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"Hopefully, we get back to the UK again, as soon as possible." - Mike Watson

In this episode

  • How the WHARVES formed

  • How the WHARVES produces records in pro studios, at home and online

  • How Mike achieved totally unique sounds

  • Touring the UK

  • The WHARVES online infrastructure & IT backend


About the 


Mike Watson is the founding member and guitar player of the Wharves. Based in Lennox Head, NSW, Matthew, Mike, Fraser and Scott take on the world and tour internationally. Mike and the Wharves are known for a unique blend of guitar-driven, danceable rock with a unique vibe.

The Production Talk Podcast - The modern way of producing music


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Disclaimer: The Production Talk Podcast is independent of (and not related to) my teaching responsibilities at SAE.



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Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Welcome to the Production Talk podcast with me, Yarn, of In this podcast series, we celebrate the modern way of producing music. We want to talk about all things related to songwriting, recording at home and music production. So, if you produce your music at home, this is the place to be. Please subscribe and recommend this podcast to all your friends. This is the Production Talk Podcast episode 58. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Thank you so much for tuning in today. Since you like podcasts, I thought I might recommend something amazing to you. My friend, Nick of Byron Music, who's also the mastermind behind the Byron Music Festival has launched his own podcast. The first two episodes are out and it's all about the music and the culture in the Bundjalung country. Among the guest speakers are Naomi Moran, Peter Wood, Nathan Kaye, Dr. Leigh Carriage, Jarmbi, Mark Robinson and Christian Tancred. You can find the episodes on the website Enjoy the listen. Okay, so now let's head over to this week's interview. Enjoy. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Welcome back to another episode of the production talk podcast. At the beginning of this episode, as always, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the country that we are meeting on today, the Arakwal people of the Bundjalong nation. And I would like to pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: With me today is Mr. Mike Watson of the band WHARVES. So welcome. Mike Watson: Hello, yarn. How are you going? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I'm really good. I'm really good. How are you today? Mike Watson: wonderful. Thanks so much for having me in. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Well, it's fantastic to have you. I'm dying to find out more about you and your band and the entire story. I understand. You just came back from a big tour in the UK. Mike Watson: It's been about two months. We've been back now. We were over there for a month. Touring around was, yeah. So good to be back overseas, playing shows and Jan 'Yarn' Muths: excellent. Mike Watson: buzzing two months later. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: fantastic. Oh, that's, that's really good to hear, but you know what, why don't we just go back to the beginning of your career and talk about you and how old were you when you started playing instruments? Mike Watson: I, my family owned music shops kind of growing up. So instruments were always around, but it was never pushed upon us as kids. Okay. But there was always guitars and pianos and I would dabble, but never really kind of picked it up properly until I was 13, started playing guitar and just was completely obsessed, like eight hour days after school, just like not putting it down and, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, fantastic. Mike Watson: Yeah. I was like a really shy kid through school and it was kind of my my outlet that I just loved. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Mike Watson: Yeah. Went started going to shows and big day out and the gigs in Brisbane, it was just like, that's what I wanna do. And yeah, eventually kind of got there. And I remember it was like coming to then to school, everyone was starting to travel and I was like, I'm not gonna go to Europe until I can go there with my band and play. Mike Watson: And it ended up happening. I was like setting crazy goals and, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: wow, that's fantastic. When did you meet your band members and then how did the band start? Mike Watson: So Wal started in, I think it was 2016. We'd kind of worked in a few projects together in different forms, but this outfit was 2016 just after I finished studying with you at SAE. Mike Watson: So I gained, I used the knowledge from there to kind of, I guess, bring it to the band a bit, but we're yeah, so we met through Southern cross uni though. Cause I had a few friends who would go up. And we all, all kind of just likeminded people same influences kind of same mentality on life, I guess. Mike Watson: And we all just got along. So we were like, let's see how this goes. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: and you just started jamming and then the band formed out of that or how, how did it happen? Mike Watson: I think we, from a former band, before that we had a couple of songs left over that were like gonna be for the older band, but we were like, oh, let's put this in this new one. Mike Watson: Cause we kind of like these two songs. Mike Watson: And then yeah, we started kind of jamming and coming out with new material and wanting to just see whatever happened naturally with the sound. And then I think the first thing we released was self-produced, but it was pretty raw and rough, but okay. We had a gig booked and it was like, that's kind of how we came up with the name, cuz it was so last minute we were just like, oh, let's go with this name. Mike Watson: It looks good. Written down. And it does, as soon as we said it on stage, we were like, we've made a horrible mistake cuz it's like, you can't understand it through a micro. Even in person, it's hard to tell someone the name. So like, yeah, yeah. Right. So I go, yeah, they go like, oh, what's your band name? And I go wharves W-H-A-R-V-E-S like I'm so fast, like spelling it for people. Mm. