I'd like to welcome Louisiana rockers, Super Water Sympathy to the PUMP Sessions Interview Series. Thanks for taking time out of your busy tour to share your music and thoughts with my readers.
Hey gang, thank you so much for the interview. Please introduce yourselves.
Ansley Hughes – Singer
Ryan Robinson – Drums
Clyde Hargrove – Guitar
Billy Hargrove – Bass
Jason Mills - Keys
How did you all meet? And where did you come up with the band’s name?
"My brother, Clyde, and I decided to try one more to form a band. We were in a band in college together at LSU in Baton Rouge. It had been a good 5 years since that project came to a close. I played guitar in past bands but started working on getting use to the bass as my brother would resume role as lead guitarists. We decided that if we do this...We MUST have a female singer to make it different and interesting since all prior bands we were in had male vocals.
Clyde and I in the meantime found a family friend, Ryan Robinson, (who was doing his solo project as a singer songwriter, to play drums. The three of us practiced and wrote for about two months on and off while going through female singers that either turned us down or were just not a good fit. It got to the point where Clyde was saying he'll just sing out of desperation of getting this thing to move forward. It was then that night, that our cousin told about a girl that he remembers from his highschool that was always singing and putting up Youtube videos. So we checked out here videos and stalked her on Facebook. We loved her vocals and then saw a picture of her with a snake on her head and we knew this was the girl. We messaged her that night and the rest is history..." -Billy
The name was created by accident when writing the words to "Spain".The night before our writing session, Ansley had a lucid dream, and she said she woke up ranting an endless waterfall from the Pyrenees cascading into the Iberian valleys of Spain. She said she had super water sympathy, and she needed it too. Hence, the song, "Spain", is about having respect for water and getting out of our materialistic bodies. This is what Super Water Sympathy is about. -Billy
I first introduced myself this past spring and PUMP Merch ended up producing your merchandise for the 2012 WARPED Tour. You played in front of tour founder Kevin Lyman in Atlanta and he selected the band personally. How did that come about?
So glad you introduced yourself, everyone should use PUMPMerch, such great respect for your company! We got fortunate enough to play in front of Kevin in September of 2011 at Driven Music Conference in Atlanta, GA where we were allowed to play one song after being accepted. I’m not quite sure what sets us apart. We try to indulge into being ourselves and nothing else and portraying our music in a cryptic way. -Billy
WARPED is definitely one of the biggest and most influential rock tours in the world. How was the tour and what were some highlights as a band?
The tour is one of the most amazing operations we have ever seen run. The amount of work that goes into setting each show up everyday in a new location and have everything workout is an amazing thing to see.
One of the highlights was seeing Kevin Lyman almost everyday walk among the crowd, making sure everything is running smoothly…We even saw him pick up trash and greet people walking through the gate. Those little acts of working hard and kindness show why the Van’s Warped Tour is so successful and will last well beyond us, THANK YOU KEVIN LYMAN! -Ryan
SWS seems to be on the road half the year. What kind of vehicle do you travel in and how does the band pass the long hours on the road?
Yes we are independent so we are determined to keep sharing our music with the world forever. We drive in a 32’ RV and play the keyboard and write songs, listen to bands cd’s that we played with the night before, and talk about how we would like to one day have a concert on another galaxy system. -Clyde
Your new album is a very impressive collection of songs. Working with Cam Blackwood (Coldplay, We Are Scientists, Florence & The Machine) in London must have been a special experience. How did that partnership come to fruition?
We were trying to find a producer that had past projects that related to our sound. We were mainly looking for someone that knew how to handle heavy synth and eery sounds mixed with powerful vocals. We researched a bunch that were not just in England. We talked to others, but Cam seemed to just feel right and he was super cool right away. It has been a perfect match and we couldn't be happier that this whole process has worked out so well.-Ansley
How long were you in London recording? And did you get a chance to explore the city?
We were in London for 5 weeks. We went to the zoo, Buckingham Palace, Natural History Museum, and two concerts with Cam. One of the most fun things we were able to do was actually book a gig there and say that we have now played in Europe!-Ansley
Congratulations on inking a publishing deal with Warner-Chappell and having a song on the hit B.O.B. record. What has your experience with music industry insiders been like thus far?
Honestly we have found out more than we would have liked to…There are so many things going on behind the scenes that the general public is not aware and we were not aware of up until a few months ago. It’s hardwork, but very rewarding. If we can survive in this underground music industty, then we can further our band financially without outside help. That is our ultimate goal, stay independent as long as possible. -Ansley
SWS is quite the DIY act. What advice do you offer to other musicians trying to make it out there in this ever-changing music business?
