When Whitaker's music bounced around the globe in 2014 on the back of multiple television programs reaching millions of viewers, the lads from Melbourne, Australia saw their international fan base begin to grow. The band's 2013 EP, Wichita, which enjoyed overwhelmingly positive responses from reviewers and listeners alike, was eagerly swept up by music supervisors worldwide for featured use in various Australian television exports and international productions such as MTVs Teen Wolf, the latter affording Whitaker a spot as MTV.coms featured artist for March 2014. The result: over 10,000 sales and 350,000 streams of the independent bands music worldwide in 2014 - not to mention the half a million or so views of their music via YouTube.
The band, however, will tell you that numbers arent the important part. 'The response weve had from fans over the past year has been incredible, says frontman Ryan Meeking, 'Were constantly contacted by people from around the world who want to share with us the part our music has played in their lives. Were beginning to get that 'mission accomplished feeling artists naturally crave you know? It isnt hard to understand where Meeking is coming from: one listen to Whitakers music reveals a desire to form an ernest relationship with its listener. Perhaps music website What Sound said it best when it described listening to the Wichita EP as an 'almost physical experience. Physical indeed. An amateur video recently appearing on Facebook depicts hundreds of dancers engaged in beautifully synchronised, swan-like movement to Whitaker's My Own. In less than one month the video has had over 1.2 million views. 'Is it a rehearsal, a mass audition? We have no idea and we cant seem to find out. But its enthralling and the fact these type of things keep coming up is incredible to us says Meeking. Whatever it is, its one among many examples of the bands ability to produce music that truly connects with people.
Whitakers music makes for some serious listening. Flanked by long-time band members Simon Rabl and Brett Scapin, Meekings soaring voice narrates stories based on the deeper topics of life. But Whitaker is no mouthpiece for a bleeding heart. Teaming up with local Melbourne musicians, with up to as many as six members on stage at one time (often including Meekings brother Luke), the band produce a dynamic smorgasbord of music filled with driven intent, lush harmonies and airborne melodies. 'It makes for a tricky stage setup, Meeking laughs, 'Everybody sings and plays multiple instruments - sound guys groan.'
Theres a feeling of community in a Whitaker audience - not just between those watching from the dark but between audience and band. Its as though the music, themes and personalities within the band make for a perfect storm of human understanding. And they say theyre just getting started. 'Its studio time again, says Meeking with a smile, 'We have some serious ideas about where to go with the music next. Wichita is about looking back and making sense - or maybe accepting the past. I think now its time to look forward. But most importantly, we want to play to some of the fans that have been contacting us from overseas. We feel like a huge door has opened across the ocean and standing on the other side of it are our fans. They dont seem so far away anymore. I guess we owe a big thanks to TV and the internet for that.
Whitaker hit the studio in March this year for a mid-year release and plan to tour England this September.