Posted On 08 Apr 2016
Tag: #cathedrals, Ace of Base, All Access, All Access Music Group, Ariel Rechtshaid, Artist Intervew, Bay Area, BottleRock Fest, Damien Lewis, Devon Hynes, Diiv, Fleetwood Mac, HEARTWATCH, Jack Garratt, Kimbra, Marina And The Diamonds, Metric, MS MR, Napa Valley, Noise Pop, Outside Lands, Parquet Courts, Portland, Quincy Jones, The Flavr Blue, The Strokes, The Tropics, Wind House
HEARTWATCH (Formerly “The Tropics”) is a Bay-area band that was recently revealed to be in the initial line up for this year’s BottleRock Fest in Napa. In February, they headlined The Independent as part of San Francisco’s Noise Pop Fest, alongside bands like Parquet Courts, DIIV, and Metric. As one of the breakout acts from last summer’s Outside Lands Fest, they wrapped up their 2015 touring with MS MR.
HEARTWATCH tapped Damien Lewis (Kimbra, Marina and the Diamonds, Jill Scott) to produce their indie-pop debut. Learn more about the band and their music in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! So, what were some of the highlights of 2015 for the band? How’s 2016 treating you all so far?
Hi! 2015 was a big year for us, with a ton of major milestones. We played Noise Pop 2015 supporting Cathedrals and recorded our new album which just came out. The biggest highlights from 2015 were definitely playing Outside Lands and going on tour with MS MR and Jack Garratt.
2016 is off to a great start! We just released our new record and had a blowout record release in SF for Noise Pop. We are currently on tour with The Flavr Blue, playing shows up and down the west coast.
Can you talk about what it was like headlining at Noise Pop Fest alongside bands like Parquet Courts, DIIV and Metric?
It was amazing! Noise Pop is a really unique festival, more like a mini-sxsw with a lot of showcases and events for local acts but also draws big national bands as well. It felt amazing to be a part of it and headline our own show. It felt like a big community celebration and was the perfect event to release our new album. We also got to check out a bunch of other shows that week and were blown away.
You were formerly called The Tropics. Why did you decide to change your name? Do you think the name-change has affected you all as a group? What about your sound? How did you come up with your new name? How do you think being from the Bay Area has influenced the band’s sound?
We decided to change our name after growing confusion with another act with a similar name. I think if anything we’ve become more unified under the new name and it was an opportunity to all check in with each other and ourselves and decide how and what we wanted to be together. Bands rarely get a second chance to do that, so we are thankful that we came through the experience closer than ever. I don’t think the name affected our sound very much, we are still the same group of people making music together. The name actually came from an old B-side from our first album “Wind House” that we never released, so it had some meaning already for us when we chose it.
Being from the bay area, there is a ton of diverse musical tastes and influences so we are exposed to a lot. The music scene in the bay is very diverse and interesting so we draw on that a lot, plus each members unique backgrounds.
Can you talk about the recording process of your debut album as Heartwatch? What was it like recording it in Portland with the producer/engineer Damien Lewis? Was it a little intimidating knowing that he has working with artists like Kimbra, Marina And The Diamonds, Jill Scott and others?
Making this record was a blast! We all went up to Portland and stayed in a house together for 2 weeks. The goal was to minimize distractions and maximize our focus on the music and I think we definitely accomplished that goal. Working with Damien is great, we met him when we made our first album (he mixed about half of the tracks) and we had a great experience with him on this record. He is encouraging and knows how to get a great performance out of you. He’s also extremely collaborative and makes a point to get everyone’s input and ideas out there. We weren’t intimidated per say by his resume, but it definitely helped us trust him when he wanted to try some far out stuff in the studio.
How is this self-titled collection a mini-album? When do you hope to release the rest of them?
We picked these 6 for the mini-album because we felt they fit well sonically and thematically. We’ve got a bunch more songs that didn’t make this one and a lot more we are in the process of writing. We’ve also got a few songs that may come out this summer.
What bands have been inspiring you all since you started making music?
Claire has always been influenced by Fiona Apple for sure, and as a band we’ve all been influenced by The Strokes, Fleetwood Mac and Ace of Base.
Who would you love to work with in the future?
Quincy Jones, Ariel Rechtshaid and Devon Hynes!
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
We want the music to energize people and make them feel good but also to make them think a little bit more about their own lives -reflect on what you want in life and appreciate what you have. That’s a big theme of the new record.