Don’t expect things to just happen. You have to work your ass off to be lucky. –Super Water Sympathy
Super Water Sympathy - "Uh Oh!"
The video for “Uh Oh!” is really fun and quite a trip. Who came up with the concept for the film? And where did you shoot it?
Ryan our drummer did. His goal was to do it all in one shot and to have a strong replay value to it so it help with Youtube views and fan reach! -Billy
We shot in our hometown of Shreveport, LA on the Red River. We were pretty worried that day, because it was pouring rain the whole morning with terrible wind. Luckily our video was perfect for the circumstances and had a great turn out with the extras. -Billy
I understand that you book your own tours. Artists often cite that as the most difficult aspect of DIY touring. How do you choose what cities you want to play and what room you want to perform in?
Yes it can be a very stressful thing, especially at first when bookers have never heard of you. We are able to book the exact place and room we want throughout the south and the larger markets like NY and LA. It is the mid-America that seems to be our toughest region right now. -Clyde
The band is performing a CMJ showcase Thursday night at one of my favorite clubs in New York, Bowery Electric. Is this your first CMJ Music Marathon?
Yes we love Bowery and Diane! She was so kind to us on our last show there and she was even more kind to give us this showcase spot. This is our first time at CMJ Music Marathon, so we are pretty pumped! -Ansley
You’ve lined up an impressive tour to and from CMJ this year and you have played quite a few clubs across the US. Any favorite rooms out there in the heartland?
The Viper Room in LA and Bowery Electric in NY are always some really great shows, but our favorite place to play of all is probably a little dive bar in Starkville, MS called Dave’s Dark Horse, where there is no stage, and there are no monitors. The fans there are incredible and we always just have a great energy field there. ALWAYS a great time. -Ansley
How do you promote for upcoming shows both online and off? How do you grow your fanbase before and after performances?
We put our schedule on as many sites as possible, create Facebook events, create contests on Facebook and Twitter, get blogs to post our Press Release, hit newspapers up, send albums to all the college cities we go to, request for interviews, invite bloggers and press to shows, send flyers and cd to each venue and more! -Ansley
CMJ will always play second fiddle to the legendary annual South By Southwest Music and Film Festival in Austin, TX. Have you played during SXSW and are you planning to perform there in 2013?
Yes that seems to be feeling especially down where we are from. We unfortunately have not played SXSW yet and are definitely in the process of trying to get that secured up for 2013 as we speak… - Billy
I promised I’d keep it short, so please let my readers know where to find your music online. And if you have a link for tour dates, please tell everyone where they can catch the next SWS gig.
Spotify – Search “Super Water Sympathy”
Earbits Radio – Search“Super Water Sympathy”
10/16/12 Raleigh, NC - The Pour House Music Hall
10/17/12 Richmond, VA - The Canal Club
10/18/12 New York City, NY - The Bowery Electric (CMJ's)
10/20/12 Chapel Hill, NC - He’s Not Here
10/22/12 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade
10/24/12 Montgomery, AL - The Alley Bar
10/25/12 Starkville, MS - Dave’s Dark Horse
11/07/12 Bogies – Baton Rouge, LA
11/08/12 Austin, TX – Frank
11/09/12 Dallas, TX – The Prophet Bar
11/10/12 Houston, TX – Super Happy Fun Land
11/13/12 Tucson, AZ – Plush
11/14/12 Phoenix, AZ – Red Owl
11/15/12 San Diego, CA – Tin Can
11/16/12 Los Angeles, CA – The Viper Room
11/28/12 Nashville, TN – 12th and Porter
11/29/12 Little Rock, AR – Sticky Fingerz
11/30/12 Joplin, MO – Blackthorn Pizza & Pub
12/01/12 Hot Springs, AR – Maxine’s
Our schedule Is on our website, Facebook, and reverbnation as well. It is always being updated.
Lastly, the band has accomplished a great deal in 2012: Publishing deal, song on a hit pop record, recording in London, WARPED Tour, etc. How are you going to keep the momentum going and what are your goals for 2013?
Yeah it was a really great year. We can’t match that year and nor is it our goal. The most healthy thing to do is just know that this next year is going to be very different than the year before and if we keep working hard it’ll be just as fun and worth while. We love spreading our music knowing that we are doing this by ourselves. We know everything that label does…-Billy