Locally Grown: Hundred Waters
Hundred Waters may be the latest signee to Skrillex’ growing OWSLA roster, but you’re more apt to hear their gorgeous musings at your local café than a day-glo rave.
“Their music might come off as aggressive, but the people behind it are some of the nicest and chillest we've met,” Hundred Waters’ Zach Tetreault says of the team running Skrillex’s label. “Our music has its intensity. It just comes through less in the neck and more in the mind. We may have more delicate expressions than what OWSLA has released, but we're a diverse group.”
Hailing from the small, north-central Florida college town of Gainseville, Hundred Waters have toured with Skrillex and OWSLA labelmate and Diplo, as well as Vancouver synthpop chanteuse Grimes. Their self-titled debut, which was released last week, is a dreamy, folk-tronica journey that is stylistically on the opposite end of the spectrum of Skrillex’s high-voltage EDM.
But there’s no shortage of passion, raw emotion and fantastic musical creativity, making it easy to see why Skrillex plucked them for his stable.
“The music happens without trying to be or not be something,” Tetreault explains. “There aren't any set parameters or genres it wants to adhere to. It just yanks us down this path it decided without our pretense.”
“Visitor” is simply hypnotic, as Nicole Miglis’ sweet vocals wind, swirl and dive in and around Tetreault’s blip-tronica pastiche, injecting passion and melody into the lush soundscape.
The Björk influence is undeniable on “Me & Anodyne,” although the mesmerizing beat could just as easily have been jacked from the laptops of Blockhead or DJ Shadow. Same for the visceral “Caverns,” a whispering, slow-grinding trip driven by melancholy synths, bold tympanis and percussive crescendos.
And then there's the album's masterpiece, “Thistle,” a multi-layered, bubbling, tinkling composition that melds the best of the acoustic and electronic universes.
“The album was recorded last year at our home in Gainesville,” explains Tetreault. “It was made without any idea of touring with the music, being a band, having financial or promotional support, or anything like that. It's what we are at this point because it's all we've given to the world.”
Admirers of Miami’s fertile dance music scene, Hundred Waters hope to land at South Beach’s famed Ultra festival in the future and have a few favorite local haunts, including Club Bardot. But they’re also keenly aware that trying too hard to fit in anywhere is a sure way to stifle creativity.
“A scene can impress its conventions on musicians sometimes and build homogenous visions,” Tetreault concludes. “We try to float between these scenes as free agents and keep open to the differences between cultures.”