Monday, December 5, 2011

Interview - Waters - 12.6.11 - Mr Smalls - Pittsburgh - Show Preview - Concert Preview

As previously mentioned, Waters will be opening for Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah tomorrow night at Mr Smalls. We were finally able to get an interview with frontman Van Pierszalowski before the show. We spoke about his time in Oslo, working with a new band and how the weather had an impact on the album. Be sure to checkout his site. Without further ado:

What made you go to Oslo once your previous band broke up? Why Oslo? What did you discover there that made you want to continue music?

Well, I first went to Oslo because I met a girl on tour there with my previous band.  After the band broke up, I didn't have a place of my own, and I knew I wanted to recharge and restart, and Oslo turned out the perfect place to do that.  

From your bio you continued to write while spending time in Alaska, Cali and eventually Brooklyn. How do these songs differ from your previous venture, Port O Brien?

The songs on this record were worked on a lot more than the songs in Port O'Brien.  That band took ideas and chunks of melodies and threw them together in a pretty loose way.  I wanted WATERS to be more focused on the songwriting.  I wanted to spend the time to develop the songs more before we got into the studio.  

You went back to Oslo to flesh these songs out with other musicians. Why Oslo? And then record in Dallas?

I knew I had some amazing musicians to work with in Oslo that could really help bring this project to life.  Nikolai (my guitarist) had done a tour with Port O'Brien, and I knew I worked with him well.  And two of his best friends happened to be an amazing drummer, and an amazing bassist, so it really just fell into place.

Was there a theme you were attempting to project on the album? Or do these songs all stand on their own?

I never try to write songs along a certain theme.  That being said, I think there are some pretty obvious lyrical threads that run through the record.  

You are touring behind your album Out In The Light. The musicians that assisted you from Oslo, will they be touring with you as well?

My guitarist Nikolai is playing in the band.  I have a new California based rhythm section of Nicholas Wolch on drums and Alex Margitich on bass.  This band is the best band I've ever had.  I really have never had this much fun in the live setting.

You are more rocking (electric) than on your past venture. What made you decide to go into this direction?

I think the songs really made that decision.  I've always desired to make the songs be whatever they want to be.  All of the records I've made have some more rocking songs, and some more gentle songs.  This one just turned out to be pretty aggressive, and I wanted the production to match that.

How was working with producer John Congleton? What made you choose him? What did he bring to the table that you weren’t expecting?  

He was amazing to work with.  He kept things raw and focused.  He distrusted any effort to tidy things up or make things pretty sounding.  He made me proud of the imperfections of my voice, and really pushed me in ways that helped make the record be honest.

Was there something in Oslo that inspired you or any of these other areas you spent time in?

All of the places that I spent time in, from Oslo to Alaska to New York, were very inspiring.  I would say that I'm always inspired more by whats going on in my personal relationships than in my relationships to the places I'm in, but the context of moving around a lot, of all these diverse environments, definitely left its mark on the record.

In the bio it mentions that this is the first time you experienced seasons and this had something to do with your writing process. Is this accurate?

Yes.  Growing up in the central coast of California, its pretty much always "hoodie" weather.  I never even thought about buying a coat or a jacket throughout my whole life.  To be all of a sudden immersed in Oslo and New York, with their very noticeable seasonal differences definitely makes it easier to mark the passage of time, and you grow to appreciate the warmer weather much more.  The seasons made me feel further away from home, and distanced myself from the cozy California scene that made me better able to reflect on what I was leaving behind.

You have some interesting videos. Did you take an active part in the creation of them? Or were these a skeleton that you had and someone took over with the rest?

Well, the video for "For the One" was definitely the vision of the director, Allen Cordell.  I can't take much credit for that at all.  I do try to be as involved as possible in all aspects of the project, but I realize I'm not a film maker in any way, so I love picking people that I really want to work with and letting them go wild.

 Was there any theme to the new album?

I would say the theme is waking up, and starting over, and not caring about what you're leaving behind.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?

There wasn't anything specific, really.  I just knew its the only thing I really ever wanted to do.  Still, I can't imagine doing anything else with my life.  Working in Alaska on my dad's boat is the only other thing I can think of that would really make me happy.

How do you go about creating your music? Do you all contribute to the lyrics and music?

Almost all of the songs on the WATERS record were totally completed being written before I brought them into the band.  A few songs got tinkered with during the rehearsal process, or by our producer John Congleton, but by and large, they were obsessed over before they were ever really played through.  The band has an enormous amount of impact on how the songs end up sounding.  But for this record, I spent over a year by myself obsessing over the style and content of these songs on my own.

What would you like to accomplish with this project? Are there any goals you have?

I really want to be able to keep touring, making records, and to be able to make a living off of it.  I realize that's getting harder and harder these days, but that's definitely the goal.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

I really can't wait to play in the area again.  I've only done it once, but I had such a great time, and I hope I can explore the area a little more this time around. *

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