We’re told Simone White’s new album takes the L.A.-via-Oahu songstress back to “A time when there was music and photography and being naked on the beach.” Produced by members of clandestine electro collective Fol Chen with appearances from Andrew Bird and Thao Nguyen, Silver Silver marks White’s most mature and eclectic release to date and, like a nude romp on the shore, can move from liberating to vulnerable in a Honolulu heartbeat.
The album is out today on Damon Albarn’s Honest Jon’s imprint, and we’ve got the album’s bittersweet second track, “Big Dreams And The Headlines,” streaming below. While you listen, read on for a brief email exchange we had with White about the track, working with Fol Chen and who that naked chick on the album cover is.
“Big Dreams And The Headlines” runs through a pretty broad emotional range in less than five minutes. What was your mindset when you wrote that song?
This was one of the few songs that I had already written before we got in the studio. It’s a song for a friend that wants to die, a plea for them to stay. But there’s a little lightness in it too, the mix of the pain and joy in life.
How did you link up with Fol Chen?
I contributed guest vocals on Fol Chen’s last album, and the recording process with them was really fun and easy. I just loved the vibe. I didn’t know what kind of record we would make, but I knew I wanted to work with them (producers Samuel Bing and Julian Wass). In the studio we experimented a lot, and they got me to play instruments I don’t play. I had to share my creative process with them, which was terrifying at times, letting someone else see all your crap.
Silver Silver‘s cover art is pretty wild. Where’d that photo come from?
The photo was taken by my father on the north shore of Oahu, in 1973. I’m asleep in the sand, age 3. My mother is naked. A friend, Lopetti, from Tonga holds a guitar. He had escaped the Mormon-run Polynesian Cultural Center and was hiding out with my folks. It was a five-minute-long exposure by moonlight. I like the image because it’s so surreal. It reminds me of a ’70s record cover, like Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew or something. I felt it fit the mood of Silver Silver. It’s also the dreamy and free land of my idyllic childhood, before my parents joined a cult and became buttoned up. A time when there was music and photography and being naked on the beach.