Tag Archives: Whitney

Whitney Examine Friendship and Loss On “Forever Turned Around”

Whitney

Photo by Olivia Bee

Whitney’s Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich have known each other for more than a third of their lives. They’ve been making music together for nearly 10 years, first as members of Smith Westerns, and now as Whitney. Together, Ehrlich and Kakacek have weathered a decade’s worth of change, and their sophomore album, Forever Turned Around, reflects that.

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Story of a Song: Whitney’s “No Woman”

Whitney

“We were dreaming and itching to be on the road.”—Whitney’s Julian Ehrlich and Max Kacacek

In Story of a Song, we take a close look at a single song by the artist, and chat with them about the process of creating it. In this installment, we talked with Whitney about the beautiful “No Woman.”

According to Whitney’s Julian Ehrlich and Max Kacacek, the winter of 2014-2015 in Chicago was a nightmare. It wasn’t just the brutal cold—record-setting temperatures brought on by the now-infamous polar vortex. During that time Ehrlich and Kacacek, former members of indie rock band Smith Westerns, each ended “the most intense romantic relationships of our lives.” Then they lost their apartments. Then Ehrlich’s grandfather died. “It felt like the rug was pulled out from under our feet,” Ehrlich told Bandcamp, calling from a dingy green room in Des Moines just minutes before the band—touring as a septet—was set to take the stage. By the end of that winter, after a year of writing (and Kacacek occasionally sleeping in his car), the duo had nearly enough songs for an album, encompassing what they describe now as “a lot of sad, lonely feelings.”

One morning, however, as winter was slowly giving way to spring, Ehrlich woke up on a friend’s floor with a vocal melody in his head. He sang it for Kacacek, who quickly produced a snaking guitar riff to accompany the lilting melody. A “weird fragmented thing,” the duo quickly realized that “we had captured something that we had to focus on.” “No Woman” took shape over the course of that day; the two friends pieced together the chord progression and various melodies on a couch in their friend’s apartment. Minus a brief detour into kraut-rock territory, they said it was “very clear what [the song] was going to be.”

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