John Isaac Watters
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John Isaac Watters

Mexico City, The Federal District, Mexico | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Mexico City, The Federal District, Mexico | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Folk Indie

Calendar

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Nov
05
John Isaac Watters @ Hyperion Avenue Tavern

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States

Oct
30
John Isaac Watters @ Washington D.C. House Show

Washington, Iowa, United States

Washington, Iowa, United States

Oct
24
John Isaac Watters @ Philadelphia House Show

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Music

Press


"John Isaac Watters, the folk/country crooner with grainy gravitas in his voice"

John Isaac Watters, the folk/country crooner with grainy gravitas in his voice and a camp of incredibly talented musicians surrounding him, has released yet another collection of intimate and moving songs titled, ‘Campanas.’ His sincerity is always striking as he tenderly ushers you into the worlds he creates in each song. Standout single, “Outside the Bar in Winter,” features Watters’ signature poetry and the ethereal backing vocals of Alex Rhodes, all building to a rousing movie moment chorus. The songs swing with the ease of a see-saw between dusty folk tunes and demented carnival stylings with New Orleans horn sections like those on “Ragman.” Watters reaches into every corner of alt-country, spooky folk, and indie rock to pull together his best effort to date. His storytelling shines with pristine production and a backing band worthy of the Opry. Stream the entire album on his bandcamp now. - Jacqueline Caruso - Deli-Mag


"Vin Scelsa is Hooked on John Isaac Watters"


Vin Scelsa is hooked on the music of L.A. singer-songwriter John Isaac Watters and tonight on “Idiot’s Delight”® at 8, Vin will delve into all three of Watters’ albums, including his most recent release, Campanas.

Perusing the Studio V shelves, Vin also pulls albums from Van Morrison, Goldfrapp, Howe Gelb, Glenn Miller and more.

That’s Vin Scelsa’s “Idiot’s Delight”®, Saturdays from 8-10 p.m. on 90.7FM, also streaming online.

” - WFUV Radio NY


"John Isaac Watters - Campanas"

I can't quite get a handle on songwriter John Isaac Watters, even after several plays - but he fascinates me enough to persist trying to make sense of his writing, and I end up liking most of this record (John's third, I believe) rather a lot in spite of its intermittent inscrutability. John's loosely alt-indie-country-cum-west-coast-maverick style appears inspired as much by contemporary Americana, Mexicana and even rock'n'roll as by Bay-Area-folk. His grained singing voice displays a shiveringly vulnerable intimacy and yet embodies a tender strength; one moment he's cracking up before your very ears, the next he's holding forth manically with an almost impossible confidence - listen to Museum Of Art and you'll hear this expressionist conundrum at its most extreme. There's an almost demented aura to the blowsy, brassy mardi-gras-carnivalesque, shambolic Ragman and the cathartic full-on electric charge of I'm Your Man (where John seems to tear his throat out in desperation), while there's a rather cheesier pop swagger to Ships Don't Sail. My Family's Gone is arguably the weirdly accessible kindof highlight of the disc, although it's every bit as eccentric as its jittery, clattering junk-shop-percussion backdrop. Other tracks, like the majestic poetic Cathedral, find John in an altogether more ruminative mood. John's also blessed with the support of a fine backing band (Raymond Richards, William Gramling and David Raven, with Alex Rhodes on backing vocals) and other musicians playing cameo parts (banjo, clarinet and horns) at key points. - Fatea Records U.K.


"John Isaac Watters, ‘Outside the Bar in Winter’"

There’s an endearing, shambolic quality to the folk music of John Isaac Watters — it’s as if his songs are just happening, complete with their vivid imagery, weeping dobro and pedal steel and wheezing organs. Watters, who’s also been a part of the band Coyol, is set to release his third solo album next month. “Campanas,” which follows 2010′s “Parachute Tramps” and 2012′s “Casas,” was recorded with Raymond Richards at Red Rockets Glare Studio, with instrumental contributions from the producer and William Gramling, among others, and vocal turns from Alex Rhodes, who adds a dose of sweetness to Watters’ seemingly woebegone meditations. “There is a circus in my chest,” Watters sings in “Outside the Bar in Winter,” and maybe there’s one inside his head too. Because there’s plenty to experience in Watters’ big tent. - BUZZ BANDS LA


"Interview: John Isaac Watters of COYOL"

This week we chatted with John Isaac Watters, one third of the Los Angeles-based folk band, COYOL. In the latest installment of our interview series, Isaac discusses growing up in the Southwest and Mexico, his new album, and his musical idols.


Twenty Two: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Isaac: I was born in Mexico City. We moved to Berkeley, CA for a couple years while my dad was finishing school. Then all around in Mexico till I was 9. Then my family moved to Arizona, a little ways outside of Tucson, and I was there through high school. I came out to LA to study architecture at USC, and have been here since, just over 10 years now. I still find work as an architect, and do some art projects, but I am becoming more and more interested in writing and performing songs. I have a solo project that’s just my name, John Isaac Watters, and a band we call COYOL.

