A conversation with Waxahatchee before the show

Indie rock quintet to grace the Southern Oct. 12


Indie-rockers Waxahatchee will be taking on the Southern Cafe & Music Hall Oct. 12. Arts & Entertainment chatted with the group’s singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Katie Crutchfield to preview the show.

Arts & Entertainment: Have you played Charlottesville before?

Katie Crutchfield: Yes, a few times, actually, but never at a venue. It was always sort of like I would play solo in a living room or something like that. It’s been a while, though, it’s been years since I’ve actually even been to Charlottesville, but I like it there.

A&E: Your songs are varied in length and production style. Does that lead you to adapt them much for live performance, or do you try to do them more or less as recorded?

KC: Especially “Ivy Tripp,” but really both of my last two records were recorded at a house and we sort of just … put a bunch of different instruments on it as we were going because we were just trying things out and seeing what sounded cool. So replicating it would be really hard, it wasn’t like we sat in a rehearsal space and “practiced, practiced, practiced” and then all went to the studio and recorded it just the way we had played it. … Replicating what we had recorded would be damn near impossible. I don’t think I was even writing down what instruments we were playing or anything like that. … So, basically, yes, we do adapt them, and we try to get close to the recording. I used to not really care about that before “Ivy Tripp.” When I was putting together the band for touring this year off of that record, I took that more into consideration, trying to make it sound more like the record. So we added keyboards, and my sister is touring with us, Allison, and she’s doing all the backups, which I think are really important.

A&E: What kind of band are you touring with?

KC: It’s five people including me. It’s really just three guitar players, including me — and sometimes I switch around or I don’t play guitar or I play keyboard — a bass player and a drummer. So it’s actually kind of like a straightforward rock band. I think it surprises people because it’s more of a loud rock band than I think people expect.

NZ: Are you playing a lot of the “Ivy Tripp” material on this tour, or a mix of old and new, or different sets every night?

KC: We got really routine about it, playing the same set. We had gotten really tight with it and had been touring so much, so we just stuck with what was working … We do pretty much exclusively “Ivy Tripp” and “Cerulean Salt,” but we don’t really do anything off of my first record. Sometimes if I do an encore I’ll play those songs … In different versions of the band, we have adapted those songs for the full band, but we haven’t really done that this year. But yeah, I did a solo tour not too long ago and I played all of the “American Weekend” songs a lot … I try to play the long game, and at one show I won’t play any of them and at the next show maybe I’ll play all of them, just to make sure people hear them because I know that material is just so different from the other stuff that I’ve done.

NZ: You mentioned before that you have more of a big rock show sound than people expect. Can you talk a little more about the vibe at your shows, the experience one could expect to have?

KC: It’s funny: I don’t really know what the general vibe is. It kind of changes. Because the vibe at my shows like two years ago is totally different than it is now, I think … My friend Naomi told me that there’s a lot of girls at my shows, which is good, I like that! It’s usually pretty tame. People are usually respectful and nice, and that’s been my experience so far for the most part, … In Europe, I had a band from Philly called Pinkwash opening … and I personally had them open because they’re super loud and energetic and I thought it would be a great way to basically set the tone for the evening. I think that people come to see Waxahatchee and they think that it might just be a super quiet singer-songwriter thing, and sometimes it is, but I think I was specifically trying to set the tone so people would be ready for loud rock music. I don’t know — I’ve definitely found that some people don’t respond well to it because they weren’t expecting it. But for the most part, I think Waxahatchee fans trust me to do something that they’ll enjoy, so hopefully it’s enjoyable!

NZ: You’re obviously on the road a lot right now. What kind of music do you listen to while touring?

KC: I actually have been listening to this podcast that I just finished that I sort of am obsessed with right now. It’s called “You Must Remember This.” There’s a bunch of episodes but the lady who does it just did a twelve-episode stretch of episodes about Charles Manson, and I’m … kind of obsessed with Charles Manson. I kind of already knew everything that I thought I needed to know … So I went into it super skeptical, like “I already know everything, I’m not going to learn anything from this.” And I was so wrong … I’ve been listening to a lot of Lucinda Williams. I’ve always liked her, but I’ve been going through a major obsession right now. I’ve been listening to Lucinda a lot.

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