WARRINGTON’S Neighbourhood Weekender will be White Lies’ first festival date of 2019.

The post-punk trio have just been added to the Victoria Park celebration’s line-up and are particularly looking forward to reconnecting with fans as this year also marks the 10th anniversary since the release of their debut album, To Lose My Life. It has given frontman Harry McVeigh a lot to think about as we caught up with him in Köln during the band’s European tour.

He told Weekend: “A lot of the venues and tour memories blur into one. We’re playing at venue called Kantine in Köln tonight. You recognise the name and you know you’ve played there before but it’s only when you walk through the door that you recognise it all.

“But with it being 10 years since the first album it is a nostalgic time for us and we’ve thought a lot about how we were feeling when it came out and what state of mind we were in.”

The release of To Lose My Life saw Harry, Charles Cave and Jack Lawrence-Brown go from school friends to rock stars.

Produced by Ed Buller and Max Dingel, who previously worked with the likes of The Killers, Suede and Courteeners, it topped the charts and was gold certified with their most successful single, Farewell to the Fairground, quickly becoming an indie scene anthem.

Harry, 30, added: “We were all so young when that came out – we were all turning 20 and it’s mad that we were thrown into the spotlight with that album and the success of it.

Warrington Guardian:

“Looking back and I don’t really know how we coped with all of that as sometimes, even now 10 years later, I find things difficult to deal with because we’re away from home a lot and we’re always tired. You’ve got to perform well, you’ve got to look after yourself a little bit but at the same time you should have some fun in the places you’re going to and try to find some things to do that aren’t just sitting in a venue.

“We’re equipped to do that now but back then I don’t know what we must have been like. We must have been all over the place so it’s funny to think about all of that.”

What makes it more surreal is that Harry thought White Lies would last two years and the band’s success caught him off-guard.

“It took us by surprise,” he said.

“I’m not really sure we knew what we had. Looking back on it, it’s an album we’re very proud of. There are some amazing songs on there and I think it sounds really exciting.

“I did an interview in the Netherlands with a journalist who had been following our band for a long time. He interviewed us before the first album came out and he reminded us that we said if we can do this for two years then we’d be happy.

“So I’m not sure we had great ambitions. I think we just wanted to get an album out there and hopefully tour the world on the back of it which is what we did.

“It was weird and amazing to hear that it turned out very differently – that we are still here doing it.

“I think that’s one of things we weren’t naïve about. We knew how difficult it was to stick around in the music industry. We knew how fickle it could be.

“It was funny to hear and interesting to think we’re still going after that defeatist attitude when we were starting out.”

White Lies, influenced by Interpol and Talking Heads, have had an international fanbase since the beginning with a particularly loyal following in the Netherlands and Belgium.

“We’ve been doing pretty well across all of Europe really,” added Harry.

“This tour has been going well so far and most of the shows will be sell outs which is amazing. It’s a testament to the fans and how much people love the songs.

“I think for some people it marks a moment in their lives. It becomes connected to all the things you were doing at the time and that’s probably the same way for our fans. People associate songs with parts of their lives or things they were going through and that becomes really powerful.

“One of the magical things about music is that it roots you to a place and a time and makes you think of things in a different way. I think that’s really beautiful.

“There’s nothing political about it and we’re not writing about the problems of the world but at the same time it connects people on a personal level.”

And the three-piece, who have just released their fifth record Five, still love the craft of touring even if they are now less enthusiastic about the many air miles they have racked up.

Harry said: “We usually do three days on and then one day off but by the time you get to that third day you’re definitely ready for a day off to recover.

“But having said that we love to travel and there are so many cities in Europe that are great to hang out in even if it’s just having a walk or grabbing a beer.

“If you make a painting, as soon as you finish and put it out there it’s done.

Warrington Guardian:

“But touring gives you the opportunity to keep trying to make the songs even better – you can switch little things here and there.

“Almost every night we try something new. I love that side of touring – that it’s a constantly evolving thing and if you’re doing it right it just gets better and better as the tour goes on.”

What also helps keep White Lies going after 10 years is that Harry is going through all this with mates.

He met bassist Charles through friends when he was 14.

Harry added: “It sounds cheesy but we bonded almost immediately over music.

“Quite quickly we just started hanging out playing guitar and bass and trying to record stupid bits here and there.”

Charles knew Jack as their parents were friends and he went to the same school as Harry. He was invited into the fold when they heard he had been given a drumkit for Christmas.

So the band was born – although back then they were known as Fear of Flying and were more influenced by the likes of Franz Ferdinand.

Harry said: “We started playing together in each other’s bedrooms and at the kitchen in Jack’s house and eventually into rehearsal studios.

“We had five years of figuring it out in school and then White Lies happened.”

All three are still school pranksters at heart though.

Harry added: “You can behave in a silly way around each other and make stupid jokes all the time. It’s one of the only ways you can get through it I think – having that shared sense of humour.

“It’s important to have a sense of perspective on what you’re doing and remember how ridiculous the whole thing is. It’s such a strange job to be travelling around Europe on a bus. It’s almost like being in a travelling circus and to highlight the absurdity of that is very important and we do a lot of that.”