Some say rock duos are more exposed to road burnouts, which at first sight actually makes sense. You tour the world with the same old mug at your side, every day, every night. It is, indeed, as if you’re in an endless amplified marriage. White Hills, however, are far from being in harm’s way and erosion is probably the least of their problems; they keep coining music, one record after another, as if they’re a ceaseless stream of fuzzy magnitudes. The last is called “Walks For Motorists”, released last April through Thrill Jockey and it is their leit motif for journeying Europe once again. Portugal’s pit stop comes this May 7 in Lisbon in a warm-up for Reverence Valada.

I kinda do not enjoy to ask bands the same old questions, so I’m not going to question you about how the latest recording process went. I would like to ask you this firstly: don’t you get bored with one another? So much time spent on the record and doing stuff… Do you often find yourself arguing?

Dave W.: There’s always something new to discover when you’re on the road, so it rarely gets boring. Even though you are around everyone in your traveling party almost constantly there is a lot of quiet time. Negativity can bring everyone down. We tour so much that all of us know when to keep to ourselves in such cases. .

Ego: Believe it or not we don’t really argue very much. Arguing is a waste of energy. We try to solve problems constructively rather than complaining.

Let’s suppose I’m a powerful lobbyist on the Europe Union and I’d be quite glad to offer you any European citizenship you asked for so that you could easily move and live here. Would you leave the States right away? Do you enjoy this old war-loving continent more when it comes to music? You even decided to record “Walks For Motorists” in Wales!

DW: I consider myself a citizen of planet earth. That said I do feel there are many things that European countries have to offer that are better than where I choose to live and vice versa. There is always the good with the bad. The same goes for music. There is great music everywhere you just need to search it out.

Ego: I would gladly accept European citizenship! But I wouldn’t necessarily leave the United States permanently. Each place has benefits and drawbacks. And the truth is at this time in history, the war-loving portion of the human race is not confined to the European continent.

«We are complex. You are complex. It’s good to be complex.»

By the way, I’m a Portuguese lad living in Scotland for a couple of years now, so I can honestly understand (or, at least, project) the reasons that led you to record in the UK. This land has its ancient witchcraft breathing within forests and rivers. Was it more inspiring than an urban Brooklyn which probably has nothing new to offer you?

Ego: We had been dreaming of having an all-encompassing recording experience in an exotic location for a long time and decided to make it a reality. The lushness and fertility of the Welsh countryside made it an excellent place to give birth to something fresh and inventive. However, any place, especially a place as huge as New York City, always has new things to offer if you keep an open mind.

«When we started White Hills, no one was interested in psychedelic music.»

What about recording with David Wrench? He would not be my first guess for White Hills, that’s for sure, with a resume including FKA twigs and Caribou.

Ego: To me, being an artist is about exploring and constantly striving to push boundaries. Dave (White Hills) had done an amazing job producing all of our previous records and it was time to try something different. Sometimes the best way to make a change is to introduce juxtaposition into the equation, which is the main reason we wanted to work with Wrench. We felt it would be interesting to filter our wild, untamed sounds through his more structured, precise ears.

Often I see the word dystopia associated with White Hills and let’s say that some of my very favorite books are, well,dystopian, because they are quite thought-provoking. Do you want to induce some thoughts on those who listen to you? Psychedelic rock usually deals more with some sort of escapism rather than self-centering yourself – when I read DeLillo I’m aware of myself and the world, when I listen to Amon Düül II I just want to do some acid and forget about globalization and the Ukrainian crisis. How do you balance this?

Ego: Our music is fierce: a complicated mix of confrontation and tranquility. There are passages that may transport the listener, but overall it demands an active brain. The form of the music makes it revolutionary and thought-provoking. To use an analogy, it’s like a crowd of people all wearing black and one person is dressed in red. It’s a simple yet powerful statement because it communicates to the world, Look, there is another way. The message of the music comes more through its mere existence than through the lyrics. It doesn’t fit neatly into a genre – I think psychedelic is just a blanket term. We are complex. You are complex. It’s good to be complex. That is the only way we can grow as a species and try to become more enlightened so we can transcend beyond being a frightened, war-loving group of animals. To me, pop music is escapist – a 3 or 4-minute song in traditional form with a verse and chorus that is familiar and easy to sing along to. Pop music is important too. Music is a great healer. To quote grumpy old Nietzsche, «Without music, life would be a mistake.»

So, does “Walks For Motorists” have an underlying common subject throughout its length? I’m intrigued by the title.

Ego: The title “Walks For Motorists” is a metaphor for removing oneself from societal constraints of labeling. Most people feel safe categorizing themselves – for example, being conservative, liberal, anarchist, a metal-head – whatever. But these labels come with rules and limits and ultimately impede free thought. In order to be flexible, you have to be willing to not force a definition upon yourself, which is dangerous because it goes against everything society teaches us. Our album covers a lot of musical ground. There are some spaced out psychedelic jams, some songs you can dance to and even a few poppy songs. Metaphorically, we’re inviting people that might see themselves as strictly motorists to get out of their cars and take a walk!

These days, there’s this European boom surrounding psychedelic music, with fests popping up every corner day in day out. Sometimes, I just think people were missing what rock is all about. You see all this overproduced-shitting-fireworks bands like Bastille or The Killers headlining mainstream festivals, and analogic produced stuff with loud guitars screaming their fat massive tones got overshadowed and forgotten at big stages. So the underground is trying to let it breathe once again, but that’s just my view. What’s yours on this, being part of it from the inside?

Ego: When we started White Hills, no one was interested in psychedelic music. Now it’s the flavor of the month and because of that there are a ton of new psychedelic bands and festivals to host them. It’s great for us because we are normally outsiders and now we get invited to play a lot of these great psych fests. But in a few years, the craze will pass, many psych bands will die out and another fad will emerge. That’s just the way the music world is. ButWhite Hills will endure because we don’t subscribe to one genre. We’re just riding the heartbeat of the universe.

You’re currently touring Europe once again, you’ll play Portugal next month and I’m actually going to see you at ATP Iceland, hell yeah, Sir Iggy Pop is going to be there. Knowing White Hills, are you already thinking and cooking the next LP amidst all concerts?

Ego: No. Right now, we’re just enjoying the present moment of being able to be on the road and play our new songs for people. We’ll probably start thinking about a new album over the summer. See you and Iggy in Iceland!