Unfinished Business TonePrint by Harry McVeigh
'Unfinished Business' is a delay that plays with the feedback so that it controls both the vibrato and the delay in order to get a realistic tape feel. McVeigh aimed to get a sound similar to a tape delay that he could use when playing hit single Unfinished Business.
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TC caught up with White Lies’ Harry McVeigh just before they played their show in Herning, Denmark. Harry was more than happy to do two TonePrints with us and also answered a few of our questions.
TC: So tell us about how it all began, making music. HM: Gosh. I think I’ve been playing music or at least I’ve been around music my whole life. My parents - certainly my mother was very interested and nurtured my interest in music. I started to play when I was five or six years old. I picked up the guitar when I was 13 and I never looked back really. Soon enough I met the guys in our band and we started playing and that was when the process began for me.
TC: What was your inspiration at that time? HM: The person who got me into wanting to play the guitar was the same as with a lot of people – Jimi Hendrix. He’s the classical master on the electric guitar – an incredible sound and incredible vision, he completely changed the face of rock music.
TC: How do you define your style with the White Lies? HM: I think I’m a pretty reserved guitarist. There are no crazy solos in our songs, there’s nothing outrageous in the sense of guitar and I think as a band we are very reserved in that respect. We focus more on what’s best for the song than on what’s best for us and our personal issues.
TC: Do you experiment a lot in creating your music? HM: I experiment a lot in the creation of my music and I experiment a lot generally. I think they’re like toys, aren’t they, the effect pedals. I love playing around with delays and reverbs especially. I just think there are so many amazing sounds you can get out of them. And when you dial in a good sound you can sit there playing it for hours and hours. You know, you can just play one chord over and over again – it’s a great feeling.
TC: I guess we can call you an effect guy.. HM: Yeah, I really wanted for this album campaign, to use as many analogue effects as I possibly could.
TC: Do you have a philosophy when it comes to effects? HM: I think if you have a good guitar sound it should sound good whatever. Whereas good effects, a technical and exciting use of effects doesn’t necessarily make for a good song.
TC: In terms of composing, how does a White Lies song come to life? HM: I guess it’s very simple really. We sort of sit down together, me and Charles usually at a computer and we’ll treat it like an artist’s sketch book and we’ll try and map out the basic structure of a song and the basic core patterns and harmonies and we go on from there. And I think we focus more on the recording side of things once we’ve got a full idea, a full song together.
TC: What are White Lies’ future plans? HM: Well, this year we’re touring. We have another show in The Netherlands and then we tour in the UK. And after that I think we’re gonna take a lot of time off. We’re gonna go on holidays and spend a bit of time with our friends and family and then we’re gonna go to some sort of studio and we’re going to start writing again. Hopefully we’re going to have the time and space to focus on a new record, I’m looking forward to that.
TC: Do you have a special White Lies moment or memory that you cherish? HM: Plenty, there’s always moments to remember. I think one of the main highlights was when we played Sziged Festival this year. We were actually offered the headline slot and that was amazing and unexpected for us. I think we managed to deliver a really exciting and interesting show. I wasn’t expecting to be able to hold a crowd and play a show at that level. It was an amazing experience.Read more about Harry McVeigh