Arts Desk

Hundred Waters on Life After Pitchfork’s “Best New Music” Tag

100Waters

Hundred Waters makes the kind of music that sticks with you. The Gainesville, Fla., band itself doesn't stick out, but its oozing electro-folk makes you wanna sit somewhere and daydream. You don't listen to the music; it seeps into you and stretches itself out for as long as it wants. On the band's incredible new album, The Moon Rang Like A Bell, many of its songs bleed into the next for what feels like one long track, even if the band throws different wrinkles in to test your ears. The same went for the group's impressive 2012 debut, so much so that EDM golden child Skrillex signed Hundred Waters to his OSWLA imprint.

The band is in town to play a gig at DC9. I spoke with band member Paul Giese about their new work, life after receiving Pitchfork's coveted "Best New Music" tag, and just what is in the group's intoxicating brand of music. It's a complicated recipe.

I'm still a huge fan of the first album, but this one's even better...

Moon was recorded over a long period of time. Some of the songs on it were started before the first album. And we'd been working on these songs during the entire time we were touring the last record. The new album is a reflection of many different moods and several different environments. It reflects many different vibes—from here, to a remote cabin, to downtown Los Angeles, to our original home in Gainesville, Fla. So I think the variety of moods on there, and places it goes, probably has something to do with our circumstances. Also, we just wanted to explore where [vocalist] Nicole [Miglis] wanted to go lyrically. There was such a broad scope of time in which these songs were created.

You say these songs were created in different places. Was that done on purpose or out of necessity? 

It was definitely out of necessity. We were pretty much touring nonstop for about a year and a half. We were on this van, and a lot of times we'd make music on this computer and work on ideas. There was really no point in time where we could say, "Let's just take a few months to write this album." We didn't want to take the grab-bag approach and make an album with a bunch of songs thrown together. During our time on the road, we had to step back and say, "OK, which of these songs work together as a whole?" What sort of relationship do they have, and is there a meaningful thread of a song that can stretch into something else? Whenever we did get time off, we tried to put lyrics to it in certain places.

Are you working on your next project?

Certainly. The scope and feel of the next project is uncertain, but we do have a lot of things that we are making right now that are really exciting. We're not sure how it's gonna manifest and work together yet.

You all received a nice review from Pitchfork. Has life changed since the "Best New Music" tag?

Um, nope [laughs]. We're on our usual grind, just trying to make everything as good as we can. After the album came out, we immediately got into our live show as special as it can be. We're really excited about the show we're able to work on. When all the reviews and reactions were coming in, we were trying to take the next step. Because on the last record, when all that stuff started coming out, we were already on tour and trying to get adjusted to it all. We weren't trying to let it get to us. Now, we're staying true to ourselves, trying to make the best art we can—which is difficult because there's a lot of coverage. The review itself was thoughtful.

Do you all read what's written about you?

Sometimes. Music criticism is interesting because it's the most subjective thing there is. That's the one thing about when I read things: I'm looking for the most thorough digestion of the music. It's certainly helpful to know what's going on and how people are receiving your art, but there's a lot of reviews that are just too quick. They seem like regurgitations of another review. It's always great when people listen to the music and form their own opinions about it. As long as they're writing thoughtfully and thoroughly.

I don't think we agree with any of the reviews [laughs]. In terms of accuracy, it's all up to the listener, which is one of the great things about music criticism and reacting to the music in general. We want to get varied responses from people when they receive the music. That's the most important thing.

Hundred Waters plays tonight at DC9, 1940 9th St. NW. Tickets are $10 to $12. (202) 483-5000. www.dcnine.com. Stream The Moon Rang Like A Bell after the jump.

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