I saw Water Liars for the first time this summer at JR’s Lightbulb Club. I didn’t know anything about the band beforehand, but I do know I walked in during “Dog Eaten” because I remember hearing the beautifully finger-picked guitar part from down the street. The show was just Justin Kinkel-Schuster solo without drummer Andrew Bryant and there was something about hearing those dream-like lyrics and yearning that intrigued me enough to buy Phantom Limb after the show. Over the next few months I spent some considerable time with the album, which alternates between fuzzed-out country bar rock and fragile folk songs, and was glad to hear they were coming through Fayetteville again.
Water Liars plays Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 at LaLaLand (641 W. MLK, behind the Art Experience) with locals Spencer Hastings and Real Live Tigers. The show is all ages, starts at 9 p.m. and has a $3 suggested donation.
We asked Justin Kinkel-Schuster a few questions:
Your band name is the title of a Barry Hannah short story and there’s a Frank Stanford quote in the liner notes to Phantom Limb. Can you talk about what draws you to Southern literature and its influence on your songwriting?
I grew up in Arkansas. It’s just a part of me, really. Aside from that, I’m just drawn to the strangeness, slowness, and unassuming way the South moves with its own sense of time and place. The food is better and the women are better looking, too.
Were the songs on Phantom Limb songs that didn’t fit into your former band Theodore, or were these newer songs that you collaborated on with Andrew Bryant?
The songs on Phantom Limb were songs I had written shortly before working on them with Andrew, but I also knew that they were a new separate thing. It wasn’t until Andrew and I worked together on them that they really took shape, though.
Tell us a little about the next record. When is it due out and what are some of the themes on this one?
Our new record should be out around late February/early March if things go according to plan. I’d say the new record deals with a lot of the same themes that the first record did. To me these songs are pretty much the only way I know of processing things. I guess they’re mostly about trying to reconcile the opposing forces and tensions that are part of every life. Love, work, art, family, trust, death, faith and how these things are balanced and unbalanced in life and dealing with the consequences of choices made in the names of those things.
Your old band Theodore played at a bar on College Avenue a few years ago and Water Liars played at JR’s back in July. What are some things you like about Fayetteville? Are there any goals for this tour? I’ve heard of bands not showering the length of a tour or eating BBQ daily.
I love Arkansas in general, but Fayetteville in particular I have a fondness for cause it’s up in the mountains and because Frank Stanford went to school there and I can kind of feel his ghost around there. My only goals for this and any tour is to put these songs in front of as many people as I can and hope that they resonate enough that people start remembering and tellin’ their friends. And of course, I’d love to pay my bills. I definitely try to eat BBQ whenever possible, and I also try to shower whenever possible. When it comes to personal hygiene I have no romantic notions about the pleasures of going bohemian. Gimme a shower anyday.
Favorite moment of tour so far?
We just played with Shovels and Rope last night and I think they’re the best live band working today. Pure joy.
Name some criminally under-exposed bands you’re into or who you’ve played with.
We played with a band called Flowers of Evil in Carbondale, IL. They were great, I think the dude just constantly is recording songs in his house and putting out homemade CDs, just classic pop/garage songwriting. Being pretty underexposed myself, I’d recommend that everybody come to the show and be exposed to Water Liars.
Townes Van Zandt or Nebraska-era Bruce Springsteen?