The 28-year-old Mish Way likes to tell her own story, through her own words. The lead singer of White Lung isn't just a recent L.A. transplant and lead singer of a hardcore punk band from Vancouver. She's also a writer, and has sounded off in Vice, Bust, Salon, and Myspace.
“I've just given so much of myself away,” she tells us. “It's actually quite weird.”
White Lung's recently-released third album, Deep Fantasy, includes an open letter from Way. Here's an excerpt:
I have talked about sex, gender dynamics, feminism, drugs, love, blow jobs, music, all the good things, in more ways than I can really count. I've over-exposed. Now, it's time for me to shut up for a while.
Her muse is often conflicted, and occasionally, she has to explain herself by interviewing herself.
She's compared Katy Perry's manufactured image to “Disney princess shit,” and told about dating a “cuckhold.” Needless to say, it got creepy.
For our part, we've caught her off-guard; 9 am on a Monday.
Way's alarm clock goes off as she answers the phone. “Wait, my boyfriend just farted,” she says. Her voice is raspy; she's experiencing major jet-lag following a White Lung show in New Zealand.
Way now lives in the San Fernando Valley with White Lung's new bass player, Hether Fortune of Bay Area goth-punk band Wax Idols. “I just kind of like being away from everything,” she says.
White Lung was formed in Vancouver in 2006 by Way, drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou, and guitarist Kenneth Williams. While signed to Canadian hardcore label Deranged Records in 2012, they released a 28 minute scorcher titled Sorry.
They're now signed to “major indie” Domino, who just helped release Deep Fantasy. On the album´s angriest track, “I Believe You,” partly inspired by Cherie Currie's personal account of being raped, Way addresses rape culture.
“The way I write lyrics is the same way I wrote in my journal as a kid,” she says. “Now I'm writing publicly to myself, in a secret language, so nobody can figure it out.”
Deep Fantasy holds true to band's melodic-hardcore roots: fast, angry, and on fire; driven by Kenneth William's epic-metal riffage, Anne-Marie Vassiliou's thunderous pounding, and 27 minutes of controlled explosions that light up behind Way's punch-to-the-gut lyricism.
“The speed will never slow down in our band,” says Way. “Women have been playing aggressive music forever…get over it.”
By this point in the interview, Way is getting ready to catch up on her writing. She's got deadlines to meet. But before saying goodbye, we ask her about the future of White Lung and what the next record might sound like.
“The last song on Deep Fantasy (“In Your Home”) is a nod in the direction that things might be headed,” says Way. She makes it very clear that whatever her future self-expression holds, it's going to be angry, and honest.
White Lung plays Los Globos on July 23