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, cool. And, and what's the meaning behind the name? Mike Watson: It was actually we wanted, we had the idea for the press shots first. We wanted to be like in water. Cause we are like at the coast and it was something in another friend's like Facebook. Where they liked the word WHARVES. It was like, whatever's kind of spelt wrong. Mike Watson: And then it just came up as a suggestion and we were like, all right, good, excellent. So it's not much of a amazing deep thing. We're just kind of like Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah, it's catchy. That's what matters. So that's great. Nice. Describe the, the sound of your band to, you know, everybody who, who hasn't listened to your band yet. What, what can we expect when we turn on your music? Mike Watson: We are very excited by a lot of sounds and it's a bit of a melting pot, but the main kind of mission is to make people dance. But it's with usually either fast paced, like post punk kind of indie rock stuff, probably like blog party, strokes, that two thousands era era of music. Mike Watson: And then we started digging a bit deeper and going, who influenced those bands? So we got into like the late seventies post-punk kind of movement. And then through the eighties as well when electronic kind of got into it and then like the nineties Manchester sort of dance music thing. So we've kind of taken elements of all that and experimented a fair bit now. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: of all. Wow. That, that is a lot of different influences all altogether. But, you know, I, I, it makes sense to me, you know, now I see actually your music in a different light. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So you know, the associations that I had from some of your songs were more psychedelic rocked in some Mike Watson: Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Some ways, but you know, now that you took me through the decades, that makes a lot of Mike Watson: We just kind of I'm very like Radiohead's my all time favorite band. Yeah. And I kind of view them as a band that has taken every genre. And just picked out like the best little bits and just mashed it all together. And so I'm like, if I can be like a sponge and listen to everything and find things I like in it, then I potentially will make music. Mike Watson: That's maybe hasn't been heard before, or it's interesting. So like I'm continually banned from the auxiliary court at parties and at work because like I put on a show fund piece the other day, which isn't that out there, but then there's like Mertz. He's just like this crazy Japanese noise producer. Mike Watson: And it's like Pand directi as well, where it's just like such hard music to listen to, but it's incredible that there's a market out there and you can kind of hone in and use those extremities into like a contemporary style. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Wow. It's definitely a journey. So if anybody is really interested now get to the end of the episode, scroll down on the show notes and click the link. We'll put everything in there so you can have a listen straight away, I guess, you know, you really gotta hear it to understand it fully. I, I reckon it's, it's an amazing sound. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Can you introduce your band mates? Mike Watson: Yeah. So we've got on vocals and guitar. It's Matt Collins. So Matt, sometimes he'll write a song with like an acoustic can come in and we'll kind of workshop it together. Mike Watson: And other times it's just me and him getting together. Or sometimes it's all of us kind of riding together. Scott's on bass and now he's playing moue as well, or like very, since which is good. And Scott's been doing all the artwork for the last release as well. Good. And all the video clips as well. Mike Watson: So he's become the kind of, yeah. The director of visuals. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: He's a bit of a Swiss army knife Mike Watson: definitely. And then Fraser is on drums and he has kind of been running all the online kind of social media aspect. So. As much as we are a rock band, we're a very nerdy kind of business thing. Like the amount of Excel spreadsheets we share between us is just stupid. Mike Watson: Like, yeah. Right. It's a whole nerdy backend behind it. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, look, I would love to hear a bit more about that. So it's not just that you hang out in the rehearsal room and make Mike Watson: No, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Right. You sort of split up different business areas among each other and you work, your tag team. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Is, is that right? Mike Watson: pretty much it. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Cool. We've got Mike Watson: a manager as well, so he can Denote, I guess, tasks to each of us. But I think we, I guess we might have realized what each one's strengths were and weaknesses, and we went like, let's kind split this up a bit and yeah. You know, work all together. So we often set tasks for the band and yeah, it's pretty nerdy. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: cool. Well, that's, that's really interesting to see that, you know, you've got basically an infrastructure built around the band. Is this all online or Mike Watson: mostly online. Yeah. Cause so I live in Lennox and then Scott lives in Lismore and Fraser and Matt. Oh, Fraser lives at Tweed and Matt lives at the gold coast now. Mike Watson: So we're a bit spread out where I think maybe 2018 or 2019, we're all pretty based around here. So it was much easier to meet up midweek. You know, it wasn't a big drive for someone to yeah. Go to a rehearsal where now it's like, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: it's a bit of a mission Mike Watson: of shifted from working midweek to kind of booking out like a whole weekend or getting together and really Jan 'Yarn' Muths: really being. Mike Watson: like maximum productivity. Mike Watson: But then it's like planning it beforehand. Like we've got, you know, hundreds of demos on Dropbox and it's like, all right, you know, choose your best or choose your favorite parts. And what would you like to work on yourself? Like, what's your favorite song coming in? So everyone will be a bit motivated as well to be like, what am I gonna get out of this? Mike Watson: How do I feel? