Nick Waterhouse is the New Breed – An R&B fanatic who combines an uncanny old-school sensibility with a charged, contemporary style. At just 25, He joins the ranks of a growing cabale of similar acts and producers of recent times – Mark Ronson, Mayer Hawthorne, the Daptone Crew et al – that are all moving forward into the past, yet all quite different. For Waterhouse, his muse is the over-modulated sound of vintage R&B, and his take on such a time-honored tradition evokes the back-alley thrill of New Orleans, Detroit and Memphis in their heyday. He combines an astute attention to detail with an honest desire to match the emotional impact of the music that inspires him.
When asked to pinpoint the sound or style he strives for, Nick Waterhouse simply shrugs and responds, “American music. And I know that’s pretty general, but it is what it is. I have spent so much of my life immersed in this stuff, because I wanted to figure it out, [yet] all I figured out was that there was no plan.” In other words, whatever musical style Nick may choose to espouse, it’s not done because someone else did it, but done for the same reason someone else did it. “To me, [the music I play] is not a ‘type’ of music,” he emphasizes; “it IS music. The records I listen to ARE music. A record is a moment in time, and something recorded in 1955 is the same as something recorded in 2010.” Growing up in the Southern California, Waterhouse eschewed his surroundings and found emotional authenticity in the vintage wax of Ray Charles, Roy Head, Little Willie John and the whole panoply of American music, where feel so often trumps technique. After the sold out release of his own self-produced 45, the raunchy ‘Some Place’, and a string of exciting shows with his live group The Tarots, Nick went to work on his forthcoming full-length for Innovative Leisure – continuing an undeniably raw and rhythmic take on American music.
His approach to production – entirely vintage analog equipment, open-reel tape machines, lacquer cutting machines, and even hand letter-pressed labels – has left a few fans wondering where and when he comes from; Long-lost deadstock Rhythm & Blues artifact? White or Black? New or old? It’s a fitting recall to the days of early Rock & Roll, when rhythms crossed the tracks and no-one was quite sure WHAT or WHO this music was. As LA Record bears witness, “You’ve gotta be one kind of maniac to produce like this, and a whole other kind to shout like this, and an even more frightening kind to make the first two maniacs work together. Nick pulling this all off simultaneously means preternatural powers in play”