Interview with Waterdown
Waterdown comes to us from Germany via Victory Records. On the verge of their first American tour, Christian (bass) was good enough to take time out and answer a few questions.
[Bob Johnson] First of all, congratulations on a killer CD! Can you give us a little background on how you all got together?
Christian (bass) Sure. We started Waterdown in January 2000 after our former bands broke up. Jörg (drums) and I had been playing together for about seven years in a noisecore band called Pendikel. Ingo (screamer) was in a new school hardcore band called Fallow, Marcel (singer) was in an emo-rock band called Crackage, Claus played guitar in the infamous German mosh heroes Caliban before and Holger (guitar) was in Bohrer, another new school band.
[Bob Johnson] Who are your musical influences?
Christian They range from singer/songwriter stuff like nick drake and Elliott Smith to punkrock like Face to Face, Samiam, Shades Apart to hardcore like Snapcase, Bad Brains, Fugazi, Quicksand to noiserock like Helmet, Unsane, Neurosis to death metal like At the Gates and Death. Too many actually to mention them all...
[Bob Johnson] How did you get involved with Victory?
Christian We got the chance to support Grade on their last tour through Germany, and we became friends with them. They were really into our music and live shows and promised to tell Victory about us and force them to sign us. We didn't really believe anything would happen, but just a week after Grade left for the US we got a mail from Tony at Victory saying he was interested in signing Waterdown. Luckily, we played
some more shows with Snapcase and Boysetsfire at that time, and both bands went home and told Tony that we are a good band, so he offered us a concrete deal a bit later. We signed the contract in December and went into the studio to record the album in February.
[Bob Johnson] A few of the things that I like so much about Never Kill The Boy On The First Date is that the lyrics are very smart and the vocals (both lead and background) are orchestrated beautifully with the music. How do you go about writing songs and what kinds of things influence you in the creative stages?
Christian There's a similar process to every new song we write: Holger or me come up with ideas, and we all arrange the song together. That can take ten minutes or three months. By the time the music is finished, our two singers get inspired by the instrumental to find a topic they want to sing about. These topics can be personal as well as about social or political issues, as they write about everything that matters to them.
[Bob Johnson] Along the creative lines, I really enjoyed all the artwork and design of the CD. It really seemed to capture the spirit of your music. Did you have any input? Do you think that the design and artwork is an important part of releasing a CD? - secondary to the music itself of course.
Christian The whole artwork is done by Limbert Fabian, a great American artist who worked for Hankshaw, Snapcase and a bunch of others in the past. Our singer Marcel knows him for a few years, they write each other mails from time to time, and Limbert offered once to do some artwork if he'd ever needed some for a record. We remembered that and asked him if he was available - and he was. We sent him the lyrics and the album title and he sent us some sketches of what came to his mind. We told him which way to go, and he did. We are very satisfied with the artwork, we think it's totally outstanding and it fits the music and the lyrics very well.
[Bob Johnson] Being from Germany, what kinds of differences do you see in music scene in Europe compared to that in the States?
Christian I can't say much about the music scene in the US, I just know that you have many great bands in your country and many of them have been a great influence on the German scene in the past. At the moment, the German scene is very big, there are many great bands, many people involved, many kids show up at a show, kids let bands sleep on their floors, care for food...It's great. We're friends with many great German bands such as Donots, Beatsteaks, Tupamaros, Lockjaw, Force Of Change, Caliban... you should always take the chance to check out these bands, they are great.
[Bob Johnson] I reviewed the CD for the site. One of the things that I mentioned in the first paragraph was that the hardcore scene is falling partial victim to the mass media marketing name game, trying to sell an "image" more so than the music. With Emo, New School, and many other categories, do you worry that you might be labeled or be placed into a category that you dislike or don't agree with? Is there anything a band can do
to protect themselves?
Christian We just consider ourselves to be a hardcore band, because that is where we all come from and where we feel home. I think many kids in the scene fight each other for the wrong reasons. It doesn't really matter if you are into new school, old school, emo, crust... they should all build one big scene. The more people, the more power. I don't really care what people call us as long as they dig that we're for
real and that waterdown is the most important thing in our lives. I don't think one can really fight labeling, so I don't even try. Call us what you will.
[Bob Johnson] I saw on the Victory site that you are touring the U.S for the first time. Want to tell us a little about who you are touring with and how long it will be?
Christian We actually start in about a week on the 20st of July and stay in the US until the 10th of September. We will play about 50 shows with bands like Drowningman, Thursday, Glasseater, the Grey Am, Skycamefalling and a bunch of others. We will also appear on some bigger festivals like furnace fest, function fest and Derek Hess fest. You can check out the current dates on www.victoryrecords.com or our brand new site www.waterdown.de.
[Bob Johnson] One of my favorite songs on Never Kill The Boy On The First Date is the last track Etikette totet. Unfortunately, it is in German and I understand absolutely nothing. Can you enlighten me and tell me what it is about?
Christian Ettikette tötet is a cover song that was originally written by the most important German political punk rock band of the 80ies, Slime. The original lyrics are in German, and we didn't want to change them. The song is about a guy who has some serious problems and wants the people around him to help him, but they all ignore his cry for help. In the end he takes it's life. The song is about society and how people couldn't care less about what's going on around them.