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's really cool. You're really organized as a band. That's really good to hear. And who came up with that system? Did it just evolve or did Mike Watson: just evolving. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right. Mike Watson: Kind of like, it Jan 'Yarn' Muths: just started somewhere and that's the way it grew. Mike Watson: Mm. I think, yeah, we we're quite open as a band probably cause we've known each other for, so for so long now, I've known a couple of the guys for 10 years. Mike Watson: So yeah, we've learned not to have an ego at all. It's like, you can say anything and you know, you're not taking it to heart and yeah. It's not like, save your writing a song and you come up with a part. No, one's gonna be offended if it's like, Hey, like, I don't think that's gonna suit, like maybe try it this way. Mike Watson: Cause I think sometimes a lot of bands will be. I came up with this. This is a personal attack on me. Oh, maybe. Yeah. But you're trying to change this part where, you know, I think in our group we kind of sit back and go like, you know, what do you have like to kind of offer, like, where's your view coming from? Mike Watson: Which is good. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Talk me through your releases so far. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm-hmm when did you start putting out songs? Mike Watson: So after the first self-produced release, we did a Paul a song with Paul PS NEX. Which was at SAE when I was just finishing up. Yeah. Like shout to Jan 'Yarn' Muths: to Paul amazing guy. He actually stopped by the studio here the other Mike Watson: Oh, legend. I haven't seen for ages. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: He's, he's a lovely guy. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Very talented. Mike Watson: Yeah. So we did a song with him and released it and then Jan 'Yarn' Muths: there was a single therefore Mike Watson: yeah, it was a single, it was. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. And what about the release before, you know, the, the self produced one? I'm very curious to hear more about that. Mike Watson: We just did it at home just cuz. Mike Watson: It was a demo. I don't think there was any real drums. It was all just mid drums. And we were just like, it was so wrong, but it just had a good feeling about it. So we were like, let's just put it online and see how it goes. We've got a show to play, so let's have something to promote. And I think it was the previous kind of band we were working in had started to come a bit like real serious. Mike Watson: And it was like, we're working in like kind of proper studios, proper producers. Then we were like, let's go as far as we can from that. And just go purely on feeling Jan 'Yarn' Muths: great. Mike Watson: But then yeah, once we did that, we were like, okay, let's get back in the studio again. I think it was kind of a budget thing as well. Mike Watson: Cause we didn't have any money. And Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Of course. Mike Watson: once we started playing shows, we were like, all right, let's invest it into the band. And then yeah, after Paul, we I forget how we got onto him, but we heard about this guy in Melbourne called Steven. He had worked with Paul Kelly and Francisco, a bunch of other like great bands. Mike Watson: And we were like, cool, let's fly him up and do a song together. And yeah, it was the, the moment of working with him when, like we did our first like tracking and we heard what we did back, like in our headphones. We're just. Oh, my goodness. It was like spine tingling. Cause it was just, I don't know something about his producing skills is amazing and it's like, he has just such a good gut, like sense of a song and what to get out of it. Mike Watson: And yeah, it was just like, wow, we sound like a real, real band. Like. All of us still are just blown away by that sound. We heard back. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's fantastic. And where was that recorded? Mike Watson: That was at music farm, that one. And then we worked with him pretty much from, that was end of 2016 through to, I think the last session we had with him would've been 2019. Mike Watson: And in that time he ended up moving up here with his family cuz we kept flying him up and then I think he loved it so much. He was just. Stay Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It's a sticky place here. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Isn't it? Mike Watson: it. he's, he's just moved to New Zealand though. So he is just left the area. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Mike Watson: So yeah, it was pretty much that was like for as long as we could see, it was pretty much us working with him would, was the plan until the pandemic kind of hit. Mike Watson: And then usually our touring would pay for like our recordings. So once that dried. We had no shows in the foreseeable future. We were like, cool. We'll pay for it ourselves. But then there was the whole kind of job security really like when the pandemic first year it's like, cool, am I gonna have work in six months or something? Mike Watson: I'm just gonna throw money into recordings. We can't promote or tour. So we were like, oh, we've got these skills. Like, cause. All the other guys had studied music as well. So they knew a bit about production and we were like, screw it. Let's let's try it ourselves. If it doesn't work fine. But yeah, let's try it. Mike Watson: See what we can come up with. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. So you went back to self-producing during COVID yeah. Out of necessity, I guess like a, like a lot of people did at that time. