Written by: Alexandria Smith, Special to CC2K
So last week you read the awesome review of Super Water Sympathy’s newest album Hydrogen Child. Are you ready to fall even more in love with them? Are you sure? Ansly Hughes was awesome enough to answer some questions for us. Okay, so go, fall in love.
Tell me about yourselves. Who is Super Water Sympathy and how did you start?
I’ll try to make this short and to-the-point. 🙂 The only member of our band I knew personally before the band started was Ryan Robinson (drummer). Billy and Clyde Hargrove knew each other, obviously, since they came from the same womb, although Clyde has never admitted to being born a human. He says one day he just “was”, haha. Jason and Clyde were pals growing up. And I’m pretty sure Ryan didn’t really know any of them well. Although he says he did have lunch with Clyde once at Tacomania.
Clyde and Billy used to be in a band together called The Sidewalks. Billy played rhythm guitar, I think, and Clyde played lead guitar. Billy had to quit because of school (he’s the responsible one). The band then added a new member and changed their name to The Terms. Once everyone from that project parted ways, Clyde went on about his business… A few years later he and Billy decided they wanted to give the band thing another shot.
Ryan was recommended by their cousin, as was I. At the time I was working professionally doing outdoor theatre in North Carolina. Clyde called me and asked if I wanted to come sing with them, and I said, sure, why not? The day after I got back from North Carolina, we had our first “jam session”. It was August 16, 2010. It wasn’t until about our third practice when I realized we had something unique. I didn’t know if it was good, necessarily, but I knew it was definitely different. Jason joined the band about a month after that. His pads really glued our sound together.
Now when we practice, we cover ourselves in blue body paint and warm up by mimicking native birds of the Cayman Islands.
What is the water pop genre and where did it come from, considering that it is a self made genre?
One of the hardest questions to answer is when people ask us what kind of music we play… because, well, we don’t really know. So one day we decided to come up with a genre. Something we could say, other than Billy’s famous, “We’re a mix between Marilyn Manson and Taylor Swift,” response. So we came up with “water pop”. First of all, it has a great ring to it. Second of all, I like to think it represents the fluidity of our sound. And coincidently, one day we realized every one of our songs on our freshman album (Vesper Belle) had some sort of reference to water, whether it be a waterfall or a tear drop. We like water. Bodies of water are great visual images… and considering we tend to focus more on painting pictures in people’s minds with our lyrics, rather than always trying to make perfect lyrical sense, it fits.
Do you feel as though this band offers something entirely different from other bands that are on labels now, and what is that?
I sure hope so! I’m not one to boast, so that’s all I’m going to say about that. If we don’t have something different, how will we ever create any kind of longevity? If you do what every other band that’s hot is doing, you’ll fizzle out, and nobody wants that to happen, right?
Also I’m the only person in the band with tattoos.
I noticed that Hydrogen Child is your second album. Is there any special story behind the title? What do you think makes it so different from your first album Vesper Belle?
I think the title Hydrogen Child represents a new type of organism being put out into the world. I like to think of the band as a living, breathing thing, as well as any song or album we come out with. Also Clyde started talking about “Hydrogen Child X” on our last major tour for some reason… I don’t know what that means, but then again, no one ever really knows exactly what Clyde means. He’s 80% genius and 20% insane.
I think the major difference between Vesper Belle and Hydrogen Child is how much our songwriting abilities as a band have grown. We were writing Vesper Belle songs as we were recording them. Literally throwing lyrics and melodies in there, not really thinking about them much. We wrote the entirety of Hydrogen Child before we went into the studio (sans the track entitled Magnolia Parade). We picked apart every word, every melody. Maybe even a little too much! The point is, we had more than enough time to prepare, and essentially, we ended up with a twelve song album in five weeks.
What about the track listings and lyrics? Do you take your inspiration from daily life or is each song simply creatively imaginative. What is the most memorable story and why?
Every song has a “concept”, if you will. Like, “This song is about breaking up,” or “This song is about time travel.” But Those concepts may or may not be from a direct experience. I will say, the most moving songs are typically from a direct experience. It’s harder to write about things you haven’t experienced first-hand. Those tend to come out much more imaginative and not so straight-forward. I think that’s all I’m gonna say. Sometimes I tend to give too much away and I get a little dictative. I don’t want to make someone think they should feel a certain way when they listen to a certain song… I would very much like for the listener to develop their own story.
