INTERVIEW: Waxahatchee

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WUOG is lucky enough to present a show featuring Waxahatchee, Screaming Females, Tenement and Grape Soda at the 40 Watt on 9/19. In preparation, Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee) called and we discussed backstage partying, plans for a new Waxahatchee record, papers about Michael Stipe and more. Check out the interview below!


How’s the tour with Screaming Females and Tenement going so far?

It’s going great. It’s been kinda crazy since we’ve been on the East Coast and that’s where Screaming Females and I are from. So the backstage of the shows are like, how you’d imagine the backstage to be. Typically a show is really boring and people are just sitting there reading or calmly sipping a beer. This tour so far has been crazy, which is not what I imagined since Tenement doesn’t drink at all and I just kinda thought it’d be like very calm but it’s crazy. Like every weekend we have a bunch of friends and we’re like “oh yeah come backstage” and it’s just a party.

Have you been revisiting some old haunts since you’re back on the East Coast? 

No. The thing that sucks is we just went to Boston and I haven’t been to Boston in like a year so I was really looking forward to it but then we came immediately back to New York which is where I’ve been lately. We were like “oh, we’re going on tour” and we went to Boston and now we’re back exactly where we were. So it was kind of a lag but currently we’re out on Long Island which is where my boyfriend Keith who plays drums in Waxahatchee lives. We’re at his mom’s house and we all just sort of woke up. We’re watching Roseanne and drinking coffee and we’re gonna go thrift shopping. So this is kind of an awesome day today.

You and Keith are working on a project called Great Thunder right? How is that going?

It’s going great, we’re not really currently working on anything because we just finished a double LP. Our first proper “record record” is coming out at the end of the year on Salinas. It’s a double LP, there’s like 30 songs on it so that was kind of a feat. We finished that and I’m kind of at the moment starting to focus on the possibly even bigger feat of writing the next Waxahatchee record. Usually with Great Thunder Keith writes 75% of it and I write 25% of it so it’s less work for me.

And you’re starting that new Waxahatchee record after this tour right?

Sort of. I’m going on this tour and it’s three weeks long and pretty much immediately we’re going to Europe. My sister’s band Swearin’, which Keith is also in, we’re all together going to Europe. That’s gonna be fun. We’re gonna be there for about a month and then we’re coming back and I’m gonna go down to Alabama and start working on it and then I have to fly out and do a West Coast tour with Waxahatchee at the end of that month and then after that I’m taking a break to work on it.

Are you planning on recording this new one in the same fashion at your parents’ house in Alabama?

Well I didn’t record my last one there but I wrote a lot of it there. I recorded it in Philly, which is where I was living at the time, at our house which is where I recorded my record and Swearin’ recorded their new record which hasn’t come out yet and Radiator Hospital, our really good friends, recorded their record. We were living in this big house, all of our friends together. We were just making music all the time. I’m probably gonna record it in the same way, as in with the same people.

So it’s gonna be a full band?

Yeah it’s gonna be kinda like [Cerulean Salt] in the sense that it’s gonna be some full band some by myself – just experiment a little with the instrumentation. We’re not really sure yet what we’re gonna do with it.

Do you have any songs written right now for the new album?

Yeah I have one full song but I actually recently organized all these demos that I have made since [American Weekend] came out and I have like 16 fragmented ideas. Just melodies and riffs, all kinda organized together now. That’s actually how I made Cerulean Salt. I was really busy before I made the record and didn’t really have time to sit down and write for a while so I would just put down ideas that I had on the go and at the end of it I just put them all together and used those bits and pieces to make actual songs. That’s probably what I’ll end up doing.

Both your previous LPs are pretty personal records, is it ever weird to play those around certain people?

Not really, I think that the majority of the actual situations are vague enough that if the person I was thinking about was there they wouldn’t actually even realize it. It’s either people that would never be at one of my shows or people that would and wouldn’t even know so it’s not really that weird. A lot of these songs at this point, especially the old ones that are more so about people that I might run into, are kind of old enough at that I don’t think about the context when I’m singing them anymore.

I saw you guys during SXSW at Holy Mountain. How do you decide how to play those old acoustic songs, like the American Weekend ones, you translate into the live setting?

I guess it’s mostly me and Keith. He’s like hyper-creative and he’s always coming up with amazing ideas. He would be like, “what if we did ‘American Weekend’ as a heavier jam?” and then we would just try it and we would come up with something. Or he’d be like “what if we made this sound like a twee-pop song?” We just think about the actual melodies and how they would translate. It’s been pretty seamless so far and we’ve abandoned ways that we’ve done them before and changed them for different tours. It’s mostly just because we’re touring so much and we just don’t want to be playing the exact same thing over and over again so we’re trying to change stuff up. We’re doing new versions of some songs on the new record also, like we changed “Lips and Limbs” and “Swan Dive.” We’re just making them more conducive to that live setting I guess.

A lot of them I would like to play solo but it just doesn’t work when you’re on this tour. I’m on tour with two other bands who have their own audiences and they are not interested in hearing quiet music. Those two bands are so high-energy and we’re already sort of more of a lethargic band – just kind of a thing that you have to sit with your thoughts  and quietly take in, you’re not like thrashing around. We just don’t want to invite total boredom.

It’s the same with festivals. I try to not do solo songs because inevitably people are going to talk loud or some people are so impulsive that they can’t help themselves to yell out things…which actually happened last night at our show which really sucked. We were playing a really quiet song and some drunk kid just kept yelling my name over and over again. “KATIE!” I stopped in the middle and said “stop.”

How did he react to that?

I think he was embarrassed, I felt sort of bad but he just kept doing it. Jill who actually runs the label that we’re on, Don Giovanni Records, was standing right beside him so she just escorted him away. He was just really drunk I think.

Anyways we end up changing stuff around just to make it work with the actual setting we’ll be playing in.

Well I look forward to hearing those new versions. That’s all i was planning on asking you really, is there anything you’d like to add?

Where are you guys? I’m sorry I have like 4 interviews today.

We’re in Athens, GA.

Ah, my favorite place that’s great.

Yeah?

Yeah, I love Athens. it’s really close to where i’m from, which is Birmingham, and yeah I love music from there. I’m specifically going through a really heavy R.E.M. worship era of my life so I’m so excited to go there. I actually love the 40 Watt and I’ve never gotten to play there before so it’s just gonna be great.

I actually have the same birthday as Michael Stipe also, January 4th. I wrote a paper on it in high school. It was a paper about birthdays or something. It was really dumb, the assignment. You had to talk about a famous person who has the same birthday as you and I picked him. No one in my class really knew who he was because we were in 9th grade, but it was cool.

Catch Waxahatchee with Screaming Females, Tenement and Grape Soda at the 40 Watt on 9/19!

By: JJ Posway