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Cool. And how did that turn out? Mike Watson: We were really stoked. It was definitely scary, cuz yeah, like Shamis won Arias. For best engineer, like for Australia. Mike Watson: And I've gone from that like level to me just being like, Hmm, how do I kind of do this at a proper level? Cause I'd always done demos for the band, but not like trying to be up against the best producer Australia, but it was like, we're kind of like, it's gonna have its own sound anyway. So no one's gonna sit there and go like, oh no, this doesn't sound like a high end product or something. Mike Watson: It will just sound different. if the song was good enough, or if the parts are there, people will accept it. But yeah, we're all very happy with how it first started turning out. But yeah, it was challenging with the lockdowns cause two of the guys were in the gold coast or in Queensland. So Jan 'Yarn' Muths: of course, and then they were on the other side of the border. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, I see. Mike Watson: we had our drama and singer up there and so we had the bass player and me down here and I was doing all the production. So we in between. Like bubbles and all that stuff. We would kind of take demos. We'd written from over the years and certain times there, and a lot of them were like, started with, we were kind of going for a Manchester sort of psychedelic dance thing we wanted to do. Mike Watson: So they would start with like a kind of dance, nineties drum loop, and then the song would be written around that, or kind of in Ableton without any kind of band really. And then once we could get together, we'd start. Kind of replacing things upon the the Ableton session. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And did you, how did you exchange the, the session files just via Dropbox or Mike Watson: I think we're using Dropbox. Mike Watson: Yeah. Yeah, mainly Dropbox for that. The singer did, so Matt did a lot of vocals at home, which was good, cuz he had a kind of set up, but Fraser didn't really have ability to do drums. Yeah. Where he was. So it. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's hard. Mike Watson: If there was any opening between the kind of lockdowns where he was allowed to come down or just any chance we could to do drums, we were like, all right, we have to do it before something changes. Mike Watson: Cause we need these drums. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Right. And, and you got it done. Mike Watson: Yeah, we got it done. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. So Mike Watson: it took a long time for certain songs, but I think because we moved through a few spaces as well, we got we got like gifted, like squatters rights almost for this like. The storage shed in ball, which seemed like a great idea until we tried to record drums in it. Mike Watson: And it was just like a booming, like Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, wow. Yeah, Mike Watson: it didn't sound good. So we were trying to go for this tight, like dancing sound, but the drums were just a mess. So I, I had to gate everything. It just didn't sound that good. So we took, like, it started with. Like the nineties kind of electronic drums. Mike Watson: Then we did these like huge, booming drums over the top, which I ended up gating to sound like the nineties drums. And then I put more of like the electronic drums over the top again. So it was just like, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: just layers. Mike Watson: Yeah. If anyone saw my sessions from these like songs, like they would just Grims they're horrible. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Right. Well, that's creative processes. They, they can be messy. That's fine. Mike Watson: probably 200 tracks named audio track. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Ooh. Okay. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Well that's gonna be a, even hard to Mike Watson: manage. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Right. Okay. So you've pretty much tried everything in the book you tried to produce at home. You know, you did remote production with your band without even seeing each other and you worked. Mike Watson: in Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Some of the most amazing studios with some of the most amazing, amazing engineers break down the pros and cons to us. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. What are the, what are the advantages of, of producing at home? Mike Watson: I felt like I was being less creative in the studio because tra our producer was having. Kind of more control over my, I play guitar mainly in the band. Mike Watson: And I love to make things weird and experiment, but with like studio costs to take a large risk is an expensive thing. If it doesn't happen. Yes. So I was trying to do like a band I really like is called battles and it's a lot of like looping and weird guitar stuff where it's like kind of glitching and it's just. Mike Watson: Horrible sounds, but you try have something so far extreme and kind of hone it in to make it nice. And listenable, I guess, with the pressure of save a studio, it's like $500 per day, and you're doing that for four days and you wanna get two songs out of it, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. Mike Watson: you know, there's a bit of pressure there to get it right. Mike Watson: And it's just like, if it doesn't, it's just wasted money. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: just, so from a decision making point of view, you had to be a bit more conservative, a bit more, you know, stay in, in a safe area. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Definitely. Okay. And at home you have more. Mike Watson: time Jan 'Yarn' Muths: To, to waste, I guess. And you can experiment and if there's failures you, yeah. It doesn't cost you money. Mike Watson: So it was a very fun process during the lockdowns. Cause I wasn't working as well. I was just getting to wake up every day and make music which was going on to our EP. So then I could. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: just, Mike Watson: Do something ridiculous and you wake up the next day and go, huh? It didn't work. That's fine. