Get To Know – Straight White Teeth

We Say…

A songwriter, writer and interviewer based out of Kansas City, Patrick McGuire has been making music under the Straight White Teeth moniker for the last eight years. An eclectic and prolific songwriter, Patrick appeared on this site back in 2021 around the release of his album Costilla, which he followed up just a year later with 2022’s Intimacy Coordinator. Patrick’s most recent releases are a pair of linked EPs, World’s Greatest Video Editor, with Volume 1 released in November last year, and Volume 2 shared back in January.

Listening to both World’s Greatest Video Editor EPs, it is evident that they find Straight White Teeth in a creative and experimental mode, take Volume 2’s opening track, yml, it builds around an urgent flourish of piano chords, which is joined by downbeat, Sufjan Stevens-like vocals, blasts of melodica and the higher range of the piano, Patrick seeming to almost hit the keys with aimless abandon. From there the record slides into the multi-layered vocals of the Andy Shauf-like I Cut My Fingers Off and Your Heart Bears Down On My Mind, a melancholic piano ballad where God becomes a fish in a tank, and Patrick comes over all Sparklehorse as he contemplates endings and existence, “you can’t run backwards, but the future isn’t clear”. The EP ends with not one, but two versions of the same track, Do You Love Me. The first is an echoing piano piece, like you’ve stumbled into a concert hall and found the performer alone at the piano plotting his way through a new piece as he sings, “at the edge of my life there’s the sound of a symphony, but the players are drunk and doing lines of timpani”, before repeatedly asking and unidentified other, “do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?” The second is more communal with layered vocals and fluttering high-end notes, giving it a more hopeful feel than the sombre, whisky swigging feel of the original. Having already returned with a further single, a string of US dates starting in April, and plans for a new electronic album well underway, Straight White Teeth looks set to continue down a path that’s unexpected and exciting, one entirely of his own making and all the better for it.

They Say…

FTR: For those who don’t know who is Straight White Teeth?

At the risk of sounding precious or cryptic, I (Patrick McGuire) have been making music as SWT for eight years, and I still don’t really know. But that’s sort of the identity of the project: it’s curious and reactive and unfixed. Most people know me for sparse, lofi folk music, but that’s just one part of my musical output and interests. I’m interested in shaping otherworldly, detuned synths, programming intricate electronic beats, pounding out tense cluster chords on the piano, trying to play discernable rhythms on the drums, etc. Regardless of the tools I use or the sounds I explore, I’m trying to make music that stirs people and sees them wherever they’re at in life.

FTR: What can you remember about your first show?

I’m foggy on the details, but I’d bet my first show probably featured a Christian ska band that performed for my middle school church youth group. I imagine there was some sort of altar call that happened when the horns stopped tooting. I imagine unconsciously giving in to the heavy emotional influence of the speakers on stage, going home, and dramatically throwing my non-Christian CDs into the lake by my house to impress God. I don’t think I started opening myself up to the world and secular music until I left Christianity in my early twenties.

FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?

This is a surprisingly complicated question. The act of making music is, for me, the most hopeful thing I can think of. Music found me and not the other way around, if that makes sense, and it keeps finding me again and again as I move and change through life. Maybe I’d feel similarly if I were a painter or photographer, but there’s something specifically boundless and infinite about the process of writing music. A universe can fit into a two-minute song. A song can save someone’s life or help them come to the conclusion that they’re not in love with their spouse anymore and need to leave. Poetry can punch you in the gut, but feeling a song that hits you at the right moment in your life can absolutely sink you or transport you to a place of joy or relief or nostalgia. It’s an honour to be a part of something so formative and special.

FTR: What can people expect from the Straight White Teeth live show?

Painfully awkward stage banter followed by nervous crying between songs.

In all seriousness, I’m playing more live shows now than I ever have as SWT, and that’s been super exciting. My most recent set is a mix between minimal folky stuff and fuller songs that I perform with a backing track that include live drums, big vocal harmonies, etc. It’s such a gift to play music for people, so I try to approach every show with that in mind, regardless of whether I’m at a venue or performing on a live-stream.

FTR: What’s next for Straight White Teeth?

Without realizing it, I started writing another electronic record a few months ago while recovering from a vasectomy. It’s similar to my debut album and singles like “Lifetime,” but feels a lot bigger and unrestrained. I’m less self-conscious these days and am more open to following my ideas wherever they take me. Things are coming together super quick, so I wouldn’t be surprised to have something self-released by early summer. Then, maybe I’ll make a record with organic instruments. We’ll see. I am currently lining up an east coast American tour with shows in NYC and Philly with more to be announced soon. Overall, I’m so grateful to be doing this and am thrilled for whatever happens next.

They Listen To…

Owen Pallett – Song For Five & Six

Deerhunter – Helicopter

Mitski – Two Slow Dancers

Dave Bixby – Free Indeed

Y La Bamba – Ojos Del Sol

World’s Greatest Video Editor: Volume 2 is out now. For more information on Straight White Teeth visit

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