Exclusive Interview with Jyoti Mishra from the band White Town

Is anyone else on the inter-webs excited about White Town’s newest album? I know I am not the only one since I grew up with ALOT of White Town fans! White Town’s newest album, Monopole, has multiple tracks drenched in ebullience, love and remorse and it’s crafted so well that I assure you, it will stick closely inside your head for days. Yes, it’s that good! In fact, check out White Town’s newest music video and judge for yourself:

Isn’t it good?  I told you! If you like what you are hearing then you will LOVE this exclusive interview I had with Jyoti Mishra, single-band-member of White Town on his newest album, most famous song “Your Woman,” and about his views on New York City!

Q+A with Jyoti Mishra (White Town)

Sherryn: Why is the band called “White Town”? How long has the band been around for?

Jyoti: I formed White Town in 1989. It was originally a four piece guitar band and we wanted to sound like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine, The Wedding Present:All the usual ’80s-alt-guitar suspects.

There are two reasons why the band is  called White Town.

I’m Indian. I was born there and we emigrated to Britain when I was three years old, in 1969.

A.) I chose the name of the band to represent some of the experiences I had as a kid, growing up brown in predominantly white towns, as you may imagine, it wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs.

B.)  I was also alluding to this bit of history: “Around the forts the first signs of segregation were already apparent– the European and Indian communities lived in separate settlements with very distinct characters. in the case of fort St. George, Madras, the main fortifications surrounded the warehouses and other military buildings, and the so-called ‘white town’ had another ring of fortification separating it from the ‘black town.”(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_St._George,_India )

Sherryn: Tell us about your newest album! What inspired it? Where can fans access it?

Jyoti:’Monopole’ is basically a break-up album, hence the title. I wrote it after the end of my marriage and the 14 year relationship that was part of. That being said, it’s not all glum and self-pitying: There are completely joyful songs on there which are about new love, and new hope.

It’s on iTunes here. 

CD Baby here 

and on  Bandcamp here. 

As with all my work, it’s completely DIY: I wrote, recorded, engineered, produced and mastered the audio. The only other person on there is my friend Natalie who sings bvs on this track:

Stylistically, it’s all over the shop, as always. I guess I get bored easily so there’s some synthpop on there, indiepop, indie rock, two acoustic songs. Some songs have elaborate productions, the last song on the album, ‘Anywhere But Here,’ is one microphone, one track, one take.

Sherryn: Will you tour the United States? Perhaps make a pitstop in Baltimore?

Jyoti: I would love to! I played at New York City Popfest in 2012 and had such an awesome time. It’s only the second time I’ve been over. The first was way back in ’97 when Madonna flew me over to LA to talk with her company about a possible publishing deal. Wish I’d signed to her now as Universal did zero for me as a writer!

The strange thing for Brits is that because we grow up seeing so much US telly and film, I felt like I knew NY even though I’d never been there before. Maybe if I get to Baltimore, it’ll seem familiar because of 12 Monkeys, Enemy Of The State and Step Up 2. :-P

As always, the biggest problem is funding a tour. As a one-hit-wonder, I suspect most of the possible audience would only know one song of mine, making for a very short gig! :-D

Sherryn: Which bands have influenced you the most? Which bands have you influenced the most?

Jyoti: Kraftwerk, Devo, Depeche Mode, Heaven 17

Around the time I formed White Town:
Michael Nesmith (ripped him of SO MUCH), Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, The Wedding Present, Pixies
Dinosaur Jr.

Currently, the artists I HAVE TO listen to at least once a week, stupidly loud: 

The Story So Far, Fireworks, Four Owls, Gojira, Akira Kiteshi, Arise Horror

I still DJ and I guested at How Does It Feel in London in September,
here’s my playlist.

Sherryn: What inspired “Your Woman”?

Jyoti: Ummmm…well, that’s a toughie. When I wrote it, I was trying to write a pop song that had more than one perspective. Although it’s written in the first person the character behind that viewpoint isn’t necessarily
what the casual listener would expect. 
It’s basically the hypocrisy that results when love and lust get mixed up with highbrow ideals :-)

But those are just the conscious meanings I put in there. Who knows what monsters from the id are stomping around?

Sherryn: Since you are ethnically Indian, do you carry that culture into your musical style? What part of India are you from?

Jyoti: My family is from Orissa. I grew up listening to my parents’ records so, yep, it’s all in there somewhere. I have experimented with Indian samples and beats but I grew up in England so British pop music is what I most know and create. That being said, I’ve always had this thing for ostinato elements that are modulated / modulate other elements so maybe that’s a bit of Indian showing through.

Sherryn: As an indie musicians, what do you most like about your occupation?

Jyoti: Being a musician is the best job in the world. In January, I played a gig in Paris to a packed-out room. Everyone was singing along, even to songs they probably didn’t know very well. I had to sign so many autographs and met so many wonderful people (some being outrageously beautiful French women) and I thought to myself… I get paid to do this??

Connecting with other human beings, saying something from your heart and seeing it fire up their eyes, that is the most awesome feeling ever. Having a hit record was lovely and I’m so happy to have had it
but I’d be a musician whatever and I will be a musician till I die. It’s in my DNA.

Sherryn: Where is your most fave spot to travel? Where would you like to travel in the future?

 Jyoti: I was blown away by New York! It is this huge cake of possibilities, dreams and random magic. I was only there for just over a week but one night I was walking around Brooklyn on my own, around 3 ~ 4am and I felt this tremendous sense of calm. Passing people said hello, every corner had a shop that was open and selling the maddest food I’ve ever seen, gathered from every cuisine in the world.

And what is this nonsense about New Yorkers being unfriendly?? Total rubbish! I was rubbernecking like the most annoying tourist ever, bumping into people on pavements, getting in the way, not once did I get an unfriendly comment from a native.

If you want to meet really rude people, spend a day in London. They will walk over your face as you lay on the ground, asking for help. So…. yeah, I love America. I love the country and the Americans I’ve met.

Sherryn: Are you working on another album in the future? Anything else we should know? How can fans reach you via social media?

Jyoti: Well, the video I just put up is the 10th song from ‘Monopole,’ only got one last one to do now. I set myself the task of making a video for every track on the album because people share music via YouTube links nowadays. I know if I find a track I like, I get pissed-off when I try to find the vid and it’s a still of the sleeve or something blah like that.Once the last vid is done, it’s on to the next album, which I’m hoping to release in 2014!

 So, yeah, I’m on YouTube here.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JyotiMishra

I have the White Town page on Facebook but I’m not on there personally myself any more as it does my nut in details here.

I’m also on Instagram, Kik, Snapchat, WhatsApp so I’m hardly a cyber-hermit, though.

By Sherryn Daniel


10 Comments on Exclusive Interview with Jyoti Mishra from the band White Town

  1. Awww, thank you again! 😀

  2. Great interview! Particularly liked the comment about making music videos because YouTube links are how people share music – inspired thinking right there.

  3. Great interview! Particularly liked the comment about being motivated to make music videos because of people sharing music via YouTube links – inspired thinking right there.

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