SXSW Interview: The Black Watch

Long have I loved the Black Watch, and this year, they venture towards our neck of the woods to perform during SXSW, so I reached out to John to see if he could spare a minute to answer our questions…and, lukcily, he obliged. Below you’ll find his responses and a the latest single!

ATH: What’s the name of the band/group? Where are you from?

JAF: The Black Watch are from Los Angeles by way of Santa Barbara, California.

ATH: Describe your groups sound.

JAF: We’re sort of orange-ish in a John Lennon-to-George Martin way, as in “Make it sound like an orange.” Acid-y without having ever tried LSD. We like a melange of fuzzy and jangly Epiphone Casinos and Jazzmasters–and very sweet melodies with tart lyrics and very few bridges (those are for architects!).

ATH:What was your most recent release? Any planned releases from 2019?

JAF: Our Witches! LP came out in 2018 on I described it as “Syd Barrett joins New Order.” We have a new brand new single called “Julie” that’s a nice surprise, I think. We have so much music coming in 2019 from ATOM Records. Not sure if I’m supposed to talk about it yet but there’s a new LP called Magic Johnson, and no less than three other releases that I’ll wait for the label to announce! I will tell you that we are nearly done with the follow-up to the follow-up to Witches!Very exciting. Very.

ATH: For most SXSW sets, you get 30 minutes to leave a lasting impression. Whats your plan of attack? You have a set list mapped out yet?

JAF: I have two set-lists set: one that starts dark and ends light, one that’s the reverse of that. We can work it out.

ATH: Lets say your band has been booked an official showcase at a pop up venue somewhere in the middle of 6th street. The lineup features thrash metal, hip-hop, spoken word, and you. The sound is horrible, the lineup is not your style, and the crowd seems angry at the world. How would your band deal with such a situation?

JAF: What are you, Nathan–a clairvoyant? Or did you see our calamitous showcase in 2016? We soldiered through on the worst equipment imaginable. In the old days–harken to this, you callow new bands–bands helped each other and shared equipment!

ATH: There are tons of bands coming into town. Of the 1000+ bands coming into town, who would you ideally like to play with. What band friends will be here?

JAF: We’re friends with The Chills; Martin is a swell fellow. Happy to see them up and running again.

ATH: What has everyone in the band been listening to, or, what plays in the tour van/car/bus?

JAF: Broadcast is a recent discovery–obviously we don’t keep up much! The new Spiritualized record floated our space for a while. The first five LP’s by Echo and the Bunnymen are never not to-hand. I am quite excited by the new Swervedriver. Our other guitarist Andy Creighton has a very fine band called The World Record; they’re immense–check them out.

ATH: Describe your perfect festival, real or not? Whos headlining? Wheres it take place? Etc.

JAF: The dream festival would be in Santa Barbara, and it’d take place in 1988 (seeing as time doesn’t exist, you know): the black watch, XTC, The Cure, The Jean Paul Sartre Experience, My Bloody Valentine, Talk Talk,and Tears for Fears (acoustic). Hahaha.

ATH: Whats on the bands rider? If were bringing you food and booze, what can we bring you?

JAF: A nice cup of tea will do us fine these days. A Flat White coffee to start the day, though. Old chum and writer friend Michael Toland and I shared some bacon-wrapped chicken from a truck that blew my mind last time we played Austin. Find that for us, if you would be so kind? It was near a cool record store where we had an in-store. Haha. Good luck!

ATH: The band gets to create their own taco pop-up shop at SXSW? Whats the name, and what sort of tacos will you have? Any sides?

JAF: The Blackened Watch is the pop-up taco stand. Heaps of nice fish, blackened of course. With a side of tambourine, silky as creamed corn.

The Black Watch have a set on Wednesday, March 13th @ Hole in the Wall

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