I was lucky enough to have a short phone call interview with classic rock, R&B artist Nick Waterhouse before his Boston show at Brighton Music Hall on May 13th. Be sure to see photos form the show below as well as where to find Nick on the rest of his tour!
MM: First, congrats on the new album and tour, hope everything has been going smoothly so far.
Nick: Thanks very much, everything has been going really well so far. It seems like the album has been coming across really well so far and the band on this run has been really great, playing the hell out of the tunes. It has been kind of relentless so far with five or six nights on and one night off with a couple weeks left still on this tour.
MM: How did you first get your start in music?
Nick: As a teenager I was messing around in garage bands in any free time I had with friends, we were playing music whenever we weren’t at any after schools jobs. I did that pretty seriously as a teenager to the point where I was in a band that was playing pretty much every week, we lived close to LA so there was a city close to play even when we weren’t playing in our own local scene. I would say as I’ve gotten older that was a good petri dish, you know you get to screw up and play a lot of bad shows, that’s what it is. By the time I was in my early 20s I had some tools, I knew how to record and had learned some engineering tricks and I hung around the studio that I ended up recording my first album in as a teen ager, so you know it was pretty natural, just like hanging out. It was not quite a hobby but it wasn’t farfetched by the time I was 24 or 25 to record a 45, which is what really launched my career.
MM: How has the writing process for this record changed compared to previous records?
Nick: Um, the little habits I have and the triggers for myself hasn’t really changed cause by this point I know what works for my mind, but I definitely write sometimes with broader concepts in mind knowing that I’ll get to make the songs, for a long time I would write stuff I’d just have scraps and scraps and scraps of rhythmic things or lyrics and while I was working on this it was like filling in a footprint of a building like you know where you’re limitations will be as for instrumentation or time, I won’t suddenly sit down and say I really want to work with oboe’s or someone that uses digital triggering. For me, it’s pretty meat and potatoes where I build a scaffold of a foundation and write out from there or I write little melodic or treats, I don’t believe in the word hooks, but things that propel the song more than just the chords and words.
MM: Do you have a favorite song on this new record?
Nick: I really like ‘Black Glass’ and I think I really like ‘Thought & Act” very much, so those are the two. It’s hard to choose your children.
MM: Were there any songs that stand out took a really long time to write or that came out really easy?
Nick: No tunes in particular, but I will have some songs where I’ll have the chords but not say a second verse or a chorus but I know I just have to wait for the chords to come. So, those kind of tunes.
MM: Has your sound changed since your first release or has it stayed pretty consistent?
Nick: I believe that a record is based on the time and place on where I was at. When you’re a new artist and your first album comes out everybody presumes that that is the limitations of what your are and what’s in your mind, I just believe every record is kind of expanding. My sensibility and tastes have been pretty consistent, at least in a terms of aesthetic ideal. I would say that a lot of things that have been interesting are the uncontrollable things like the circumstances that I’ve been in that I’m reacting to or whether that’s having not been able to work with the engineer that I made my first record with because he went to jail or having been put in strange industry and social situation and I’m writing lyrics in response to, you know those aren’t the things you can control. My first album was pretty much entirely about a life I was living back in San Fransisco that I gave up as soon as my first album came out. It’s an expansion more than a change really.
MM: Can you remember the first album(s) you purchased withy our own money?
Nick: ‘Green Onions’ by Booker T. & The M.G’s and ‘Mohair Sam’ by Charlie Rich where the first 45’s.
MM: Do you have a memorable show from this tour or any previous tours?
Nick: I remember, two or three years ago playing on a beach in San Sebastian in Northern Spain to 25,000 people. It was at night and they were just standing on the beach by the water, it was just so powerful and made me really emotional being able to see that.
MM: If you could play a show or open for any artist who would it be?
Nick: I would love to just play another show with the Allah-Las in 2011 because that was just a good year for both of us, it was a powerful time. I could also say it would be fun to play with The Stones.
*All photos taken by Jonathan Sommer at Brighton Music Hall on behalf of Melodic Magazine.