When Andrew Whiteman picks up the phone it sounds like there’s something noisy going on in the background. You might expect the muddled sounds to be him tweaking away at his guitar or mastering his latest single. But no, at 1 p.m. last Friday afternoon of his first Montreal show with Apostle of Hustle since moving here from Toronto, Whiteman is still in bed. “Me? Busy?” he asks in response to a question about the noise.
Whiteman is the lead singer, songwriter, and multi-instrument playing front man of Apostle of Hustle. But he also plays guitar in Broken Social Scene, something that cuts down on the time he has for his own project. “Broken Social Scene, in a lot of ways, is my first priority.” he said, but admits that it’s difficult to juggle the two acts. Whiteman said he “love[s] Broken Social Scene, and it makes money. Apostle of Hustle doesn’t make money… we do it for the love of guitar, bass, and drums &- for rock and roll.” He revealed that Apostle of Hustle is down to a two-piece band after losing a member to the frustration caused by the lack of income and intermittent activity. “It’s super frustrating for the other guys. They’re not playing in Arcade Fire,” he said. “Some bands tour their asses off, while we tour twice every two years.”
Whiteman grew up in Toronto, but admitted to always having a love affair with Montreal. About a year ago, he decided, “It was time to get serious, a person can only take so much flirting.” As a musician, Whiteman said he has no problem finding something to love in any city. “I can be dumped in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Boise, Idaho and still find something beautiful.”
Dark beauty is what you’ll find on Apostle of Hustle’s latest LP, Eats Darkness. It’s a blend of sound collages and original songs that comes in at a brief 35 minutes. It’s a short album by most accounts, but somehow doesn’t seem that way until you realize it’s done. Described as a “fight” album, the first line of the second song, “Eazy Speaks,” reads “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Paired with the 30-second sound collage that opens the album, “Snakes,” – which explains why untrustworthy people are referred to as snakes – a loose theme begins to develop that reoccurs through out the album.
“What are you fighting? You’re fighting the darkness.” Whiteman explained. It’s that idea, fighting the darkness in our lives and emerging to the other side of that fight, that makes up the true theme of Eats Darkness. “Think about the darkness in your own life.” he said. “There are little ones, and global-spanning ones … and if you have to live another day, you find a way to deal with that.” His coping mechanism involves “eating” that darkness, using your body to transform it, and “shitting out light.” But what if while eating that darkness, it becomes too much to bear? “No one said it would be easy. You can get lost.” he warns. “That how we learn, I guess.”