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Interview with Writ on Water.
This week I interviewed Jeff MacKey from the band Writ on Water. Writ on Water plays a unique blend of moody, atmospheric, often instrumental music. These beautiful compositions are frequently punctuated with distorted guitars, ethereal vocal performances, and the occasional post-punk shout. Over their nearly twenty years of existence, their style has evolved significantly, but the essence of their earliest recordings remains consistent throughout their catalog.
The history of Writ on Water is very interesting in and of itself. Their first full length release, Sylph, was released in 1992 on Mike Knott's Blonde Vinyl label. It turned out to be the final release from the unfortunately ill-fated label. A follow up album, The Greyest Day, had been planned but was never realized (the demos were later remastered and released). Little was heard from the band for years after. Eight years later, in 2000, the band suddenly reappeared with a new EP. After it's release, the band went into hiding almost as quickly as they had resurfaced. Another eight years later, in 2008, Writ on Water came out of hibernation once again with a new full length album and two EP's. With new projects on the horizon, it seems this time, they are here to stay. Let's hope we don't have to wait another eight years for their next release! Enjoy the interview, and don't forget to visit Writ on Water at the links below.
Brax: I'm sure you've answered this one before, but I've got to ask. What is the meaning/story behind your band name?
Writ on Water: I was reading a lot of the English Romantic Poets, especially Keats and Coleridge, when we started the band. Keats' epitaph reads, "Here lies one whose name was writ in water," but there seems to be some disagreement as to whether his request/intention was for "writ IN water" or "writ ON water." I find the imagery of the latter far more compelling.
Brax: What music project are you currently working on?
Writ on Water: This will be the first public mention of it, but we are working on a proper studio recording of The Greyest Day, a mere decade and a half after it was originally supposed to be recorded. I'm not sure at this point when it will be completed, but it will contain at least a couple of bonus tracks- some other old live songs that had never previously been recorded/released. I have long been disappointed that people haven't been able to hear the songs on "TGD Sessions" as they were intended to sound. Hopefully it'll be ready for release in the Spring. We have quite a bit of new material too, once TGD is finished.
Brax: I first heard Writ on Water when I picked up a cassette of the Blonde Vinyl release, Sylph, many years ago. What was it like working with Blonde Vinyl?
Writ on Water: It was interesting. We were more involved with Ken "the Happy Fun Clown" Bauer and Mr. Rhumba than we were with Mike Knott. It's a shame they weren't more savvy with the business plan because their heart was in the right place. That said, we were proud of the way Sylph turned out and grateful for the opportunity to get in the studio. Chris Colbert was wonderful to work with.
Brax: Star Wars or Star Trek?
Writ on Water: Star Wars.
Brax: Tell me about your best live show ever.
Writ on Water: Hopefully Writ on Water's best live show is still in the future. In the past, we have always focused a great deal more on composing/recording than on live performance.
Brax: If your band could time travel to any era of the past to play a show, when would you choose, and why?
Writ on Water: It would be tough for us to perform in any time period that doesn't provide electricity as our stuff doesn't necessarily translate well to acoustic. But if we could bring some sort of portable generator with us, I suppose it would have been interesting to have opened for the premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in 1913. There's nothing quite like a riot caused by aesthetic disagreement.
Brax: iPod, CD, Vinyl, or other? Why?
Writ on Water: I still prefer CD's in theory, but for practical reasons I spend more time listening to the iPod.
Brax: What bands are you currently listening to?
Writ on Water: Lately, I've been enjoying some dreamy Swedish bands: The Radio Dept., Mary Onettes, The Bridal Shop. I've also had some Smiths and Pulp in the rotation lately.
Brax: How do you feel about extraterrestrials?
Writ on Water: Live and let live.
Brax: Any advice for others trying to “make it” in music?
Writ on Water: If one's idea of "making it" is commercial/financial success, I have no real advice to offer. But if one defines success by the quality of the work itself, just stay at it. The industry is completely different today than it was even when Writ started, and there are so many more ways to get your music heard.
Brax: Anything else you’d like to add?
Writ on Water: Viva Brax and Manny!
Visit Writ on Water:
Tell them Brax sent you!
Thanks to Writ on Water.
Check back next Wednesday for another exciting band interview.
Thanks for posting this interview! I hope to see them play live someday soon.