Social media ‘double-edged’ sword, says band from US

US jazz band House of Waters performed in the city recently

House of Waters incorporate elements of West-African, jazz, psychedelic, indie rock, classical and world music.

As a band, the ‘House of Waters’, resists straitjacketing and shatters boundaries by incorporating elements of West-African, jazz, psychedelic, indie rock, classical and world music in their work.
The band comprises Max ZT, Moto Fukushima and Luke Notary, who describe their music as both complex and easy to enjoy. The band recently performed in Bengaluru as part of the India tour hosted the by the US Mission to India, in association with Teamwork Fine Arts Society. Max ZT, the leader, took time off to talk about the band, their music and more.  

How did you come together as a band?

Everybody knows everybody in New York. All the musicians meet at gigs, sessions or recordings. So eventually you end up striking a musical relationship with all of them. That’s how some of us met. Initially, we were a five-piece band but we decided to stay a trio because it works better that way. 

What’s your latest album ‘House of Waters’ about?

The album ‘House of Waters’ marks the band’s first record for Ground UP. We have been writing and composing music for a long time. We draw influences from around the world and wanted to share our thoughts on this kind of collaboration of cultures. We bring music from South Africa, India, South America and the Middle East, all to one place. The name ‘House of Waters’ comes from the streams of influence coming into one structure. It depicts the fluidity and structure in the music.

How has Shivakumar Sharma influenced you?

Shivji has been a major influence. He is not just a music teacher but a guru. He uses music to teach philosophy and that has been a life-changing impact on my music and who I am. 

Is it a challenge to make original music at a time when musicians can upload their work on social media?

What we see happening on social media is marketing. It has nothing to do with artistry. It’s a very weird skill-set but most musicians, including us, struggle in terms of competitiveness. On social media, everything looks rosy and that everybody is doing amazing stuff. But that can be detrimental to growth because you tend to feel like you aren’t doing as much as they are. It didn’t happen much in the past and you didn’t doubt your value as much, so the situation we have now is a kind of a double-edged sword. It can damage your understanding of the real thing. The only thing to do is to keep at your art because that’s what pays in the end. 

Some requisites for you while creating music.

We focus on the emotion of the music and try to create a feeling. That feeling can actually be felt and heard by the audience. This is something that we focus on while effectively communicating with our audience. 

What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

My parents were great fans of Avant-Garde jazz music. So I was raised on the craziest jazz music. I grew up on a diet of hip-hop, Nirvana, Iron Maiden.  

What’s your next album?

Our next album is yet-to-be-titled but we took only four days to cut it. We spent two days to mix it and two days to record it.
The album reflects the warm relationship and camaraderie the band members share. The hard work that we have put in as a unit has been a major part of our rise in the last few years.

What was the best part of performing in Bengaluru?

We always try to bring in the best of multi-cultural music and sound that we have whenever we perform. The amount of openness that exists in this culture as a whole and in the musical genius here is very rare. People here share a beautiful give and take relationship.

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Social media ‘double-edged’ sword, says band from US

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