Articulando influencias con Nick Waterhouse


Remembranzas, mucho baile y gozo en cada canción. Nick Waterhouse es ese artista que captura la grandeza de los grandes músicos de una era de oro, y los presenta a una nueva generación.

Firmado a Innovative Leisure Records, disquera independiente de Los Angeles, que tiene bajo su sello a artistas como BADBADNOTGOOD, Rhye y Mint Field, Nick ha dado vueltas por el mundo transmitiendo el rock energizante que lo caracteriza.

Tuvimos la oportunidad de hablar con él hace unas semanas acerca de álbum debut, influencias y Cocktail Hour, su programa de radio en Instagram.

Aquí les dejamos la entrevista, en su idioma original.

El Timbre Suena: It’s clear to me your music changed the way we could interpret and reimagine a certain era. I can feel it with the horns, the back vocalists, the setup on live performances, the videos, wardrobe, everything is on point. Was that clear from the very beginning of your public persona?

Nick Waterhouse I would say that my decisions have much more to do with my own personal influences and how I articulate them rather than intending to have any particular persona. In fact, in a funny way, I feel I have more in common with artists of another era. When I made my first album it was essentially without a persona in mind. As time has gone on, I must get more comfortable with being put in the position of occupying that persona in order to fund and sell my works, If that makes any sense. I simply do what moves me. I just love and have internalized people like Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Guitar Watson, Ray Price.

Have you picked up something new during this quarantine? Maybe read a book you have been wanting to read, a new skill, finished a song that’s been sitting out for too long perhaps?

NW: Lately I have been honing my electronics skills! I have been soldering and cleaning contacts on all my recording equipment and trying to put them to use broadcasting my weekday radio show on Instagram live (4-6PST). Also trying to get the absolute best sound for these little tiny phone speakers.

El livestream en Instagram para Cocktail Hour regresa esta semana.
We’ve gotten a glimpse of your personal collection during the Cocktail Hour. It’s such a great treat for fans, and it makes complete sense for you to be sharing what you listen, in a non-traditional or expected form. How has quarantine changed the way you interact with fans?

NW: It is nice to have a little more a direct contact with everyone. Of course, it feels natural and I was trying to think of a way that was true to myself and my world in interacting with this highly invasive medium. I already have had a small record label, may as well have a small radio station.

Throughout your discography, I’ve only seen one collaboration, Katchi with Leon Bridges. How did that come to be? I thought it was only a matter of time for you to have a record together.

NW: Leon and I met in 2015, I think. This song was part of a spur of the moment set of tunes we wrote together. This was the one that got cut. I still have fond memories of recording it with him at 3 am in North Hollywood after a show in Venice Beach at the Townhouse. Half the Allah-las were there, a painter named Mattea Perrota, and I recall Matt dancing with a bouquet of flowers he’d bought on the side of the road on the way over and drinking from a champagne bottle. These are the circumstances that really records should be made from. Just friends together horsing around.


You know a song is well written when you can reinterpret it in a completely different way. The Ofenbach remix was unexpected and opened a door I never knew could be explored with your music. Are you into that type of creative exercise? Is it something that interests you?

NW: Yes, it’s true. It was an unexpected door. It was nice to have those guys turn my work into something that makes money, and it seems exposed my work and voice to a global audience. However, I don’t think anyone hearing it would ever know who I was particularly. So, no, I have lots of work to do on my own time in my life.

El Viv might as well be a Latin record, at least to me. I heard you played La Lupe’s version of Fever on the livestream, it was beautiful. Have you ever thought about making a Spanish speaking record? I need some Bugalú!

NW: Its funny you say that, but we ran out of time. I was supposed to have a guest spoken word Spanish track over that. Would love to make a bugalú record, if only I didn’t have such a clumsy tongue. I love Spanish and comprehend about 60% of when it’s spoken, I am from southern California, after all. Singing it is terrifying! I’m better singing German.

It’s been almost ten years since Time’s All Gone was released. How nerve wracking was the process of putting out your debut? 

