Before WATERS takes over Monday nights at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall — starting off with a Bay Bridged-presented show on February 3rd — we asked Van Pierszalowski for an update on the band’s return. As Van tells us below, his new songs find him headed in a hi-fi melodic direction, and he’s been hard at work in the studio with Ryan Rabin from Grouplove and Chris Chu of POP ETC. He’s also formed a new band that includes members of Mornings and The Tambo Rays. It’s all exciting news — get the full scoop below, then be sure to catch WATERS during the band’s residency!
The Bay Bridged: It’s been a few years since ‘Out In The Light.’ How would you describe the new WATERS songs? Do the new songs pick up sonically from where the last album ended, or are they headed somewhere different?
Van Pierszalowski: The songs and the production are quite different actually. In terms of the writing, the songs are much more hook-driven and melodic than anything I’ve done before. As I get older, I grow more and more impatient with anything that’s not catchy and memorable melodically. I think it’s a fault of mine that I get bored of music easily. I want to be knocked out over and over. Production-wise, I this album is much more hi-fi. I’ve also grown so incredibly tired of over-reverbed, purposefully lo-fi sounding records. I felt like it would be a much bolder move right now to push all that aside and to make a hook driven, hi fi record that sounds like it lives in 2014 and beyond. It’s been challenging, because when you take that approach, everything is much more in the open. In the past, I’ve been guilty of hiding behind some of those boring indie rock tropes of more subtle lyrics and washed out or lo-fi sounding production, but I just have zero patience with that stuff now.
TBB: You’ve been recording the next LP in Los Angeles. Who are you recording it with and how is the studio time going?
VP: The record is being produced by Ryan Rabin from the band Grouplove, alongside myself and my good friend Chris Chu from The Morning Benders/POP ETC. Chris and I have been friends from our very first days at Berkeley years ago, and we used to work together in The Morning Benders and Port O’Brien, so it’s been incredible to be able to work so closely with him again. The process has been a lot different than all my previous records. We’ve done it more piece-meal because everyone is so busy. At first, that was really frustrating, but but I’ve grown to think it’s actually a really awesome way to make a record. You are able to gain more perspective on things, and it forces you to be very methodical about what you’re recording.
TBB: Who are the musicians performing with you in the band now? What are they bringing to the music?
VP: On the record, it’s just been me, Chris, and Ryan, along with Marte Solbakken from Mornings. The live show is just now coming together, but I could not be happier with the line-up we have. We road-tested the new material on a west coast tour with PAPA, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing WATERS songs live. Brian DaMert and Greg Sellin form the awesome band Tambo Rays are playing guitar and bass, and Andrew Wales is on drums. Marte is playing keys. They are bringing an energy to the songs that is even more intense than the recordings.
TBB: You’ve curated some great lineups for each of these shows. Any bands you’re particularly looking forward to seeing?
VP: I’m really looking forward to all of them! We have French Cassettes and Social Studies on week one, Two Sheds on week two, Mornings (who I also play with) and Farallons on week three, and the Tambo Rays on week four.
TBB: What’s next after the residency?
VP: We are playing some more shows down in LA and around the west coast, and possibly going out to SXSW. The record is not quite finished, so wrapping that up is a top priority. It should hopefully be done in March.
The Bay Bridged Presents: WATERS, Social Studies, French Cassettes
February 3, 2014
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
9pm, $6, 18+