White Fence

White Fence is the solo project of Tim Presley, who spent earlier years in the heart of the punk and hardcore scene playing with The Nerve Agents, but finds himself now in several 60s-inspired garage and psych bands, including The Strange Boys and Darker My Love. His solo project, White Fence, saw its first, self-titled release last April via Woodsist/Make A Mess, and and the follow-up …Is Growing Faith comes out January 18.

White Fence plays this Sunday at the Hemlock with The Babies (Vivian Girls/Woods), Grass Widow and Bad Backs.

White Fence – “Lillian (Won’t You Play Drums)”

At large, the

[White Fence] album comes across as a fuzzy, lovable collection of bedroom demos. Brief me on how it came together – was it recorded in multiple sessions, with other people or completely alone?

They are recordings from 2008-09 I did alone in my apartment. I didn’t think much about releasing them until my brother Sean (Nodzzz) asked me for them. He was playing it in the car for Eric Butterworth from Make a Mess Records and really liked them, and wanted to do a record. So we did, and I think Eric did a great job with it. Packaging and everything. I really love his label, so I was honored to be a part of that.

Regardless of method and tracking, there is definitely a cohesive styling to the first album. But “Baxter Corner” sticks out as slightly edgier in a Brit-punk sort of way. Is there a story behind that tune, or any others?

Besides trying to make a beautiful or melodic song, sometimes I want to rip it up and get down to free form-aggressive sonic annihilation. This is something I have always felt since playing in punk/hardcore bands early on. This always feels totally natural to me despite genre of a UK or American punk sound. It’s all the same to me…raw power. Also I can apply certain lyrics to these types of songs, where as maybe the topic of gang warfare and street politics might not work with a softer sounding song. “Baxter Corner” is about constant gang shootings 3 blocks from my apartment in Los Angeles. It’s a different type of crime. Gang on gang specifically. It’s different from burglary, stick ups or a random act of violence. It’s war. It has nothing to do with me, or any other neighbors or patrons in the area. It’s almost like the spectators during the civil war, where people would picnic or watch from a distance a battle from a distance.

Here’s the topic I have the hardest time flushing out here.. I’ve challenged myself to pinpointing something truly “now” / modern about the self-titled album, but the more I listen to it, the more I fall back in time. In your mind, what would tell the listener that White Fence exists in 2010, and not in 1962?

I understand this dilemma. But I can’t fight it. It’s just what comes out. The record is modern in that it came out in these times, but it does have a 60s feel. I only use sounds that I know and love. I can’t concern myself with trying to be “modern” or whatever that means. Electronic music? What is modern? I feel that White Fence is modern songwriting, but with tools of the past.

How did you connect with Woodsist for the release?

Hows this for modern!? Jeremy (Woods/Woodsist) contacted me through MySpace, he really likes the songs and wanted to put out the CD/digital version of the S/T LP. I’ve only met him once in person, but talk a lot via email. He’s now releasing the new White Fence record called White Fence…is Growing Faith, and it’s coming out Jan. 18th.

This month, you’re doing a few CA shows with The Babies. Any other plans for White Fence in 2011?

I’d like to play more. There are some shows with the Strange Boys in March. And some talk about a summer tour with someone, but we’ll see.

You play in a few bands right now, including The Strange Boys. That band resembles White Fence the closest, but what does White Fence allow you to do that you haven’t done elsewhere?

It allows me to be 100% me. In songwriting, recording, and opinions. In Darker My Love I have 4 other people in mind when I write songs, and it all gets boiled down to a democratic version of the original idea. DML is a band of guys making music together, where everyone gets to play their part. And in the Strange Boys, Ryan Sambol writes the songs and I just add little nuances when given the chance. I’m more or less a utility man with them. But me and Ryan have been talking about doing a record together, just me and him. So we’ll see.

In a lot of ways, the hardcore/punk scene has changed a lot in the Bay Area, but maybe in some ways it hasn’t. You can always trust that there’s people out there playing to passionate crowds, keeping our historic venues open. What do you miss that comes as a sacrifice of not being in a punk band anymore?

I miss the sense of community. When in the Nerve Agents, every show was packed with all these kids. And through time you got to know all of them. It was beautiful. A show at Gilman St. was like a meeting of the like minds, no matter age or anything. Punk/hardcore is a tight community. There was a lot of respect and creative reinforcement. I never took it for granted, you can’t mess with that type of bond. I just wanted to try other music, and unfortunately the crowds and energy aren’t the same. But I do sometimes long for that magic.