Artist Name: Watercolors
Song Title: Habits (Stay High)
An immersive blend of indie-pop, driving beats and electronic influences, Watercolours are a Bristol-based band consisting of vocalist/guitarist Conal Kelly, bassist/keyboardist Matt Sharlot and keyboardist Hamish Woolley.
Having met at university, the trio began making music together blending electronics with glistening guitar riffs and syncopated rhythms.
The listener is enveloped in a world of tropical atmospheres and space-age sonics, where clipped beats collide with glassy guitars.
Self-produced by frontman Conal Kelly, the group create arrangements collaboratively, often being compared to bands such as Foals, Glass Animals, and Beach House.
With high praise from BBC Introducing, including a live session on air and a wide array of reviews online, the band increasingly gaining attention in the South West.
Ahead of their debut EP (planned for release this summer), the trio is currently on a spring tour, including a date at DeMontfort Hall – supporting Marillion – after impressing crowds at their previous support slot in Bristol last year.
Tell us what your fans are saying about your music.
Conal: We tend to get a lot of people to comment on how ‘interesting’ it sounds? Like the layers in the music, which I think is a really cool thing because it means people are really listening, which is nice!
Hamish: I think people appreciate some of the intricacies and complexities which go into some of our songs, while still being fairly consumable easy to listen to, which we love!
Tell us the factors you consider in choosing a song as your favorite.
Conal: A great melodic hook, that’s the main thing for me! And possibly creative production decisions, stuff I haven’t heard much before.
Hamish: I always appreciate the groove, solid bass line and drum pattern are always a winner.
Tell us the names of producers you will collaborate with if you have the chance.
Conal: Dan Lancaster (for his choppy, modern rock style of production) or Kevin Parker, because everybody loves Kevin Parker.
Tell us the names of the songwriters you will collaborate with if you have the chance.
Conal: There’s an artist from London called Polly Money who is a fantastic songwriter and it’d be great to do something with her! As far as huge songwriters go, it’d be fascinating to write a song with Flume I think, even though he’s more of a producer.
Hamish: If it could be anybody, I’d have to go with James Blake. The guy is a genius! His style is so unique and I feel we’d learn endless amounts during the process.
Tell us your favorite TV show and state your reason.
Conal: Black Mirror – it gets you thinking and freaks you out a little… a great combo!
Hamish: Tend not to watch too much TV; I don’t have the attention span! I prefer YouTube short documentaries!
Matt: Alan Partridge.
Tell us your best mood to create a song.
Matt: Excited – by something which has recently inspired me, be that musical or not.
Tell us your interpretation of fame or success.
Matt: Having a fan base coming to your shows and knowing the words. And when I buy my own bed.
Hamish: Getting endorsed by Ikea, with a lifelong supply of free plants.
Tell us the names of artists you will collaborate with if you have the chance.
Matt: We recently collaborated with our mates in Treehaus which was a load of fun. There are loads of great up-and-coming artists in the South West so it’d be great to work with them and bounce ideas off one another.
Tell us about your experience performing on stage for the first time or recording in the studio for the first time.
Conal: I used to hate singing, so I was just a guitarist for years… my first experience on a stage was terrifying, but nothing beats the buzz!
Hamish: I used to perform in school events growing up, coincidentally at Colston Hall in Bristol where we supported Marillion last year. The band was my first collaborative experience though and it’s been a blast. Nothing beats having your mates on stage with you!
Tell us how you approach songwriting.
Conal: Tends to be largely based around the production/ recording element of it, rather than sitting down with chords and lyrics!
Hamish: I often find melodies or rhythms come to my head while I’m driving, so I try to record hum’s and mumbles before the idea slips away and learn them on piano afterward!
Tell us your opinion on blending genres or experimenting with sound.
Conal: Love it, all for it. The best way to make something new is to blend what has already been created in a new way.
Hamish: Live for it. If somebody tells you a rule, break it. That’s the only thing to move things forward.
Tell us how you deal with rejection.
Conal: Very deep question. In typical musician style… write a song about it.
Hamish: Reflect, assess why, and then channel it as motivation to improve.
Elaborate on what compels you to sing.
Conal: I like to sing about looking inwards a lot. Lots of lyricists sing about politics and other things going on in the world, I like to sing about what goes on in someone’s head and how they feel.
Tell us the comparison between digital recording and analog recording.
Matt: I find digital much more flexible and malleable, but recording with analog synthesizers straight to audio helps you move forward with the track and adds another opportunity to craft the sound more by playing with the audio file.
Hamish: I always prefer analog. I feel a lot more inspired when I can be more tactile and hands-on with my equipment, though digital is limitless, so I’m all for recording analog and manipulating digitally to create something completely different from the original.
Tell us how you record your vocals.
Conal: In my room, in a chair, relaxing and taking as much time as I need to get it right… on my own, of course.
Tell us the software you used mostly for recording.
Conal: Tends to be Logic Pro X.
Discuss the selling of CDs and the selling of digital files through digital stores.
Matt: We like the idea of selling physical CDs at gigs because it makes us feel a lot more connected with our audience and gives them something tangible to associate us with. Streaming and digital sales are obviously a lot more convenient and it’s a great opportunity to reach a wider audience, but it’s a lot less personal.
Elaborate on the song.
Matt: This is the first cover we’ve released and the third track as a band. We had been playing the song live for a while and over time it gradually developed into something we were really excited to record and release!
Hamish: I think it’s about time the world knew Conal picks up daddies in the playground…
Elaborate on your artist name and the title of the album.
Matt: When we first started the band, we came up with tonnes of names but Watercolours stuck – probably because it’s one word. I thought of it because I was imagining our music accompanied by literal colored water, but in reality, it just sounds nice.