Hundred Waters just might be the band of the future. The sound that the Gainesville, Florida, five-piece has developed with its self-titled debut is the new definition of what a rock band in essence is. Analogue and digital elements in equal parts are handled with a sophistication and ease that is purely of this century, if not this decade, if not this year.
Instrumentally complex with dual female vocals by Nicole Miglis and Sam Moss, Hundred Waters is intricate and exploratory.
Songs such as “Thistle” with its questioning vocals and gentle bass lines have drawn comparisons to Björk, and synth soarer “Boreal” combines the progressions of Stereolab with ’90s acid jazz. Songs like “Sonnet” and “Theia” are poetically lyrical and reminiscent of ’60s folk. But don’t say that to the members of Hundred Waters, because like most young musicians who are out to conquer the world, they don’t like comparisons. And don’t even mention electronic music to them. They hate that.
“To some extent everyone’s an electronic band that isn’t busking with an acoustic guitar, so yes we are electric and electronic or whatever, but this stuff isn’t primarily made to rave to,” says guitarist Paul Giese, reached in Montreal, where Hundred Waters is opening for the English indie-rock band Alt-J. “We don’t constrict ourselves to sounds that come out of certain machines.”
“If we classify it as one thing then that’s just what it is, and there’s no deviation,” adds drummer Zach Tetreault. “If we say we’re an electronic outfit then we’ve just committed to being an electronic outfit. Whereas we have the ability to include all these different realms of sounds without being pinpointed in one genre.”
Hundred Waters was hand-picked by Alt-J to tour with them in North America and the U.K., and they will also be opening for the xx, another English A-lister, this summer.
Playing large venues has been eye-opening, says Tetreault.
“[Alt-J’s] live show is so much bigger and fits these big rooms so well; they have this really amazing production crew that does lighting and sound for them. It’s cool to see that and learn from them, and we’re building our own crew over here and envisioning the future of our production when we go back out on the road again.”
Hundred Waters is taking Alt-J’s example so seriously that it’s hired its own sound engineer whom they consider basically another member of the band.
Since high school, the five Floridians have played music together in one form or another and in other bands around Gainseville. Now in this form, they’re resonating, and they’re throwing everything they have into the music, taking an incredible stroke of luck—being chosen to tour with two internationally popular bands—and running with it. They’re together, and working on their music, 24 hours a day.
“We’re always thinking about making music,” says guitarist Trayer Tryon, who, like Giese, is also credited with “electronics”. “You can’t just turn that off.”