Posted On 03 Oct 2018
Get to know Water District! They’re an L.A.-based indie rock/pop band and their new release “Dream With Your Eyes Open” brings on some perfect transitioning-to-Fall vibes.
This exuberant trio blends influences from the indie rock sound of the 2000s with fluid new wave melodies and lyrics influenced by The Smiths and The Cure. Water District re-imagines pop rock for the new generation, who are ready for a return to emotionally sincere and harmonious music.
Inspired by his artistic upbringing in Southern California—his mother is a painter and his father was a mod rocker in the 1960s—lead singer Tice Griffin recorded his first demo when he was 19 and went on his first West Coast tour shortly thereafter. While living in a van outside of a studio where he worked as a technician, Griffin envisioned himself as the front man for his own band and committed himself to pursuing his dream. Since then, Water District has released a demo album, an EP, and various singles, to critical acclaim and national airplay. The band is rounded out by Erik Williams on drums and Ryan Scottie on bass.
They made a splash with their latest music video release, “Dream With Your Eyes Open,” a glossy throwback to their pop rock influences. The scene opens up in a dark room contrasted by stage lights. Neon pinks and blues flash to punctuate the rhythm. Glimpses of the band members fade in and out as silhouettes. The trio appears in color. Band-mates pop in and out of frame, in quick, athletic cuts. Griffin sings from the heart his credo—to fearlessly realize your passions. The visuals build as the song intensifies into a surreal crescendo of light and color. “Dream With Your Eyes Open” is a catchy song that’s designed to become the next summer anthem.
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Learn more about Water District in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Thanks for taking the time to interview me! I’ll go play a pick up game of basketball in my neighborhood (Highland Park) and then head to my writing space in Echo Park.
Since we are now at the back-end of 2018, how has this year treated this band? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year?
This year has gone by fast! 2018 saw a re-imagining/regrouping of the band. Ryan Scottie joined Water District and he brought a fresh perspective and tons of ideas. We’ve also spent a lot of the time writing and recording our upcoming EP.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Has anything surprised you about this ride so far?
Before we met, we had all wanted to be in a group with a team dynamic like Water District has. In previous bands, we had each played the role of the “go getter.” Now it’s hard to say who is the hardest worker among the three of us. I’m blown away by how many different instruments we can all play. (Tice, Ryan and Erik can each play keys, bass, guitar and drums.) We could literally switch instruments midway though our set without skipping a beat!
How did you come up with your unique band name? Was it hard to agree on something that you felt was right? What other names were you considering?
I thought Water District had a nice ring to it. I had no idea I would be branding myself for life, ha!
How do you think your hometowns have influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group?
We each grew up near big cities with music scenes. Being nearby to places like Los Angeles made the music industry seem less intimidating and our rock star dreams seem possible.
Let’s talk about your newest song “Dream With Your Eyes Open.” What was the inspiration for this song? What was it like shooting the colorful music video? How creatively involved were you all with it?
Sometimes, it’s easy to give up. I wanted to write a song that encourages people to go after their dreams. We are such an amazing species that lives on an amazing planet, but only for a moment. Make your dreams a reality while you’re here! We made the entire music video on our own. It was an amazing process! My very good friend Logan Ward shot it. I produced it and Ryan edited it. We programmed a light show to our performance, rented out a warehouse and made it happen.
What do you hope to release more new music and a full collection of new songs?
We will release another music video in a couple of weeks and an EP in 2019.
If time and money were not an issue, what would your dream music video look like?
If money was no issue? I would shoot our next video on the moon! We’d do a full performance piece with a space walk b-roll! Haha.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere? Do you have any upcoming tour dates this fall in support of your album?
We love the stage–it’s why we make music! We have an upcoming show at The Satellite on November 5th in Los Angeles, with more dates TBA.
How do you think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? What would you say is the most challenging part about it?
It’s the most amazing, enjoyable, horrible, and time consuming process to have an idea for a song, flesh it out and record it. It can take a year or it can take a few days…but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how your own music is reflecting this time period? Or do you think it doesn’t? Would you say that other musicians are making music that has been influenced by this climate?
Some of the best music and art has been made during times of confusion and question. Although I didn’t set out to write a politically motivated song, I would say “Dream With Your Eyes Open” was written as a reflection of the current world. The artists I have been listening to seem be giving their audience an escape from politics. I hope “Dream with Your Eyes Open” gives our listeners some inspiration when there’s a lot of bad shit happening in the world.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring this group and your music since day 1?
I’d love to be produced by Chris Walla. I’ve been inspired by so much of his music over the years and it would be incredible to learn some of his techniques.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
It’s okay to feel. Embrace being a living creature with emotion.