One listen through Waters' "It All Might Be OK" EP will tell you that band creator Van Pierszalowski (vocals/guitar) grew up listening to acts like Green Day, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer. A second listen will tell you that Pierszalowski and his bandmates are competing with the past -- the alternative-rock titans of the '90s -- and they're doing a pretty damn good job so far.
The son of a commercial salmon fisherman, Pierszalowski spent the summers of his childhood in Alaska, even joining his father on his boat during a few years. A life built around the sea, the former frontman of Port O'Brien wanted his new band to maintain the nautical theme, but with a little less definition. Waters was about as broad and to the point as it could get.
Tapping back into the sound that made Pierszalowski want to pick up a guitar in the first place, the band's four-track EP is a quick punch to the gut, leaving little breathing room in the midst of perpetually building fuzzy riffs and "I'm-about-to-raise-my-voice" vocal hikes. And even though "It All Might Be OK" is far from the most reassuring title, that's just how life goes sometimes Pierszalowski explains.
“Sometimes I listen to happy music, but most of the time, it's been more reassuring and interesting to listen to music with your headphones on and it’s kind of dark and about going through some tough shit," Pierszalowski said. "So, you know, 'It All Might Be OK,' you can look at that a couple of ways. It isn’t very reassuring, but it also isn’t completely resigned either. A lot of these songs are about going through hard times with relationships and friends and then finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and thinking, ‘You know what, it might be okay.’ Maybe not, too, but at least it might be, and that’s when you know you are on the path."
But that doesn't mean that the band or their music is anything short of fun. In the video for EP opener, "Got To My Head," Waters takes listeners back to their childhood bedroom, a time when interests and the mind-state physically manifested themselves into a potpourri of trinkets and posters that covered every surface. Splicing clips of the band performing with random characters like a devil and a panda, what began as innocent jumps on the bed devolves into an all-out pillow fight and the ultimate destruction of the mattress.
“Jumping on beds is surprisingly incredibly tiring," Pierszalowski said with a chuckle. "By the end of it I was like, 'Oh my …’ Maybe when I was 12 I could do this, but not now.”
On their follow-up video for "I Feel Everything," things got even weirder. A track about a relationship that starts to exist in extremes, the participants becoming addicted to that rush and let it ride on for too long, the video is single-shot set at a grungy motel just outside of Los Angeles. Pierszalowski moves from room to room, ensnaring himself in the oddities of its occupants, ending up in a dress with a wig and some messy lipstick.
Having concluded a brief stint on the road with Tegan and Sara, Waters recently put the final touches on their Vagrant Records debut album, which is expected in Spring 2015.
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