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- Posted on Mar 15th 2010 3:15PM by Zack Zoeller
Describe your sound in your own words.
Chandra Watson: Cabaret gospel.
Leigh Watson: Let's see if we can get iTunes to add that as a category.
CW - There's a lot of places that it goes. Coming from the background of singing in church -- that spiritual music was kind of our opening door to singing -- it's a part of us. But growing up we were totally into R&B music like Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston.
LW - And the Go Gos.
CW - Our musical history is so diverse that it's hard to say "that's not a part of me anymore." You're going to see hints of it. Some people call it indie folk and some call it Americana and. yeah, we teeter in both of those worlds, but this record is not an Americana record. At least I don't feel like it is.
LW - Our music has a personality disorder.
When did you start writing music? Did you start writing separately or together?
LW - Chandra started first. We were kind of both starting to learn guitar, but we were mostly playing other people's songs.
CW - I think I wrote my first song at 16.
LW - We used to mess around and write songs just for pure entertainment of our mother. We would sit and play guitar and make songs like "little clay pot, you make me so happy." You know, just bizarro weird songs that were funny. But I know my first song that I wrote – I was a freshman in college, so 18 or 19 years old.
What are your musical influences?
CW - Being from Kentucky you're surrounded by country music and I think we spent a lot of time in our younger years kind of rebelling against that country sound, listening to punk rock and alternative music. Then we moved to L.A. and realized the distance being away from home and realizing that actually that music, there's something that's really personal and it's part of our background and history. As I started to write more and moved away from Kentucky, I think that we allowed that influence back in because it felt really natural and it was part of our roots.
What's the first song you remember singing together?
LW - I think it was 'El Don Gato', the children's song. Senor Don Gato was a cat and he sat on a high tin roof and he was very upset and he had just received a love note. It's weird – some things just don't go away and that song was one of those things.
You originally called yourselves Black Swan. Why did you change your name to the Watson Twins?
CW - We only played a handful of shows under that name. It was at that point that we started working on our first solo EP called 'Southern Manners' and we were also doing shows with Jenny. So at that point, she had decided to call her record Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, and we had only been gigging for a year at that point under the name Black Swan.
LW - It seemed like it was too confusing to have two different names floating around that were basically the same thing.
CW - At that point, the Watson Twins seemed like this folky, country vibe, that was the family name. We rejected that for a long time and I feel like sometimes things present themselves to you and you're like "okay, we've been fighting this for the last few years and it's not going to go away because everyone that we sing with knows us as the Watson Twins." The universe was saying "you're the Watson Twins, and that's that."
What's your biggest vice?
LW - Sleep. It can be a vice in a way because you're not very productive, but it's definitely a crutch. Whenever I'm stressed or feeling totally overwhelmed – it's something that I definitely have to keep in check.
Do you remember your dreams?
LW - I usually have pretty vivid dreams. We had done 'Morning Becomes Eclectic' on KCRW yesterday and our friend Rachel [Stolte], who is in a band called Great Northern, was singing backup vocals with us. She was in my dream and we were at a hotel hanging out and we were in the swimming pool. Then this woman decided that she was going to blow up the hotel – I don't know where this came from. She had taken these two t-shirts and sopped them with gasoline and proceeded to light them on fire. We ran away and we were afraid they would think we were the ones trying to blow the hotel up. I know it's bizarre, but that was the dream I had last night.
CW - Very bizarre, Leigh. (Laughs)
What's in your festival survival kit?
CW - Earplugs, very dark sunglasses, Emergen-C, and maybe a bottle of Aleve too.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
CW - We're covering a Sade song, so that's our most recent guilty pleasure. We've been getting down with some Sade. She looks exactly the same as she did 10 years ago and it looks like she's been frozen in time.
LW - I'm starting to think that they just take different people and do plastic surgery on them and they turn them into the new Sade.
Beatles or Stones?
CW - Rolling Stones.
LW - Stones.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
CW - Detroit. We were loading into a show and Leigh saw a guy...
LW - (Interrupts) Let me tell the story! So we're loading into the Majestic, and there was no dressing room. I'm changing clothes in the van, and I look out the window and there's a homeless person who's lost his mind who is lighting pieces of paper on fire and throwing them at people. Literally people are walking down the street and he's throwing these fireballs at them. Then I look in the other direction and here comes a tricycle with a giant dude with dreads carrying a humongous snake wrapped around him. I'm freaking out about that and I turn around and the building next to the venue is on fire.
CW - Welcome to Detroit!
LW - I was like "Armageddon is here and I'm going to go down in Detroit."
Zack Zoeller is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.