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay, start again. Mike Watson: But yeah, there's some, there's some definite weird stuff in on that AP Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Well, that's really good. I'm sure you learned a lot of things along the way. And who knows that might be useful in future productions? Mike Watson: Yeah, definitely. You Jan 'Yarn' Muths: know you never know. Mike Watson: I'm working with there's a girl. Cause I make some electronic music as well. Mike Watson: I've worked with this amazing singer and writer called. Her artist name is Frankie Kanu. And we just spent last week recording an EP for her. And she had started this track with someone else and it sounded amazing. Like, it sounded really produced and I'm like, like, this is done. Like, why do you want me to do anything on? Mike Watson: And she's like, it's just not me. It's not kind of chaotic enough. So the song started with a, like an ambient pad, just like a synth patch. And I was like cool. Let let's replace that sound with something that we can just come up with here. So instead I did like a guitar loop kind of droning, but it's like shifting out and in of, in tune. Mike Watson: So I did that twice. And then, I, the space I was working out of was my parents' like basement and they live next to a school. So all these kids were outside playing. So she went outside and sampled that and I was like, oh, we could use that. And I like this technique a while ago where you can kind of make a playable instrument out of any space by notching, like frequencies a few times it comes like a resonant drone. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah, yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Right. Mike Watson: So I took that sound of the kids and played it as like an organy thing with this like morphing texture of them like playing. So it's instead of this ambient pad now it's like this real weird. Kind of thing, but it was more honest to us because it was like where we're at. Like no one else is gonna have that sound in the Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It's pretty much impossible to reproduce. Yeah. Right. That's really cool. Share more ideas. What, what other crazier things were you up to? Mike Watson: the I was doing like just a lot of reverse piano, which is fun. You come up with a part and just flip it and then just keep doing that. I was playing there's a guitar effect called a Digitech whammy. Mike Watson: It's like a pitch shifter. I've got another pedal. Oh no. I was using a Ebo, which is like a magnetic guitar thing. So you rested on a string and it just sounds like a violin, I guess like a bow endless sustained Jan 'Yarn' Muths: sustains infinitely, basically. Mike Watson: So I like tuned the guitar so I could just rest the Ebo on a string. Mike Watson: So then that was feeding into. I think a chorus pedal. So was war a bit. And then on the pitch shifter, I was selecting the like harmony notes to create the melody. So it like, oh, wow. It was really hard to play. Cuz you're like twisting a knob, like one perimeter left and then right. And then left and then it has to go like four down to get to the fifth or like Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. Mike Watson: third and fourth, second and third. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So you played melodies basically with a pot, with a Mike Watson: dog? Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, that's crazy. was it a stepped one or was it, you know, a variable, a very pop pod. Mike Watson: I think it stepped, stepped. Okay. But yeah, that like a part of the melody had to shift down like five notches to like, get it there and then it would like thrill on two notes and then go back out. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Right. Mike Watson: It was challenging. I was like, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Ah, I can't wait to hear that. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And that ended up in a song. Yeah. Mike Watson: I opened a can of beer. Actually, there was a word between after and party, it was like, and I was like, oh, it's like a party thing. I'm like, oh, like this could be fun. So I had a beer and we cracked it open and it had like that classic can opening sound and the, all the other music drops out for the can. So it's just like this. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, Mike Watson: all comes back in. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, that's great. My Mike Watson: my favorite one in the war stuff was I was leaving. The song was called new road. . And I think that Matt wrote about going to different like life directions. And I I was had my last shift at work cuz I was working this good job, but I was like, I can't see like it getting any further, like, you know, there's no real reason to stay, but there's no real reason to leave as well. Mike Watson: So I was like, you know, I should finish this job. And then I had this idea of recording the drive. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: home, Mike Watson: To put it in the song just there's like a sentimental type of thing. But then I was like, oh, I should use that. Like, kind of that technique of notching notching the frequencies to make it a playable thing at like during the song. Mike Watson: So it could maybe play the chords, but then I took that further and I was like, what happens if I use that sound as a vocoded effect that Matt could then sing through for the vocals? So he's like singing through the sound of me driving home after quitting work. crazy. But you, you can't, you can't hear it, but it's in there. Mike Watson: yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Nice, nice. Wow. That makes, you know, that must make your music so unique in, in many ways, because there's no way to replicate this any other way. You know, people Mike Watson: For sure. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: we have the same DW still can do Mike Watson: that. Yeah. I think it, I Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I love that. I love that. That re makes it personal. