After selling out their first headline at the Cellar in Oxford last Saturday, it is apparent that the White Lakes’ hard work is paying off. All four members of the White Lakes are in their final year of school at Oxford College, bringing a youthful energy to the U.K.’s alternative rock scene. They’ve only been a band for about a year, but already have two tracks out on Spotify and a third to be released on March 27th, titled ‘Cigarette.’
Lead singer and guitarist Matt Ellacott only recently learned guitar, inspired after attending Reading Music Festival in 2015. “I didn’t play any cool sort of musical instruments,” said Ellacott, “I used to play the trumpet.” He was moved by the guitarists he saw on various stages at the festival that weekend. “Watching the whole crowd jumping up and down and everything – I wanted to do that.” His own experience in the audience prompted the White Lakes’ goal of wanting, “everyone in the crowd to feel like a fifth member.”
Since then they have written several songs and performed them at various small scale gigs and festivals, including Livewire in Lancaster and Bluefest in Oxford. Ellacott confessed that at first he was nervous at shows, as he was so new to guitar. But he has become increasingly comfortable on stage with his guitar, as the band will often practice five to six times a day.
Ellacott describes the White Lakes’ sound as “dance music with guitars,” inspired by the combination of alternative and dance music that the band listens to. They strive to have their crowd, “dancing and crowd surfing and all that malarkey.” At their Oxford headline, when they performed their song ‘Salt,’ “everyone was sort of bouncing and moshpitting,” said Ellacott. It’s their favorite song to perform live, evocative of U2 with a “stadium anthem feel.”
Along with the release of their single at the end of the month, the White Lakes are booked for another headline slot a few months down the line, and hope to release a 4-track EP by that time. “We are still writing loads and loads and loads of music,” says Ellacott.