Water Liars hail from Mississippi; a setting that constantly seems at the tip of their most recent album Wyoming. The idea of home and the people who make it the safest place on earth ripple through the album in deep slogs of sorrow and a fair share of laborious longing. Maybe that's because the road just isn't the ideal place for musicians like Andrew Bryant and Justin Kinkel-Schuster. Studio men, who pine for the creative environment and infinite possibilities for their music, often have a hard time on long stretches of highwayespecially when loved ones are left home alone as well. Of course, it's an absolute necessity these days, so pitfalls are plentiful - whiskey, beer, cigarettes, copious amounts of coffee - these are just some of the unhealthy vices that provide comfort in the fact that a lifetime on the road is no normal kind of lifetime at all.
The songs help too, of course, and in the case of Water Liars, it's extremely vivid offerings that perfectly sum up what's on this Southern duo's mind. Strumming through three such songs during a recent visit to our headquarters, Andrew and Justin painted portraits in the painful moments of "Linens", a song about what's left behind and the perfect moments that flick through their mind way out there on the road somewhere, even when things at home aren't perfect. "You Work Days I Work Nights" is an ode to what's sacred and most holy when the graveyard shift comes a-calling. And the title track, "Wyoming", the most heartbreaking of the three, sounds like the end of the domestic dream. It's heartbreaking stuff and yet somehow feels so good to hear, full of sentiment, soul, and every emotion these two Southern men can muster.
You were crying in the night and I could hear you And I could see your slender body shake and tremble And there was nothing I could think to say or do to make you see It's something wrong in me that makes me have to leave quiet beside you With the window open, a record playing low To feel your skin between the clean bed linens Inside a room where sadness never goes When we were kissing in the kitchen, I was listening To the coffee and the bacon drip and sizzle There was flour on my hands from the biscuits in the pan And I was happier than I thought I could be Then I woke up on the road, my head was killing Remembering some shit I read in Milton How the mind is a place unto itself and in it Makes a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven What I would give to be quiet beside you With the window open, a record playing low To feel your skin between the clean bed linens Inside a room where sadness never goes - We met years ago, probably 7, 8 years ago now, and playing shows with different projects, different bands. He was doing his own stuff, and I was in a different band, and we met. Just happened to play the same show. Andrew was on tour, and just immediately hit it off and became friends. Stayed in touch and kept playin' shows together whenever we could over the years, and then gradually, I guess it was about two years ago now, I called Andrew up and asked if he would be willing to record some songs for me that I had sitting around that weren't workin' for the band I was in at the time. And as soon as we started workin' on these songs, it was apparent that we just had something that felt really good and special going on. So we didn't decide to be a band right there, but pretty soon after it sort of became clear that was what we wanted, and needed to do with it. Don't forget me when you go out tonight And don't forget the distance from dark to light 'Cause I've been wondering what to do about you I've been wondering what to do about you turn out the light And I don't forget to see you above me bathed in light And I've been wondering what you'll do about me I've been wondering what to do about me I've been crying all night long, all night long So I don't forget you when I get off tonight 'Cause I am leaving, so darling let's just act nice I've been wondering what to do about you I've been wondering what to do about you I've been wondering what to you'll do about me - Basically what we do is Justin's writin' songs on the guitar, and them I'm comin' in and kind of comin' up with the beat with the drums. But then it gets to the point where we get in the studio where we're both addin' the other things, like other, I add guitar parts, I come up with, that he comes up with bass parts, you know, we just bounce ideas off of each other. So there's no set role in the band. As far as, I mean we're into makin' great records, too. - Yeah. - And then live we're just doin' what we have to do at the moment, you know? - Yes. - Which is me play drum, him play guitar. And our friend GR from back home, He's playin' bass with us on this tour, too, This is the first tour we've got a bass player. You know, we're just doin' what we have to do to sound good. - Yeah. I mean, I'll always play guitar, just because that's all I really know how to do. - Yeah. - I don't know if he would actually do it. I think Andrew's dream ... You can correct me if I'm wrong. It's probably, at some point, to quit playin' drums and either play bass or keys in this band. - Yeah. Piano. I'm a piano player at heart, yeah. - He's a piano man. - I just love piano. I mean, I love playin' another things, but I like playin' the drums, too. But I just get bored really easily with everything. But, you know, this is workin' for us. We really are more about, like, the studio. - Yeah. - And makin' a good record. And that's kind of, like, we don't know what's gonna happen in the future. Whatever it takes to make good records, write good songs, and whatever it takes for us to be able to stay on the road and not be broke. You know, be able to make some money. - Yeah. - Like, if that means I have to play drums, whatever it takes that's what we're gonna do. - Yeah. I called to you I'll wait for you I'd drink you drop by drop Now thank you for beatin' all the trustin' out of me 'Cause you showed me the world is just an empty hotel room In a drug store parking lot So high I'll believe that I am parked outside your house Two thousand miles away And I call to you I sang for you Now I lose you drop by drop And I'll thank you for takin' all you ever could from me things you keep to lose - And I will die in Wyoming - How do we keep working? Well, it's pretty easy. I mean, I know it sounds dumb to say it, but it really is just the way it is. I hear people talk about how it's, like, discipline, or you set down and you write somethin' every day, or at the same time every day. I can't do that. You know, I'll pick the guitar every day, but it's like, I just sort of, over the years I've learned that I just have to sort of trust and wait for that thing to come. That, like, I know when I get that feelin'. So, for whatever reason those things keep comin' around, and before you know it there's a stack a shit that's ready to get worked on. - It's cool, 'cuz in the past I think we were always the type a dudes who out-wrote our ability to put stuff out anyways. - Yeah. - 'Cause we used to not have the kind of label like we do now with Fat Possum, where they have the resources to kick stuff out, you know? In the old days it was like, we wrote stuff, recorded it and spent a year tryin' to figure out how to release it, or get some money together or whatever. - Yeah. - It's cool. They seem to be fine with us puttin' out stuff constantly, and we're constantly workin' on stuff. - Even beyond just, like, the writing aspect of it, I feel like if you're gonna be the sort of person, the sort of band who takes it seriously, I feel like if you look at, like, the 50's and 60's, you know, that used to be just the way that-- - That was the standard. - You're just always workin'. Like, if you're not makin' somethin' then what's the point? Why else would you, if you're not workin' I feel like that's the whole point. - Yeah. - I don't wanna ever not be makin' something new. - Yeah.
Water Liars is Andrew Bryant and Justin Kinkel-Schuster. They met on tour some time ago and have been friends ever since. Named after the first story in Barry Hannahs collection Airships, Water Liars began by accident in Pittsboro, MS in late 2011. Justin, who previously spent some time in a St. Louis-based band named Theodore, writes the songs and Andrew makes them better.
The new Water Liars record Wyoming was made in Water Valley, MS in September 2012. Weighted with accumulated evidence from experience, its likely to stab anyone who may hear it in the gut and the heart. And then theyll turn the record over again.
Their first album Phantom Limb was the product of the aforementioned accident; a collection of songs, recorded without aim over one weekend at Bryants house in Pittsboro, released by Misra Records in March 2012.