By Nicholas Jason Lopez
After their debut single “16 Sweet” managed to land on Spotify’s “Pure Rock & Roll” and “New Noise” playlists despite them being independent, Orange County, Calif.-based duo WHIT3 COLLR returned with the music video for their followup, “Endless Hours,” which features critically acclaimed dancer Autumn Miller, who appeared as the lead in Imagine Dragons’ video “Bad Liar.”
According to lead vocalist/guitarist/bassist Will Sawyer, “Endless Summer” was “his way of capturing the highs and lows of a relationship, up until the point of it merely being a memory – reminiscent of the good times, yet with the realization that things will never be the way they once were.”
Complemented by drummer/backing vocalist Donovan Hess, 16, WHIT3 COLLR’s signature sound serves as a modern twist on classic rock and ’80’s metal, highly influenced by Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses and Van Halen.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with Sawyer about “Endless Hours” and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide on the band name?
Will Sawyer – It was something we came up with when we were 13. We attributed the name to classiness, but with an edge.
Music Bugle – What was the moment that made you want to play music?
Will Sawyer – I’d say there hasn’t ever been a time I haven’t wanted to play music. However, as a band, the moment we knew we wanted to truly play music together was the day Donovan came over to my house for the first time to jam. Once he started playing drums and me on guitar/vocals, we both knew there was something there we needed to lean into.
Music Bugle – Did the music video for “Endless Hours” come out how you hoped?
Will Sawyer – The music video not only came out as we hoped, but it exceeded our expectations considerably. Our goal was to create a piece of art that is truly timeless and the video definitely seems to have exceeded that vision. Credit to our director Tony Hsieh at Shriller Creative for his extraordinary vision and execution and to the incredibly talented Autumn Miller.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Will Sawyer – The energy. The pure, raw energy. As our musical influences hail from both the past and present, we are excited to have captured and curated a unique sound and edge that blends the best parts from multiple eras.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Will Sawyer – Right now, I’d say we’re listening to a little bit of everything. We always have the classics on rotation – GnR, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, KISS, etc. – but also like to switch it up. We’ll throw some hip/hop and pop into the mix sometimes, especially when I’m writing. Listening to a wide variety of sounds is partly just for the love of music, but it’s also for learning. I find that gathering influences from more unexpected areas of music tends to benefit songwriting, making sure that we’re innovating, rather than emulating.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Orange County, California to someone who has never been there before?
Will Sawyer – Definitely a great place to live. The lifestyle is really laid-back, but also has a fast and flashy feel at the same time. There’s really everything here – cities, beaches, urban, etc. – it’s an easy place to find inspiration. Especially with our famous OC weather, I believe Orange County has greatly influenced our vibe and energy.
Music Bugle – What do you attribute your success to, so far?
Will Sawyer – Hard work and commitment. Because we realize that nothing worth having in life comes easy, we try hard to keep our heads down and grind, always striving to be better in every aspect of our music and craft.
Music Bugle – What have you missed the most about performing live?
Will Sawyer – Feeding off the energy of the crowd. The pandemic certainly proved to us that that kind of energy is something that just can’t be replicated. When we played The Mint in LA in June, our first show back in almost a year, there was something very pure about performing live for the first time – again. The only thing I could think of post-show regarding the performance was the Madonna song, “Like A Virgin.”
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Will Sawyer – It one-hundred percent helps. Social media gives musicians an outlet to reach an audience of countless viewers, allowing us to reach those both in our own city and across the globe.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Will Sawyer – It really started as a challenge, being so isolated from one another, but we certainly made the most of it. I remember I’d start writing around 12 a.m. and finish around 6 a.m.. I did that for a couple months during the early pandemic – March-May 2020, making full-band demos in Logic and sending the tracks over to Donovan once I finished. We worked on some minor arrangement things over the next month or so, but basically the entire album – currently unreleased- plus more were all written during those first two months. I’d even go as far to credit the pandemic for allowing us the time to do the ever-so-necessary “behind the scenes” work.