Watershed Hour: The Wavelength Interview

Purveyors of: Bass, drums, vocals, attitude.
File next to: Death From Above 1979, Queens of the Stone Age, Heart.
Playing: Saturday, December 6 at Soybomb

I embarrassed myself the first time I saw Watershed Hour. At the final ALL CAPS! festival in 2013, they took the stage and broke my brain. Two seemingly very young people, one (Natalie Resimes) plugging a bass through an assortment of pedals, the other (Laura Klinduch) rigging up a drum-kit complete with a bucket, unassumingly took the stage. They proceeded to snarl and wail through cymbal washes and thick layers of distortion. They recklessly tossed raw emotions towards the crowd wrapped in angular song structures and made more noise than a band with double the instruments. With much enthusiasm I sought them out after their set, shook their hands and said, “It’s so good to see kids playing rock’n’roll!” I’m pretty sure everyone’s eyes rolled and a silent groan echoed through the elm trees. They’ve since forgiven me for my uncool Dad moment. But here’s the thing, Watershed Hour are cooler than me. They’re cooler than you. They’re cooler than most bands you’ll ever meet, see, or hear. And they’re playing Saturday, December 6th at Soybomb.

It says on your Facebook page that you two have known each other for 11 years. How exactly did you meet, and can you tell me about a time when you two got mad each other for something that turned out to be totally stupid?

Natalie: We met because we both went to gifted school in grade four and shared a love of Linkin Park and Evanescence. We get mad at each other quite often, but usually at least one of us thinks it was over something big.

Laura: We met at gifted school, the details are fuzzy. No comment.

How did the band come together with Natalie on bass and Laura on drums?

N: Laura’s been playing drums since before I knew her and she’s always wanted to play drums in a band. We started a “band” in grade seven where I was singing, Laura was drumming, and two of our friends were playing guitar. Laura asked the other two members if one of them would play bass and neither of them wanted to downgrade, so Laura said “Natalie, you’re not doing anything, learn bass” so I got my Dad to buy me a bass on eBay.

L: In grade 6 we tried to start a band with two guitarists. Neither wanted to play bass so I said, “Natalie you have to learn bass.”

What did the music sound like during the first few jams? Are there any tunes you wrote early on that looking back would sound totally out-of-place compared to what you’re doing now?

L: The first jam we used Natalie’s Dad’s Boss guitar overdrive pedal and it sounded trippy. The only tunes that probably sound out of place are those written when we had a guitarist.

It would be easy to compare your band to Death From Above 1979 just because of the bass + drums configuration, but could you discuss some other influences or inspirations for your sound — especially in terms of vocals and drumming?

N: Vocal inspirations: Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Josh Homme, Brody Dalle. I don’t have any bass inspirations.

L: I don’t take everything from one drummer. I take the most interesting things that I’ve seen drummers do. In particular a few things from Travis Barker, Cobus Potgieter, Danny Carey, John Bonham, the drummer from Toe, and any bands I see live.

Were you always a duo? Have you or would you ever consider expanding the band with other members?

N: We started the band because the grade seven band that Laura and I were in dissolved and we needed something new. I was playing music with my two of my friends, Braeden and Duncan, but I wanted Laura to replace Duncan on drums, so I convinced Braeden to let her play one song with her. Once we had performed a coffeehouse at their high school together, we became a band. We released an EP together and played our first shows together. We were together for eight months, but after Braeden refused to play a show, we kicked him out. We meant to take him back as soon as he apologized, but when we showed him the new stuff we’d written in his absence, he insulted it. We were all too proud to give in and make amends so we never got him back.

L: We’ve considered expanding, but people I’ve jammed with can’t seem to improvise, which bothers me as it feels like I’m just playing their song. With Natalie and I, it’s an equal balance. People who have jammed with Watershed Hour also aren’t able to play to Natalie’s bass.

You’ve put out two releases, Bang With The van Gogh in July of 2013, and Yacht Club in May of 2014. How do these two records differ? Do you find your sound progressing in a certain direction?

N: We’ve actually produced three releases. However, it doesn’t feel right selling our first EP without Braeden in the band, and it also sounds drastically different from our sound now (think: Silversun Pickups). As a general rule, each album is louder and screamier than the last.

L: [Bang With The van Gogh] was us trying to figure out how to be a two-piece. Each song we write is a departure from the last so who knows what’s next.

Apart from garage-rock, there seems to be a definite prog-rock influence to your sound in terms of song structures and shifting time signatures. So I guess what I’m asking is, who’s the nerd?

N: I guess Laura – she did write a drum beat to a song we later called “math rock.” However, all but two of our songs are in 4/4, the other two being in 3/4. We just play weirdly and disjointed.

L: Lots of polyrhythms, lots of things seeming off time. Song structures just happen depending on the vibe of the song and what we feel sounds best. Other than that I’ve never listened to prog rock specifically before.

If Watershed Hour was a trivia team instead of a band, what subjects would you excel in?

N: Laura’s actually pretty good at trivia, so I imagine she’d fare well. I could talk about Spain’s national soccer team and Doctor Who.

L: Me specifically, calculus, lesbian TV shows and movies, and early 2000’s music.

Please tell me a story about the following Facebook post:

Got some new song titles coming up, maybe you can catch them this week:

1. Low Income Student Housing (I’m afraid of getting killed by the man outside my house)

2. Legs Sore (from f***ing)

3. Beautiful city turned to shit

4. Low Income Student Housing Pt II: I can hear you having sex (every single night)

N: Oh, I wrote that status when I was lying in bed, mad at the neighbourhood I live in. I decided to live in Peterborough very last minute this year, so I’m living in a shitty townhouse where all my neighbours yell loudly and sit on their porches drinking beer and being scuzzy. The people who live beside me are always fucking really loudly which is noisy and puts me off. I’m also frustrated at the state of Peterborough and its music scene. Also my legs were sore from fucking (slightly unrelated).

If you could express your undying love to any bands or venues you’ve played with or played in, who are they?

N: Venues: I love the Baltimore House in Hamilton, they always treat us super well and the aura is just absolutely stunning. We’ve been extremely fortunate to play with some bands that I really love, such as The Beverleys, B.A. Johnston, and Lightmares. I get totally star-struck sometimes.

L: Lightmares, Lint and HotKid are bands we’ve recently played with. Next Summer Collective (Oshawa) and Mudtown Records (Owen Sound).

– Interview by Po Karim