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. In distinguishable, Mike Watson: I think, yeah. Mike Watson: As of the band we've started, think we've all kind of done a bit of that soul searching kind of growing up where it's like, you know, like who cares if you become like successful or not? Like, if you are living off it, it's just like, whether you're enjoying it enough. And it's like, if you get like the enjoyment I get from doing stuff like that, where it means something. Mike Watson: I'm so excited to tell people about it cuz you don't discover it by listening to it. It's just all buried in there. Good. But yeah, it just makes me Jan 'Yarn' Muths: very, very happy. well it's just an audio podcast, but yeah, you've got a huge smile on your face right now. Let, just describe that to everybody. You are obviously really excited about it. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's really cool. Nice one. And are, are you planning to take, you know, these techniques into future productions as well? Mike Watson: definitely. For this, like, because the last WHARVES thing was done so separately and yeah, we are predominantly known as being a live band. Like usually we're pretty high energy and we like make a lot of noise and jump around and yeah. Mike Watson: On stage. So I think we are trying to. Or because the last recording was, so not that we want to go back to kind of doing more of a live band sort of thing, but then bringing in some of that other stuff later. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Can you talk about future plans at the moment? Mike Watson: Yeah Jan 'Yarn' Muths: what's the future gonna bring for? Mike Watson: So we're, we're gonna try doing an album. We've just started doing some demos. Which is exciting. Our bass player just broke his knee on stage a few weeks ago. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh no. Mike Watson: Which was horrible. It was our first show back in Australia. We're meant to be on tour now, but we had to cancel it. Oh, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: that's terrible. What Mike Watson: happened? We don't know it was, we think him and Matt might have collided, but it was second song into a packed beachy. It was like a splendor pre-show. And yeah, Scott's just on the ground and we're like, shit. And then. Yeah. He had to get stretched off by the ambulance and yeah, it was pretty wild, but this weekend was our first time getting back together Jan 'Yarn' Muths: and yeah. Right. Mike Watson: He was, yeah, he's doing well. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: He's getting Mike Watson: He's getting better. Excellent. But we hopefully get back to the UK again, as soon as possible. And I think we'll have a few Australia shows kind of at the end of the year. There's a few lined up, but Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Nice. So Mike Watson: we'll do another tour. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: you want a tour Australia? Fantastic. Well, that's excellent. So look, if you've got any tour dates to announce, please let me know. I'm going to, to give you a pluck in the production talk podcast community so everybody can hear about it. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Nice one. Tell me more about your instruments, your amps, your paddles. Are you happy to share the secrets that make your guitar sound? I do it. Mike Watson: There's not too many secrets. , that's fine. I, I'm not really fussy with tone because I've a lot of the time I figure that like in a smallish venue, most people are there just to have fun. Yeah. And any form of distortion is probably gonna do, or like any form of fuzz will do its. So I'm not too picky in, in that sense. Mike Watson: Like someone's probably drunk. They just want to hear a LA a distorted guitar. They can, that they can dance to. cool. Yeah, like I've got, I've got heaps of fats over the years. My main one's been, it was pretty much, I was a big fan of muse through school and I pretty much wanted to buy every pedal Matt Bellamy had. Mike Watson: So I got a fuzz factory. Did you take whammy line 60 L four? Then yeah, I've got this like tube screamer kind of copy thing. It was by Earthquaker devices. It's like every tube screamer, like kind of oh six versions of it. So it's like an overdrive and that's got another overdrive in it that gives you more distortion than a boost as well. Mike Watson: So it's great for live. So you can have a yeah. Kind of different game dangers, really the different songs. Mike Watson: I started using, I've taken this off my board for now, but I started using Ableton as a guitar effect as well. I'd have Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah. Right. Mike Watson: I think orange maker pedal, which is an interface. So it goes through and you hit it and it goes into your computer or, yeah, it goes to your sound card and then you can have any effect on there. Mike Watson: And then I've got another mini controller, which would I think there's six buttons and it can send like, Media messages to the macros in Ableton. So you can pretty much do anything you want. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Well, that sounds really techy. Mike Watson: it's a lot of fun. I haven't quite found a home for it yet. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Right. Mike Watson: But I plan to make that a big part of the sound. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Cool. And what guitars do you play? Mike Watson: Mainly a Telecaster is probably my main one. I've got a Strat, a jazz master. A star caster as well. Okay. And an SG. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Ah, I love SGS. How good are they? yeah, no Mike Watson: I've got my, from when my parents used to move through music shops, my dad's got this 1970s Guild acoustic, which is like gifted to me. Mike Watson: And it's amazing. There's always a song written, like waiting for me every time I pick it up. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Nice. Mike Watson: about it. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Cool. Mike Watson: I'm really roughing all my guitars apart from that one. I'm just like, there's something special about that. