We spent some time catching up with Watermark High. He’s just released a new EP, For Good, which you need to check out.
You need to know that you’re still one of our favourite electronic music artists. We think you’re one of the most innovative too. We’ve been stalking your sound development over the past three years. Can you talk to us about how you pushed your music along in this time and what kind of influences you looked to include in it?
Oh wow, thank you so much. Awesome to hear that you guys are listening! I’ve basically just been making as much music as possible, with the time that I’ve had available between work and life. I’m self-taught so I’ve just been figuring everything out as I go, since 2012. I deliberately wanted to push myself to finish small collections of songs (EPs) regularly, to just get better. At the same time I also tried to learn from my influences but to find my own sound and to consciously work towards not being easy to pigeonhole. It’s been tough, but fun.
We sometimes think that your sound is so evolved that the South African music climate does not fully appreciate it. We bet that you’d have much greater success internationally; musicians like Spoek Mathambo fall into this region. Have you thought about focussing on international endeavours?
It’s weird, a couple of people have said that to me recently and I honestly don’t know. I have very little perspective on my music and how other people see it, because I’m so involved with it in all aspects. I have gotten some really good responses from overseas and it definitely does feel like they “get it” more than the local crowd. Why? I’m not sure. I would obviously love to pursue international ears but without some help or “connections”, I’m not sure if it’s all that feasible at this point, but I’m definitely aiming towards the overseas in the long term. I’ll go wherever they want to listen.
How you managed to stay true to your sound and not get influenced by the “here and now”/popular sounds?
I’ve never really been into the faddy stuff to begin with, so I guess that helps. I mean, I’ve had some fun with incorprating elements of popular genres into my stuff here and there, but it’s not important to me. I’ve also looked at the handful of guys that I revere and that I’m highly influenced by and noticed that they all don’t really give a shit about what’s cool right now and they are all extremely hard to put in a single box, which I find really inspiring. Think of guys like Lapalux or Four Tet, Shigeto, Bonobo, Gold Panda, Clark etc. Some of them have had healthy, long careers with vastly different sounding albums, but still their own disctinct personality and I think that can only come with pursuing your own sound and ignoring any outside pressure. And it obviously takes time. I’ve only put in 3 and a half years so far, I have quite a way to go…
Tell us about your latest EP, For Good. What was it like making it and how has it been received?
This latest collection of songs were made on and off over the course of about a year. I wrote half the stuff last year and the other half early this year. I tried some different things, like my first four-to-the-floor type beat, “Marrow Deep” but still predominantly stuck to a downtempo/instrumental hip-hop vibe, in a general sense. It’s similar to some of my previous work, but just more refined I think. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I’m stoked with it and the people who do “get it” have really enjoyed it from what I’ve heard, so yeah. It’s been good. It is what it is.
We’ve noticed and interesting trend of an EP release per year. What are your plans for the rest of the year and 2016?
I’ve been very focused on production this year so that’s probably going to continue. I started working on a new live execution and I might play some shows again later in the year, but I’m really enjoying the studio this year, so I think I’m going to keep pushing that for now. I’m not exactly sure what I’m working on, but I just want to keep on working. To be kept up to date, I’d suggest signing up to my mailing list (which I only spam every 2 or 3 months) via my website – As soon as I know what’s going on, you’ll also know, but more music is coming…