White City were the first western-style rock band to play in post-Taliban Afghanistan. They will release their debut album on February 16th 2014 and will be playing Austin’s SXSW music festival on March 13th 2013.
Playing illegal underground bars, embassies and military bases in the war-torn country, since 2006, the current White City line-up of British journalist, Ruth “Ru” Owen (vox/bass), Australian videographer, Travis “Travka” Beard (guitars/FX) and Swedish humanitarian worker, Andreas “Andronik” Stefansson (drums/percussion) met in Kabul in and formed the rock three piece.
Using sandbags for soundproofing, their practice room, “Tora Bora Studios” doubled as a bunker and safe room and it was here the band wrote the reflections on Afghan life that would form the basis for their 2012 debut EP, Space Cadet.
But the band weren’t to be confined to a bunker for long. Travka founded Central Asia’s only alternative arts and music festival, Sound Central, which saw 1000s of young Afghan men and women learning how to head-bang and enjoy everything from metal to hip-hop in a safe environment for the first time.
They also spent 2011 touring every country ending in ‘Stan, taking in Kabul, Dushanbe, Bishkek, Almaty, Tashkent and Lahore, where they recorded their EP at True Brew Studios.
During 2012, the band were invited to the BBC's Olympic studios, following the release of the Space Cadet video and saw additional White City features pop up in the Times, the Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone. To celebrate the release, they dressed up their video director in a homemade spacesuit and filmed him walking around night-time Kabul, garnering a viral hit on YouTube.
Following a overwhelmingly positive reaction to 2012's EP release, the band decided it was about time to record an album. During summer 2013, they escaped the increasingly perilous conditions of pre-withdrawal Kabul and headed to Colombo, Sri Lanka, where they wrote the majority of their debut album before heading to London, UK to record with acclaimed producer, Jaime Gomez Arellano (Cathedral, Guapo, Turisas, Art Brut, Plan B) at Orgone studios.