francisco at Phono Del Sol Music Festival on July 12. The boutique festival, now in it's fourth year, happens at Potrero Del Sol Park, and is presented by the Bay Bridged and Tiny Telephone.

For more information please visit Facebook, the White Fence Art Collective, or the Phono Del Sol website.