When Jason Davis of Streetlamps for Spotlights and Off The Cuff Sound gets a hold of me to tell me about upcoming shows in the Fort I’m all ears. He brings great bands to Fort Wayne stages and this most recent band is no different. On June 18th Athens, Ohio’s Water Witches will be stopping in the Fort to play Skeletunes Lounge. They’ll be joined that evening by Jason’s Streetlamps, as well as The Be Colony.
What do they sound like? Imagine Dr. Dog, Devendra Banhart, Nick Drake, and sentient beings all mingling and tingling together in the best cult fruit punch you’ve ever tasted. And plenty of glitter thrown in for good measure.
I got a hold of the mystical Water Witches(which consists of Ethan Bartman, Charlie Touvell, and Matt Clouston)telepathically and proposed some questions to them via brain waves and hazy vibes. Some of the questions may have gotten muddled between here and Athens, so bear with me.
J. Hubner : So tell me about the band. How did the Water Witches get together? Were you guys in bands previously?
Water Witches: Our first Nelsonville Music Fest 2014. That summer we all continued to jam because we like to hang out together. We formed two bands that were different sides of the same coin. One was a freak folk project called Feathers, the other, a psych rock band by the name of Halcyon. We decided to fuse the two to make everything simpler. We felt this new direction needed a new name, so we held a séance during a set we played at a house show. The spirits gave us the name Water Witches. We all have been playing music in Athens for a few years now, playing in several different bands of all styles.
J. Hubner: Tell me about the music. Not only is the sound very distinct, but there’s a real visual aspect to the band. Who or what influences the sound and look of Water Witches?
Water Witches: Tarot Cards, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Wooden Indian Burial Ground (amazing psych surf from Portland), Robert Anton Wilson, David Lynch, the Source Family, Henry Miller, Dr. Dog, the D-Rays, Velvet Underground, Aphrodite’s Child, John Waters.
J. Hubner: Let’s talk about the your newest full-length ‘Feathers’. According to your Bandcamp page, the album was “Self-produced in a basement among the Indian mounds of Zanesville, Ohio.” Can you elaborate on that? Who’s basement was it? What are these Indian mounds you speak of? Besides a basement and Indian mounds, what else is in Zanesville, Ohio?
Water Witches: Charlie was housesitting for his dad, taking care of his dogs and pigeon. We set up a makeshift studio in the basement and recorded everything ourselves. Zanesville is located at the confluence of two rivers, the Muskingum and the Licking. It was considered sacred and was (and is) the site of ancient burial mounds.
J. Hubner: Back to the album, did you guys record to tape or computer-based? Does that sort of thing matter in the Water Witches universe?
Water Witches: We recorded everything on a Tascam digital multitrack Ethan got in Ft. Wayne years ago. We basically just try to get by with what we’ve got. Most of the mics were running through guitar pedals and there was a lot of experimenting going on. It was good to collaborate with Josh Antonuccio from 3 Elliot Studio on the mix and bring the tracks out of the basement and cleaned up a bit.
J. Hubner: What’s the songwriting process like for you guys? Is it a wholly collaborative effort, musically and lyrically?
Water Witches: Usually it starts with some chords and words or a recording from Ethan. We quickly start playing songs together with particular feelings or styles in mind, and pull it all together and make something new. The way we perform the songs are a constantly evolving collaborative effort.
J. Hubner: Athens, Ohio seems to be a pretty happening town. It’s like the Austin, Texas of Ohio. Is the music community pretty tight knit there?
Water Witches: Athens is a special place, especially for music. Everyone looks out for each other and it’s filled with a rich music history. Being such a small town with so many great bands, everyone does everything together. There’s also a place for every type of music, and everybody digs everything. It is truly a place for lovers of music. We also love to host sweet traveling bands, everyone appreciates good music.
J. Hubner: Water Witches will be coming to Fort Wayne to play Skeletunes Lounge on June 18th. You guys will be playing with Streetlamps for Spotlights and Be Colony. How did this show come about? You fellow Athenians The D-Rays have played Fort Wayne in the past as well.
Water Witches: Ryan kerr recommended Skeletunes and ErIck from the D rays got us in touch with Jason from SFS. We love the D Rays.
J. Hubner: What can folks in the Fort expect from a Water Witches show?
Water Witches: Supernaturally charged rock and roll glitter baptism.
J. Hubner: Any other upcoming shows you want to tell us about?
Water Witches: We will be playing in Cleveland on 6/22 and be sure to check us out on Meet The Music with Julia Meek. We will be recording a set with them while we are in town.
Keep June 18th open for an amazing night of music at Skeletunes Lounge with The Be Colony, Streetlamps For Spotlights, and Water Witches. Also keep your ears peeled for the Water Witches appearance on 89.1s Meet The Music with Julia Meek. And check out their great album Feathers here.