Canadian punk band White Lung is right in the middle of a North American tour in support of their acclaimed new album Paradise. We caught up with them earlier this week during their stop in Austin for a quick portrait shoot with the band and an interview with lead singer Mish Barber-Way. Read on and check out the gallery below!
How’s the tour going so far? Any highlights? Are there any cities you’re looking forward to?
Tour has been great. All the shows have been packed pleasant surprises. [Wednesday] in Austin was fun and I’m convinced I lost 6 lbs from sweating.
What do you look forward to when you play in Austin?
The enthusiastic crowds and seeing my friend Patrick.
White Lung has performed at SXSW a couple of times in the past. How was your experience speaking as part of the conference here this past March?
I was happy to be asked to speak on that panel. Everyone who spoke was very smart and funny. I often get asked to do panels and can’t make it so to actually do one put a notch under my belt. It was interesting to hear 90s vets talk about an age in punk when connecting to brands was frowned upon, now we don’t tread so lightly as working with brands is common. The music industry has changed so much.
Your new album Paradise was released just a few months back: How did your approach to writing and/or production differ from your previous albums? Could you talk a little bit about the lyrical themes of this album?
We went with a new producer, Lars Starfors, and he had a heavy hand in making this album what it is. He drew the best out of us. Writers usually stick to the same topics, look at any body of work from one person and they have their themes, I am no different. However, I was listening to country and blues and obsessing over that lyrical story telling and I tried to do my version of those greats I love. Love, loss, murder, sadness, defiance. I took on other people’s stories. Singing from the perspective of fictional characters freed me from my baggage.
You’ve done freelance work for Vice, Hustler, and others. What do you enjoy most about writing for publications?
I’ve given myself homework for life but writing is something I love to do. I’ve loved it since I was a child. It keeps me mentally fit.
What’s next after this tour? Looks like you have festival dates in the fall; anything else you can share right now?
All portraits by Dylan O’Connor