INTERVIEW: Dusty Watts of 'Rantings of Eva'

Today we feature an interesting interview with Dusty Watts, guitarist of the indie rock band "Rantings of Eva". If you haven't heard their music yet, maybe you should start to, as their song "Bright Side" is one of the best pieces of music we heard in all of 2007. Read on for the interview.

1. How did "Rantings of Eva" came to be? How did you pick that name too?

Dusty Watts: Ryan (vocals) worked with my girlfriend at a restaurant and had asked her if she knew anybody that played guitar. I went over to audition and Ryan and Patrick had a couple of song pieces worked up that I really liked- so we just took it from there. They asked me to be in the band which, of course, made me really happy. There was an undeniable chemistry in the room and I think we all knew it. As far as the name, we wanted something that would stick out. We knocked around several ideas and settled on 'Rantings of Eva' thinking that it almost sounded like the title of a novel. At the time, there were a lot of 'The whatevers' names going around and we wanted to steer clear of that.

2. Who writes the music and lyrics in the band? How much of it is a collective effort?

Dusty Watts: The songs come together usually as a collective effort ultimately. Sometimes Ryan will have a chord progression and a couple of vocal melodies and then I'll add lead guitar melodies over what's there if everybody is feeling it. Or sometimes they just come out of jamming. These days, Ryan writes most all of his own lyrics. If he gets stuck, he'll come to us for ideas. We try to allow everybody to provide input to the song at hand so we all have a personal connection to the song. This way, no one feels like they're playing someone else's song.

3. What's your favorite part of being a musician? Writing, recording, performing, or... being chased around by fans?

Dusty Watts: For me, I would have to say performing is my favorite part of being a musician. There's an amazing feeling you get after all the hard work of creating the songs, recording, arranging, re-arranging, and rehearsing, etc., --when you have an audience freak out over your performance. It's not so much ego, but satisfaction that you've connected with people, that you don't even know, in a positive way on such a deep, personal level. That is just a good feeling. Hands down.

4. How difficult is it to be an unsigned indie band these days? Is it a hard life?

Dusty Watts: The record business is a complete and total nightmare these days. The dark ages for labels if you will. The problem comes down to money and time over and over again. I think we all would love to do music as a full time career but it's difficult without the financial backing of a label. You just have to have faith that if you put good music out there, that people will react.

5. There's a lot of talk lately about the digital age and how it has changed (or collapsed) the music industry. What's your take on the issue? As a professional you find the Internet your enemy or your friend?

Dusty Watts: The Internet is an amazing tool for self promotion especially for a band on our level. We try to use it to it's fullest capacity...BUT- at the same time the digital age or whatever is also a lot of the reason that it's so hard to break into the majors these days. Those guys are losing money and are seemingly pretty freaked out by it. The kind of things they are asking of bands these days are ridiculous. The labels just aren't taking any chances. The concept of artist development is completely gone. So, we love that the Internet exists as a tool, but don't like the effect it's having on the industry as a whole.

6. What's the word for a new album? Anything new in the works?

Dusty Watts: We have finished recording a full album with our producer, Jason Elgin of Synchromesh Studios out of Birmingham. With the audio portion of the new album completely done, we're down to artwork. If we can nail that down soon, then we'll go ahead and release it by the end of the year. If not, then it'll have to wait until January or February. Super excited about it either way. One of the highlights from the new album is that we got to record the majority of the tracks with Matt Johnson (from Jeff Buckley's Grace album) on drums. That was a cool experience to work with him. Super talented and sweet guy.

7. Are you actively looking for a label? If yes, would your prefer a major or an indie one?

Dusty Watts: We simply want a record deal that is fair. No BS and no huge debt.

8. Any plans for a tour? Other means of promotion?

Dusty Watts: We're going to start with some regional touring around the Southeast and then up and down the East coast as well once things get rolling following the release of the album. We'd love to go out West as well but that'll have to be a wait and see situation.