Local Americana/soul band The Watters seeks renewal with new LP

Chris Duncan

Editor's note: This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

After six releases under a different name, Jenna and Daniel Watters hit the reset button and planned a move to California in 2015 only to end up in Austin instead. Now, after writing and recording their debut LP under their new band name The Watters, they’re ready to make their impact on the city. The Daily Texan spoke to Jenna and Daniel about changing their band name, deciding to stay in Austin, and recording the new album, Great Unknown.

The Daily Texan: Before you formed The Watters, you guys toured as The Oak Creek Band for several albums. Any specific reason you chose to go by another name?

Jenna Watters: When we started that band about seven years ago in Denver, we toured and played under that name. When we went to Nashville, the band was split up, and once we moved to Austin we decided to change our name. We were also shoehorned into a specific genre with that name, Oak Creek. People always thought we were a bluegrass band, and we got tired of explaining that we were a high energy rock band.

DT: The plan was originally to go to California, but you ended up staying in Austin. Why?

JW: When we were leaving Nashville with all of our stuff, we were planning on going straight to California, but one of my good friends had just moved to Austin, so I thought to come down and take an extra day trip to see her. When we got here, we were amazed and wondered why we didn’t live here. So we spent the week here checking out places and made the decision to not move to California and stay in Austin.

DT: What was it that pulled you in during that visit?

JW: The music scene was definitely a factor. When we first got here, our friend took us to the Continental Club, and there was definitely a certain energy here. We love a lot of other things about the city, but music was the main motivation to stay.

DT: For your new album, you recorded live to tape. Was that an important factor for you?

Daniel Watters: Definitely, we’ve done a bunch of records before this with overdubbing and such. For years, people have been telling us that they love seeing us live, and they would always tell us our records didn’t have that same energy. So we tried to capture that in this record a bit. Instead of creating a sound with this one, we wanted to capture a sound. We had everything ready and just went into the studio and threw it down.

DT: So it didn’t take too long to record the album then?

DW: Not really, there were around three days when we did all of the rhythm live, and then a month later, we got the horns and vocals shortly after. So about eight or nine days total over a month and a half.

DT: What’s the importance of “the great unknown” to the band?

DW: We lived in numerous different cities playing music to a lot of random people. You never really know where you’re going to end up or what’s going to happen. You just have to dive into the uncertain and enjoy whatever the outcome may be. With something like the move, it turned out it was a good move for us. Doors have opened for us, and we’ve had a great time here.

DT: Why are you hosting such a large album release show on July 2 at the Mohawk?

DW: We’ve been building up to this release show for a while now, getting this band together and putting on a spectacle. It’s 10 years in the making, and it’s going to be super special for us. And it’s in the best-selling room in Austin, so it should be great.