2014 Artist Survey: Slow Club Interview | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2014 Artist Survey: Slow Club

Charles Watson on 2014's Best Albums, U2's Free Album, His Most Heartwarming Fan Interaction, and His Worst Haircut

Jan 05, 2015 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar’s 12th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2014. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2014 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2014 print and digital issues for answers from alt-J, Camera Obscura, Chromeo, The Dears, Death From Above 1979, Deerhoof, The Drums, The Flaming Lips, Glass Animals, Hookworms, Sondre Lerche, of Montreal, Ought, Owen Pallett, The Rosebuds, Strand of Oaks, Teleman, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Woman’s Hour, Wye Oak, Zola Jesus, and others.

Here are some answers from Charles Watson of Slow Club.

Top 10 Albums of 2014

1. Cate Le Bon: Mug Museum
2. Sharon Van Etten: Are We There
3. Jamie T: Carry on the Grudge
4. Baxter Dury: It’s a Pleasure
5. The War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream
6. Fryars: Power
7. Parquet Courts: Sunbathing Animal
8. Real Estate: Atlas
9. Teleman: Breakfast
10. Mac DeMarco: Salad Days

What was the highlight of 2014 for either you personally or for the band?

We drove through the Prairies and the Rockies in September.

U2’s new album was downloaded for free into millions of users’ iTunes accounts without their permission. Was it a wonderful gift to music fans or an invasive action that devalues music? Also, which artist, other than you, deserves to have their album automatically downloaded to half a billion people more than U2?

My phone constantly tells me I don’t have enough free space to take a photo, download an album, or do pretty much anything anymore. It does however have just enough space for a U2 album. This is the reason I haven’t listened to it. It appears something I thought was mine, something I’ve paid for isn’t mine at all. Sadly, I think it’s an invasion that we’re all going to see a whole lot more of. How do you think Mr. Bono would feel if I went into his kitchen, went through his fridge, and then wrote my birthday on his calendar? He’d be outraged. And rightly so.

Mark Kozelek was criticized in 2014 for insulting his audience (calling them “hillbillies” for talking during his set) and for making fun of The War on Drugs when their sound bled over to the stage he was playing. What responsibility do performers have to be respectful of their audiences and fellow bands?

I’d never heard of this chap until just now but his shows sound bladdy painful to watch.

What’s the most uplifting or heartwarming fan interaction you’ve ever had?

A guy came to a show in Boston this year and said that he had been accused, found guilty, and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. He explained that he didn’t want to have music while he was in jail and so had written the lyrics down to some songs he liked which included one of ours. It was pretty overwhelming to hear him tell this story as a free man. Sounded like a totally awful experience.

Both Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman died in 2014. Did either death deeply affect you and do you find it strange to grieve for a stranger? Which celebrity’s death in your lifetime has most affected you?

Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the greats. I was really shocked and upset when I heard about his death. Sad times.

Which well-known filmmaker would you most like to direct one of your music videos?

George Lucas?

Given the choice, would you like to be immortal?

No way.

What was your most disastrous haircut experience?

January 2011. I cut my fringe [aka bangs] by accident. The whole lot had to go. I was a sad chappy for a while.



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