NW: That album really came after I self-released the Some Place record… with no vision of the future and very little of the past in my mind. It was an immediate move that wasn’t really planned out nor did I think beyond the day I pitched it. It was rooted in a lot of thoughts I always had, but never organized or. lined them up.

I didn’t make the record as a musician and so I think it freed me and freed the players on there from pressure of making something to be scrutinized. However, it shouldn’t be taken as some lackadaisical or novice noodling; In making it I realized I was more serious about music than anything else in my entire life.

It was as if I had been unconsciously training myself and suddenly these things, band directions, sound direction, delivery – all came to surface. I felt great about it at the end of it, but still didn’t know what it was, just that I had a notion I had to continue on, raise the money to press it. I also felt vaguely lonely at the time.

Can you share a short story about that time in your life?

NW: I put Some Place out in San Francisco, and LA/Orange County California. Basically on the internet. A handful of shops had them, as did a handful of club DJs in San Francisco who I gave test pressings to. Started getting a lot of spins in the clubs, and people started buying it around San Francisco, and I would have folks asking me a lot about the record, my intent, whether I was going to play a show.

I had sketches of tunes that I didn’t really consider tunes, because I wasn’t a musician in my own mind, and a lot of those little hooks and lyrics ended up becoming the songs on Time’s All Gone; but at the time I didn’t even have a band to hear what they would sound like. I also split with my live-in girlfriend, and I think this helped really push me into dedicating myself to a big project.

The future bassist and drummer for the next year with me were both acquaintances of mine who were simultaneously prodding me about whether I’d be playing any more music based on the 45. The bassist had a practice space share on Sundays and said if I ever wanted somewhere to just be loud, very hard to find in San Francisco, I was welcome to use it.

I had also started production on the Allah-las at this time, envisioning myself as more of a studio-oriented producer for them and some records I could make with pickup players. Much of the band came together in the following weeks through the record shop. Within two weeks I had the whole line up that ended up playing the first shows with me and playing most of the album.

Portada del álbum debut, TIME’S ALL GONE, Fotografía por Nick Walker.

Suddenly I had all the instruments I had ever wanted and imagined to play my ideas. I could refract those off of them and hear my ideas in real time, and play off of their individual strengths, styles, weaknesses too. Very quickly I was fleshing out my tunes with the exciting and very real feeling of live players. I was never the type to overdub everything, as I realized the power of a lot of the records I loved was about the liveness of the performance.

I rehearsed that band pretty heavily from late October to December 2011, and the first show was a seven song set the week before Christmas. By February I had been booking regular shows and some of the first Los Angeles shows as well. We had a clear concept of making at least 2 more 45s, no intention of making an album because I was trying to budget and pace on my own schedule. I was getting lots of interest via the web from points faraway.

The short version of the story is that I took the whole San Francisco band to Southern California on my own money and cut half of the album; got the runaround from some guy who wanted to loan me some cash to pay the studio fees and I paid for it all, borrowed money, emptied out my bank account. I had labels interested by then, and so I was stuck. My plan of self-sufficiency, only making 45s was not what labels were interested in, they were interested in an album. I finished the record in another month or two, with the help and playing of a few more friends.

I just remember it being manic, like real live or die kind of feel to it, even if it was only a total of about 40 hours in the end, it was spread out over a few months between day jobs and commutes from San Francisco to Costa Mesa. After that, everything changed. I was on a european tour suddenly playing these songs, half the original band had quit or gone on to other things, communes, living abroad, starting their own bands, and that moment was over.

A song you wished you’ve written? Is it because the way it is structured, the lyrics, melody?

NW: Sure! Night Life by Willie Nelson or Fever by Eddie Cooley.

What are you currently listening to? Are you fixated in something at the moment?

NW: Lately I’ve been listening to my record collection! I am really loving doing another pass on producers, writers I may have not linked before, for instance Maxwell Davis.

Gracias a Andrew Mishko y Jill Irvine por hacer realidad esta entrevista.

Pueden conocer más de la discografía de Nick aquí.

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Martha Elisa Estrada Cortez

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