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: cool. Mike Watson: yeah, we haven't used like amps really for years. Mike Watson: Like we've been using mainly guitar rig. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Even life. Mike Watson: No. Oh, Matt uses, he's got an amps SIM, but Jan 'Yarn' Muths: mm-hmm Mike Watson: I like to have an amp live for feedback and weird stuff. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Mike Watson: , there's a song. It was in menu. Want me to be, it was one of the first songs we did with Shammy. We just weren't happy with the bridge. Mike Watson: Like, it feels just a bit halfassed to us, we think now. So instead of that, we just make noise pretty much. We just it's this huge buildup section. And I usually kind of take my guitar off and just put it near the amp and it's just feedbacking and then I try to like, Like goes into a delay and it's like oscillating as well. Mike Watson: So it's a mixture of feedback and guitar and oscillating delay, and it's like a delay with a sweep. So I try turn the sweep into a like synced tempo with phrases, high hats, which are doing 16th at the time. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, wow. Mike Watson: So it's totally wild, but it's really fun to try get it right. Cuz every time it's Jan 'Yarn' Muths: different Mike Watson: Yeah, that's a way of using pedals on Orthodox. Nice in it was in Leeds when we played this old guy came up to me after the show, he was like, maybe he was 60 or something. He's like, I've been going to shows for like 40 years. And I've never seen someone play the guitar like that. and I'm like, cool. Mike Watson: Excellent. I'm not sure if it's playing it, but it's hitting a button. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, really cool. Nice one nice one. And what a model do you, do you like to play? Mike Watson: I've got a. Orange rock of verb 50. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, nice. Skipped. Yeah, Mike Watson: A school trip at school. So to take the money from that and put it towards an amp. And then later I bought a fender deluxe reverb. Mike Watson: I think it is. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: is, oh wow. Mike Watson: It's a real nice Jan 'Yarn' Muths: they sound fantastic. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It's beautiful. I've got a, a fairly high price tag, but you know, the sound is, is, is beautiful. Mike Watson: It was like, it was weirdly secondhand. I got it through Byron music. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, cool. Mike Watson: this was a few years ago. The guy who used to own it, worked for my dad for a bit. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Ah, did you get a good deal? Mike Watson: Yeah, so he would always give us a good discount, but nice. He would always lend disc guitars as well. So if I was like, oh, thinking about getting this guitar, you would be like, take it home for the weekend and I'll be. You just end up buying so Jan 'Yarn' Muths: it. Mike Watson: one time I took yeah, the telly and jazz home to choose one and I bought them both. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, really? Mike Watson: so I've definitely cut back now cuz I'm like a lot of guitars just sound the same really in a way. Like it's a hard thing because it's this weird psychological thing where like there's a slight difference, but it's doing a certain job. Yes. Like the only. The only real difference I've found with my guitars is the star caster. Mike Watson: It's got a certain warmth that can't reach the brightness of a telly. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. Mike Watson: Mm. But if you dull the trouble on the telly right down, you can almost get it to sound like the star Jan 'Yarn' Muths: almost. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Mike Watson: So it's like, yeah. That's the only limitation I've really found with my guitars. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: You obviously know your instruments really well. I can imagine this could be really useful on stage if you know if your strings break and you need to just quickly swap to another. Mike Watson: Yeah, usually I bring two thankfully in the UK, I didn't break any strings where normally I'd break a lot of strings. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, good. Good, nice one Mike Watson: That's the worst when it's like, you know, you really know you are set so well, but then it's like if a string break suddenly you have to start transposing. Mike Watson: Yeah. And it makes it harder work. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, definitely. Yes. Mike, let me just change the subject a little bit. What advice would you have for younger musicians who are starting these days? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: What mistakes did you do that, you know, others can avoid? What can other people learn from you who are basically right at the beginning of, of, you know, their musical career? Mike Watson: It's a good one of I can trust yourself is a big one. Okay. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Please explain. Mike Watson: I was working. With, I think he's like 20, maybe 21, his name Sam, like that's his artist name? Brian is his first name. He he is from the Philippines originally. I think he moved out here 2018 or no, 2017 ish. And then we're working on a song and it was like, this is great. Mike Watson: This is cool. This is a lot of fun. And then he was saying like, oh, you know, He was trying to come up with a bio or something and he is like, oh, I'm not sure what what's about me. And I'm like, dude, like your story is so interesting. You know, you've moved here from the Philippines, you came and watched us play. Mike Watson: And then he said that watching us perform, inspired him to like take his abilities. Cause he was playing flute and a little bit of guitar before and singing a little bit, but he was like, I want to do this. Like I want to do music. And then yeah, like from that, he reached out to me to see if I'd be interested to help him and then kind of produce music for him and write music and do that sort of thing. Mike Watson: So, yeah, from, from his perspective, he didn't have that of an interesting story, but I was like, like you are, this is an interesting story. Like your life is interest. