watershed acoustic rock band interview perkolate online

October 2016. Interview by Marelise Jacobs. Cover: Watershed - Photograph provided by Lauren Davids.

Watershed may now be South Africa’s leading acoustic rock group, with a string of platinum and gold albums and awards to its name - but when its debut single ‘Indigo Girl’ surged up South Africa’s charts back in 2000, it was hard to predict just how successful the group would be. Lead singer Craig Hinds spoke to Perkolate about their 2015 studio album Watch the Rain and what to keep in mind when writing new songs.

There was quite a number of years between the fourth and fifth album?

Craig Hinds: Yeah you know, Watershed have never stopped playing. We released our fourth album in 2008 and then we put out a Best Of in 2010. I think it was 2012 or 2013 I did a solo album. Our drummer also did his own solo album, so we've been keeping ourselves busy, we just didn't do a new Watershed one. Then at the beginning of 2015 we thought it's about time we put out a new album, we all got together and started playing with that one.

During that period we were always performing but we just didn't release any new albums. I think taking that little break to do solo projects was also good, that kind of frees your mind up, so it was all in good time. I think maybe weren't ready for a new album quite yet.

“...You can only play the old songs so many times...” - Craig Hinds

How so, why not ready yet?

Craig Hinds: Well possibly it was because we didn't think we had the right songs together. It takes a while to make sure you've got the right songs and the right album.

Did you feel any pressure from your fans?

Craig Hinds: I think we did start to feel it and on social media people were getting a bit itchy for a new Watershed album. What we did find, the minute you release a new album you become top of mind again and then the band starts touring a lot more extensively.

We've already been back overseas for another trip so it was quite awesome, it's fun working on new songs. You can only play the old ones so many times.

You already have a huge fan base, is your focus on adding a younger generation of fans?

Craig Hinds: I think we're always adding new ones. With the sound of the new album, we've got a bit of a country feel going on and although it's not a new sound for Watershed, we've had that in a lot of the other albums but we focus quite a lot on that in this one.

So the sound seems to have drawn a younger crowd as well which is great and at the same time you can't disappoint the older fans. So it's quite tricky, but I think always try and bring in new ones.

Do you think about writing for radio or do you just clear your mind and do what you want?

Craig Hinds: I think we do what we want. Radio is a lot more difficult nowadays, because you never know, they're changing so quickly. I think they're also trying to find where they fit in.

And it's not like Watershed is going to write a Hip Hop album just to get onto radio, we've got to stick with what we do well. I think if you keep your integrity and your music, then it will be played. There's so many other mediums, with social media and Youtube, you'll get your music out there.