Last issue we reviewed WATERS debut album, Out In The Light, and found it to be one of the most exciting debut records of this here year. We caught up with Van Pierszalowski in the back of a van so he could tell us a litt bit about it...
Tells us a little about how WATERS started?
During the last few Port O’Brien tours, it became clear that I needed to start a new project and say farewell to that name. I met a girl in Oslo, and moved there and recalibrated my whole life situation. I started writing, and it was immediately clear that the new songs had a whole new vibe and feeling. I found a band to help the songs come to life, and that was that.
You’ve just done your first tour, how was it?
We’ve actually done a couple now. We toured throughout Europe with Wye Oak this last summer, toured the Western United States with Mister Heavenly, and recently just finished another European tour. And I’m actually in the van as I type this on a week-long California tour during the week of release. It feels amazing to be back on the road. It really does feel better than ever. I’m so proud of these songs, and my band is so solid. I just want to keep going!
I guess reviews must be starting to creep in for the record now, how have they been? Do you feel people have ‘got’ the record?
I try hard not to read any. If I stumble on one that’s negative, it really does bum me out, which is stupid, I guess. But I would say the overwhelming majority of what I’ve seen has been positive and good, which is good to see. But at the end of the day, it’s really best to ignore all that kind of stuff.
How was it working with John Congleton? He has an amazing catalogue behind him.
It was so awesome. It was the first time I’d ever worked that closely with a producer, and it really was everything I hoped it would be. He has an amazing ear and a great knack for keeping things raw and honest, which was one of the main goals of this record.
I specifically love the sound of the drums on the record, they remind me of the drums on Nevermind. Were there any sounds that were difficult to capture? Any happy accidents when recording?
I wanted to make sure the drums sounded HUGE on this record. It’s funny you mention Nevermind, because my main reference I used with John was In Utero. I knew he worked with Steve Albini for a while, so he knew a lot of his tricks. He even mic’ed the floor to get some extra body out of the drums. I wanted the drums to just knock you over.
How clear was your idea for WATERS before you started making the album? Has it changed or come out differently to what you expected?
I had a pretty strong and specific vision for the project from early on. I knew I wanted it to be more rock 'n' roll based in production, with more pop-based songwriting. It’s definitely gained a lot of energy in the live setting, though. I never thought the live shows would be this intense and crazy.
Tell us a bit about the making of the new video for ‘For The One’ it’s great!
It was so much to make this video. It was a long four-day shoot in LA, but I never got tired of it all. We hired all these extras, who were all just fascinating people. I think you have to have a pretty crazy life story to get into that line of work, and it was so great getting to know all of them. Allen Cordell, who directed the video, was amazing to work with too. He had a really specific vision, but was always open to trying things out and improvising. The whole shoot had a really organic feel to it.
There is youthfulness to the record, almost sounding like it’s coming from somebody very reinvigorated. Is this the case?
It's true that I feel pretty damn reinvigorated. I’m older than I’ve ever been, believe it or not, but I feel very young. I remember a time in my earlier twenties when I really felt old. I have more energy now, I’m healthier, and I’m not concerned with age much at all.
Was leaving Port O’Brien something you needed to do?
Yes, definitely. There really was no option for the band to continue.
Any artists or bands that you were particularly inspired by when making the record?
Well, I already mentioned Nirvana, but Sonic Youth was always in our heads in terms of guitar sounds. After each session though, we would listen to The Weeknd, which always gave us a nice come down from an intense work day.
Are you happy to be back with City Slang?
Hell yes! I love working with City Slang. They are great people, who are really just so passionate about music. I love hanging at the office in Berlin. It has a really wonderful feel to it.
I notice you have been writing songs like Coldplay, can we expect more of that to come?!
Oh did you see that tweet? Ha. Yeah, I wrote this awesome song, and I was so excited. And then I realized the melody was basically a Coldplay song, and it made me depressed. But then we couldn’t figure out which song it was. Almost all of their songs kind of use the exact same melodic ideas, so it was hard. Oh well, that shit happens.
I know you have spent a lot of time in Oslo, were you there when the recent tragedies took place? How was it for you finding out about those events?
I was actually in California with my Norwegian girlfriend at the time. It was a horrible week of watching the news. It was really hard not to be in Oslo around that time. The city seemed to be full of love, and we were kind of isolated in this small town in California, so it was really tough.
Has the city changed since? Or have you not been back?
I haven’t been back since, unfortunately. I miss it there.
Plans to return to the UK to tour?
We’re hoping to get back sometime later this year! Stay tuned!
The Video for WATERS single For The One