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, Mike Watson: you're living it every day. Doesn't mean it's not interesting. Likes take a step back and you've got stuff going on. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see. So, yeah. Yeah. Right. It took basically your angle, he needed to, he needed to see his life through your lens to understand that there actually was something worth sharing. Mike Watson: definitely. There was something definitely marketable about him and just, he had an interesting story to tell and I think Jan 'Yarn' Muths: yeah, Mike Watson: like a lot of. Mike Watson: I would've done this as well, but comparing yourself to like so many other artists as well, being like Jan 'Yarn' Muths: self doubt. Mike Watson: Yeah. Being like you're listening to someone who's done this for maybe 20 years. Yeah. They've got infinite amount of money, infinite amount of time to make a record. And then you are coming in. Mike Watson: Maybe you've played your instrument for two years and you're expecting yourself to make that. Yeah. And it's like, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That can't Mike Watson: the voice in your head would just be like, that's not that even if it was that you would be like, no, that's not it. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. In situations like this always recommend to do some research and find the earliest records of these, you know, big Mike Watson: Yeah. That's a great idea. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: see how they sounded when they were at the beginning of the career. And, you know, chances are, it's just another demo that was rough around the edges. And Mike Watson: I think like, it was interesting when I was driving here, cuz I hadn't listened to the EP WHARVES did in ages. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: and I. Mike Watson: Like, I'm sure, you know, as well when you've listened to something over and over and over, it stops sounding like music and you just have, it becomes this thing that's you don't really have proper sight on it. Mike Watson: And you forget what it sounds like just to listen to as a listener. Yes. So I was driving up here to listening to the AP and I, I heard so many mistakes. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: in it. Mike Watson: Like just little things where I'm like, oh, I should have done that different or this different, but I'm like, no, it's done. That's fine. It's a learning thing. Mike Watson: Now I can look back at that and go Jan 'Yarn' Muths: make a piece with it. And it was just, you know, it's just a, it's like a photograph. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It's just like who you were at that time. That doesn't mean that's who you are today. Definitely. Yeah. Mike Watson: And no one else will be judging it that hard except me. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Of course, hopefully. Mike Watson: Yeah. Yeah. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: but pretty much everybody. I speak to shares the same story that, you know, we are always our own harshest critics and, you know, sometimes full of self doubt. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And I guess that's what unites us creatives in, in many ways, we all share that Mike Watson: I've got like, I've been trying to do a few other projects, like solo things. Mike Watson: There's like an electronic project. I'm trying to get more going, but I keep having that self, self doubt cuz I'm like kind of singing more on it as well, which I've never done. Yeah. So it's that thing of being like, no, it's fine. Just release it, but Jan 'Yarn' Muths: just get it Mike Watson: there. Yeah. I just need to do it. Yeah. Mike Watson: Cause I know once it's done, it's fine. But it's just that weird barrier. You have to go against just a bit. Take the. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: job. Yeah, Mike Watson: And once you do it, you know, it's worth it Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah, that's right. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's right. Cool. All right. So for the next year your band is going to tour Australia. You said you are Mike Watson: probably Jan 'Yarn' Muths: about the UK again, hopefully, and hopefully another album as well. Mike Watson: Aiming to do a full lengths, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Full length album. Yeah, Mike Watson: But no idea on timeline yet. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Of course. Well, that's really good goal. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So please keep me updated and I will definitely promote all of this through the podcast channels. Mike, thank you so much for sharing all of this with us today. It's great to have that chat with you. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks Mike Watson: on Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Cheer mate. Thank you so much. Mike Watson guitar player of wharfs. Please make sure to head over to their official website. The link is of course, in the show notes it's Wharf spent. Com you can, of course also scroll down on the website and find all the social media channels. However, I recommend you go to band camp again, the link is in the show notes and by their records to check 'em all out amazing music. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I, I really hope you, you can support a local band. All right, thanks. That's all for today. If you enjoy today's episode, please subscribe and recommend this podcast to all your friends and fellow musicians. You can also head over to Facebook and join our production talk podcast, Facebook community to have a chat and find out more information on the episodes and that's all for today. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Thank you everybody. I shall speak to you again next week and bye for now.
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