Twenty Two: Have you always been interested in music and performing?

Isaac: Not always. When I was in fourth grade I started playing violin and I was in different school orchestras through high school, but that was the most musical performing I did. I didn’t start thinking about writing songs till I was almost done with architecture school, and my little brother Joel started asking me to play fiddle on country songs he had written.

Twenty Two: How would you describe your sound?

Isaac: I would say it’s very simple folk music.

Twenty Two: What’s the process you go through when you’re working on new music?

Isaac: I haven’t found an easily repeatable process yet, but I try to write often, and play new ideas over and over till they turn into songs. I don’t have a writing schedule or a secret place to go, though I am looking for one. I like writing when I’m travelling, especially on trains and buses. Since I’m already moving, those moments in transit have an inherent freedom that allows ideas to come out. I have tried setting goals for myself, or forcing myself to write a certain number of songs, or to write in form, so that I can feel like I am somehow helping myself become a better writer. I don’t usually achieve those, but it’s good to get me started. Most of the time, the songs that I feel best about surprise me, and I can’t trace them back to a process or any specific set of actions.

Twenty Two: Can you describe the process of making music for yourself versus making music with a band? Do you have a different mindset?

Isaac: When I’m writing by myself, the initial process isn’t that different. It’s just coming up with ideas, trying to find words that I believe are worth saying over and over. Certain songs fit better with COYOL and others fit better with my solo stuff. I don’t initiate the songwriting process with one or the other in mind. We also sometimes write from scratch as COYOL which is me, Will Gramling and Celeigh Chapman, and then the process is a little different. It’s more of a workshop. We edit and refine each other.

Twenty Two: Do you find yourself writing about the same subjects or do the topics of your songs vary greatly?

Isaac: I don’t know if I write about subjects. What I am writing about is still a little mysterious to me and I almost never sit down to write about a specific idea. I usually write in a series of images that make me feel a certain way. I don’t know if my songs have topics. If you were going to try to nail them down to a specific topic, I bet they would jump around a lot. But they have a pretty consistent feeling to them. There have also been times when my friends or family have told me what one of my songs means before I could figure it out. The album I just put out is called “Casas”. These songs are all wandering around in my mind near the ideas of habitation and home, but I don’t know if you would hear that by listening to them. You might say the songs are about growing old, or losing limbs, which is probably more correct.

Twenty Two: What can our readers expect to hear on “Casas”? How does it differ from your earlier album, “Parachute Tramps”?

Isaac: I’d like to think “Casas” is a more cohesive album. Its instrumentation is a lot simpler: guitar, piano, singing and a little tambourine. It was recorded with Will Gramling and Alex Rhodes. Since we used so few instruments and they are such brilliant musicians, we were able to be in the same room the whole time and do each song in one take, instead of layering in a lot of stuff like we did on “Parachute Tramps.” But, for all its simplicity, Chris Rondinella’s engineering skills still give “Casas” a really full sound. How’s that for advertising? Just listen to it!

Twenty Two: Where do you find inspiration?

Isaac: Right now, I really like watching the light change throughout the day. I think that Echo Park for some reason has particularly wonderful sunlight. I like to go for walks in the evening, right before or right after the sun goes down and it’s nice and cool. Then I can think pretty clearly. But that’s just more recen - Twenty Two Blog


"Video premiere: John Isaac Watters, ‘Houses Filled with Light’"

The last time we heard from John Isaac Watters, he was releasing new music as part of the band Coyol, whom we introduced back in April 2011. But Watters has gone back to focusing on solo material, and now he offers a follow-up to 2010's “Parachute Tramps” with the album “Casas.” In new songs such as “Houses Filled with Light,” minimalistic instrumentation delicately riffs in the verses until Watter’s well-known strong vibrato rings out during the Southwestern-flavored chorus. The track’s video similarly follows the same bursting path as spray paint cans placed in front of blank canvases are shot through with AK-47s and handguns. Filmed in slow-motion, a series of paintings are created in the midst of the nature in Arizona. The ammunition matches the intensity of the music and the results — which can all be seen here — hold as much beauty as his rustic arrangements. - Buzz Bands LA


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Born in Mexico City, John Isaac Watters grew up in Mexico, & in Tucson, AZ. In 2002 He moved to Los Angeles to attend architecture school. He began to play guitar and write a few songs his last year in school. To date, he has released 3 albums: Parachute Tramps in 2009, Casas in 2012 and Campanas in 2013.  Besides touring regularly he maintains a residency at the historic Hyperion Tavern in Silver Lake, California. At that residency, John has attracted many notable guest performers including Jackson Browne, Mark Eitzel (of American Music club), Dan Bern, Adam Levy, Anna Nalick, Garrison Starr, Will Butler (Arcade Fire), Don Heffington and others. He is currently at work on a new album and some new collaborative projects.

Band Members