Mild Sauce Interview – Alex White

Words by Jake Krzeczowski
Photos by White Mystery

Chicago is distinct. As a city, a people, a vibe; there’s no mistaking anything that finds its roots here. Humble spirit, strong work ethic and a penchant for the hustle permeate from the bricks and concrete the same as they do from those who call it home. Authenticity runs deep and few embody that spirit better than homegrown rock duo White Mystery.

Swimming in a sea of red curls, the brother-sister duo have been crisscrossing the country and the world together for just over a decade, while staying completely independent.The fuel they’ve powered their careers with is self-made, a do-it-yourself hustle true to their lineage.

10 years ago, Alex and younger brother Francis made a unique pact to spend a decade focusing almost solely on the band. That meant: no dating, no cutting your hair and an album a year, released on 4/20. 2009-2019 was a special time of creativity for the pair resulting in short films, ten albums and a deep respect earned. The road offered plenty of lessons and experiences. On the other side of that handshake deal, the Whites have focused their energy on their hometown with an ongoing array of DJ sets, unique events and live performances that can keep anyone’s monthly schedule full. We had a chance to catch up with White Mystery at the new Hoxton Hotel in Chicago’s West Loop. Get to know Alex White below and make sure to come out to Wayward Chicago on April 13th to catch her spinning vinyl as part of the Freedom Machine Art Show.

Wayward: Who or what is White Mystery?

Alex: Since White Mystery started as this little charming independent rock n’ roll band from the northwest side of Chicago. We’ve played more than 1000 shows worldwide: Japan, Europe, all across North America in clubs in the smallest towns and at some of the biggest outdoor festivals that you can imagine. So we’ve seen a variety of what the world has to offer. Now, after ten years of being in a band where we agreed no relationships, no haircuts, we had an extreme dedication to being in this band so it’s kind of blossomed. White Mystery is really enjoying being a part of the community.

W: How would you explain your sound and style to someone who hasn’t come across White Mystery yet?

A: The music White Mystery makes we call authentic American Rock n’ Roll. It can only be from Chicago. It’s loud and its aggressive. We love Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones and all that 70s stuff. And thats a lot of what I spin a lot of the time when I’m DJ’ing is the Rock n’ Roll of the Midwest in the 60’s & 70’s.

W: How important is family to all that you do?

A: Family is a really big part of the White Mystery identity. I’m in the band with my brother, literally. My youngest brother is an artist, a visual artist and my mom is a photographer. You can follow her at @Diane_Alexander_WhitePhotography on Instagram where she’s uploading all of her archives of Chicago from the 70s and 80s and you can see how the city has transformed over the last couple decades. And we really just try to lift each other up. It’s a hard life, its a hard world and when your family is there to support you and you in turn are there for them when times are tough it really helps as an artist to have that support network.

W: What does it mean to you to be a musician from Chicago?

A: What it means to be a musician and a creative person from Chicago is an authenticity that the city brings and also a blue-collar grit that is very, very Chicago-y. You can see the city behind me and the clanging of the L tracks, the sound of traffic. It’s very distinctive to the city. And also just our cuisine of hot dogs and Green River soda. It’s a great place to be, it’s also very diverse. Beyond rock n’ roll there’s amazing genres from hip-hop and spoken word, indie rock and there’s so many great performers on the drag scene and the performance art scene: we have it all.

W: What does White Mystery have in store for 2019?

A: What does 2019 look like for White Mystery? We’ll, I’m super excited to DJ Wayward for the Freedom Machine art show. It’s a really cool spot on Milwaukee Ave in Wicker Park and its really cool that the store activates its different spaces with local artists so I’m really grateful for that. We also have another roller skating night coming up so follow @WhiteMysteryBand on Instagram for more info on that and just all sorts of neat events.

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