The most memorable story is from a song we wrote called Pipe Dream. One time, Jason got lost in the droopy forest of Croatoan. He wandered there for weeks, making tents out of banana leaves and the skins of the native creatures he hunted there. Right as the rest of the band was about to set out on our quest to find Jason, a purple sea hawk (very rare) delivered a tiny satin scroll straight to the palms of Ryan’s hands. The message read “Jason is king of Croatoan”, and even though we found him and convinced him it was time to leave this magnificent place, he still day dreams about crystalyn spheres and singing whales. And he keeps his hair long because it has magical powers, and he will lose them if he cuts it (like in that movie, Tangled).
Tell me about your music videos. I noticed that the music video for your single Uh Oh! was shot in a single sequence and contains a lot of wild imagery. What was it like doing this shoot? It looks amazing!
HA! CHAOS! COMPLETE AND UTTER CHAOS!!!! No, but seriously, it was insane. I was absolutely shocked to see the final product. It looks so smooth and seamless. We did it in about eight to ten takes. Each take was about a minute and 45 seconds because they sped up the song, to create the slow-mo effect later. It was raining, and for some reason, FREEZING. Those poor purple children, man. God, they were miserable, and still somehow they were well-behaved. Each take was filled with directions being yelled like “KIDS! RUN!” and “LATINO BUSINESS PEOPLE! GO!”. So insane. It was a blast. We had pizza, too.
What would you say that your message to the fans would be by creating the music that you do?
Our message to the fans? How about, “Hey, thanks for being fans. We love you.”
What do you hope that listeners take away from their interaction with the bands by listening and interacting with you as you have started touring extensively?
Honestly, I hope that they think we’re nice people that play music that they want to hear over and over again. That’s what I hope. I just want them to walk away from a show going, “Wow. What a nice group of people. And the music isn’t half bad either.” 🙂 And hopefully have an album in their hands when they leave. I want to be good enough to where when people go home, they not only want to continue to listen to us and follow us, but to also show our album to at least one other person.. because even sequoia trees start as tiny, tiny seeds.
I also want them to feel like they just got finished floating down a river into a warm spring, filled with botanical oils and bath crystals.
Speaking of touring, what was it like touring on the Vans’ Warped Tour? How did it make you feel, knowing that you were going to be touring with some of the biggest bands in alternative rock in one of the most highly anticipated summer concert series of the year?
It was surreal, honestly. Taking Back Sunday has been making me cry since I was about thirteen. I freaked out when I heard they were on. And then you have The Used, New Found Glory, Yellow Card, Anti Flag, and so many others. Warped tour is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We did it all ourselves, so we didn’t really get to stick around and socialize and have a beer or two, or eight. We were all work and no play for the most part. It was a super eye-opening experience and we were so fortunate to be a part of it. So exhausting, and so rewarding.
What would you consider to be the best and worst parts about touring?
Personally, I am a very family oriented person. My family, my boyfriend and my dog keep me grounded most of the time. So it can get a little rough being away for long periods of time.. but honestly, I wouldn’t rather be on the road with anyone else. We are all very laid back. We get a little stir crazy at times from riding/sleeping six-deep in our RV.. but even though I get homesick, I am constantly reminded that I wouldn’t be fulfilled doing anything else.
Oh, also, when our septic tank starts getting full, the absolute, most rancid smell happens. I mean, it smells like old Greek food or something. It’s indescribable, really. But if you’re sleeping and it hits you, you are awake. It is that bad.
The best part is when we accidentally go through a hidden time portal while traveling down the highway. That’s only happened about three and a half times, but Clyde met Chris Farley once and they had a blast drinking and eating tacos.
What do you enjoy the most about making this very different yet very catchy style of music?
First off, thanks!
We have absolutely no limitations. We don’t have someone telling us what to write or how to write. We make all the calls and we write every word. It is so liberating to be able to just create with an open mind. We haven’t even really figured out what sound we are going for because we are constantly exploring. We’ve already started brainstorming for our third album, and Hydrogen Child, as you probably know, isn’t even out yet.
Is there anything that you’d like new listeners to know about you and your music?
I think it’s safe to say we just want them to be exactly that : listeners.