Nick Waterhouse Unveils New Material at KCRW Apogee Session

Dustin Downing
Nick Waterhouse

The L.A. soul rocker's self-titled album is out March 8.

Musician and producer Nick Waterhouse previewed tracks from his upcoming self-titled album during a recorded session at Apogee Studios in Santa Monica, California, for local public radio member station KCRW last week. 

“I think it is really cool to just dance and have fun to records. That’s what they are for,” Waterhouse told KCRW DJ Anne Litt about his fourth studio album, which will be released March 8. 

“After it was all done, I realized that it was probably telling the strongest story about my own motives and perspectives,” Waterhouse said about naming the album after himself. “I had a very intelligent friend tell me yesterday that she felt like it was like the closest to having a conversation with me of all the records I’ve made.”

During the session, Waterhouse performed his lead single “Song for Winners” and follow up “Wreck the Rod.” While both tracks dazzle with Waterhouse’s impressive brass section (Mike Rocha, Ron Dziubla and Mando Dorame) and the 1950s R&B stylings the California-native is known for, “Wreck the Rod” stems from a conversation with “Soul Queen of New Orleans” Irma Thomas. The two had discussed the pitfalls of being a musician in today’s industry and surviving through it.

“I think it is a lot easier to relate to something that recorded in 1955 than a track that was ghost written by 20 different people,” Waterhouse said between previewing his new material and tracks from his first three albums.

Off the upcoming release, Waterhouse also performed “Which Was Writ” that begins with a seductive brass line, danceable tunes “Black Glass” and “Man Leaves Town” and album closer “Wherever She Goes (She is Wanted).”

When asked how a young man from a beachside city in Southern California got into music from the 1950s and 1960s, Waterhouse explained “I grew up around a lot of interesting people. My father was an Anaheim firefighter. Those guys played a lot of really great music that wasn’t Sublime and [local rock radio station] KROQ. I didn’t really choose it. It just occurred that way.”

The new album being released via Innovative Leisure was produced by Paul Butler, who has worked with Michael Kiwanuka and St. Paul & the Broken Bones. With Waterhouse having served as producer for artists such as Allah-Las, Litt inquired why he hired someone else to produce his own material.

“I needed an empath to make a bigger thing, because I am hard on myself and I have a lot of blind spots about myself,” said Waterhouse. Paul [Butler] was really talented and he filled in all the cracks and brought all these skills that I don’t have at all.”

“Part of why I play music is because I didn’t like alpha competition hierarchies,” Waterhouse added. “Being a producer is about being incredibly empathetic to the person that you’re working with, but also comprehending that when you’re in solidarity with them you guys are much stronger together.”

A full broadcast of Apogee Sessions featuring Nick Waterhouse will air on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic show on March 8.

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