Australian folktronic artist Whitley tours the United States

Kelly Petryszyn

Photo courtesy of Mildfire Management

Credit: Ron Soltys

Whitley playing with Tristan Prettyman at the House of Blues

Saturday 9 p.m.


On Whitley’s MySpace page the headline is “world’s first sit-down mosh pit.” Whitley said that this description came about when he played at a folk festival in Australia where the crowd was “old people in chairs.” All the music was really quiet. Then he got on-stage and it got loud.

The Australian native blends folk with electronica to put a new spin on folk music; this mix is called “folktronic.” His music also has country elements in it. Whitley describes his sound as “pretty relaxed.”

His music is laid-back and simple. On his MySpace page it says his music sounds like “doof, doof, strum, strum, sing, sing (repeat).” He cites his influences as Seagull, Gillian Welch and Aphex Twin.

Whitley was previously in a heavier band when he crossed over to folk.

“I enjoy this music much more. I enjoy songwriting more than rocking out,” he said.

Once he came across this realization, he “had a crack at” going solo and was signed by Australian-based indie label Dew Process.

Whitley took a relaxed approach to recording his album. He recorded his current album with his producer in an unlikely location: his grandma’s house. He said it was just a matter of sitting down with his producer, and a close friend of his, Nick Huggins. They recorded and “were cranking it out,” Whitley said.

“We planned the whole album around the footy and the surf,” he said in a press release. “It was a matter of working around that stuff. You don’t want to do anything when you’re not feeling creative. So we would only create and only write and only make music when we wanted.”

This process resulted in the recording of Whitley’s debut album, The Submarine. The title was a mistake. Whitley said the bass player thought he heard “submarine” in a song and then he liked the word for the title of the album.

Whitley wrote all his own lyrics on The Submarine. He said that the album is about real-life situations.

“I was in a pretty insane spot at the moment. (I was) a child growing into an adult,” he said.

Currently, Whitley is on a U.S. tour — his first time in America — to support The Submarine.

“I quite like it,” he said. “It’s everything good and bad about the world all in one place. I really enjoyed it more than I thought I would have.”

He said he likes how the crowds are smaller in America because people are more likely to come up and talk with him at shows.

Whitley is playing with Tristan Prettyman at the House of Blues this Saturday.

Contact all reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].