Welcome to Kick Acts. Tell us a little about yourself and were you can be found online.
Tice: My name Is Ticey Griffin, and I am the lead singer of Water District. You can find more info about us on www.waterxdistrict.com
Who are your musical heroes and influences? Why?
Tice: The Beatles are kinda the go to heroes for me. Not just because they are an amazing band, but because of how they shaped the music industry.
Zack: My biggest music influence is John Frusciante, I love his minimalist styling and his phrasings are melodic and memorable. A musical hero of mine is Matt Bellamy. He is the ultimate showman; he has flawless style, musical ability and genius songwriting all while being one of the most entertaining front men.
Hunter: I started my musical journey playing guitar, and my first hero was Slash. I loved his ability to stay cool and play incredibly difficult solos. As my musicianship has expanded to bass, I have come to appreciate a few players, like Nikolai Fraiture of The Strokes, Nick Harmer of Death Cab for Cutie, and of course my favorite bassist, John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin.
Ajay: Drummer Jon Theodore. His work with The Mars Volta changed, or at least partially redefined the instrument’s function in my head.
Do you have any advice for someone just getting started in the music business?
Tice: Ha! I was once told that making it in the music industry is like winning the lottery, but that’s not true. Because if you work really hard you can’t win the lottery, you either get lucky or you don’t. Music is a job, treat it that way.
Zack: Just focus on making music that you want to hear. If you try to make songs that you think other people want to hear, people will see through it and it won’t get you anywhere.
Hunter: Learn to play multiple instruments. It makes you more valuable to any band, and it helps immensely during songwriting.
Ajay: Be good at talking to people. There are a lot of good musicians out there and it’s up to you to convince people you’re the best of them.
What piece of advice did you ignore that you wish you hadn’t?
Tice: That typical “follow your dreams and don’t let your life pass you by” advice is something I didn’t take seriously until I was a burn out for 2 years after high school. That’s two years wasted in my opinion, although some might say those two years of slacking off where necessary to build perspective on life, but I always wonder how much further along I would be if I was on the ball early on.
Zack: Having the most expensive gear isn’t going to make you write better songs.
Hunter: Learn music theory. Seriously, life would be so much easier if I paid attention in that class.
Ajay: Being good at talking to people
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Do you have a greatest gig story or worst gig horror story you’d like to share?
Tice: We have been fortunate enough to tour across the country, and that has made for some great highs and lows. For instance, we’ll play a show in San Antonio, Texas for nobody at midnight, walk out of the club, look around and say to ourselves, “what are we doing here?” and then the next stop we hit in Nashville will be a packed house with strangers singing our songs along with us! Life is like a box of chocolates, eat every piece until you throw up and wanna go home! Hahaha
Zack: My personal favorite show was in Chicago. We played a packed Empty Bottle and all my friends from my hometown drove into the city to see us play. It was really great to go back to my hometown and see all my friends and family and it was even better to have them come out and support us.
Hunter: Before I was in Water District back in high school, my band played a battle of the bands at a Salvation Army. The two other bands before us brought a bunch of people to watch them, but we had no fans. So everyone started leaving as soon as we started playing. The crew even started clearing the stage during our set. It was not fun.
Ajay: We played a gig in Austin next door to an industrial noise band. That we could deal with, but it was the sound of prostitutes fighting right outside that got to us.[hmtad name=”Adsense Unit 2″ align=”floatright”]
Do you have any other hobbies other than playing music? Collect stamps? Collect hats from off the side of the road? Draw pictures of dicks or boobs? Make sock puppets? Sit in the dark and eat Cheetos?
Tice: I do enjoy passing judgment on others from afar as they walk by in crowded places like malls, movie theaters and the DMV! Haha, but to be honest I am looking into getting back into skateboarding, at some point in life I would skateboard for 4 hours and then go home and play guitar for 4 hours and then it slowly became 8 hours of music and no time for skateboarding. We will see.. Haha
Zack: Over the last few years I’ve really gotten into riding motorcycles which has led me to an unnatural love for vintage style helmets. Right now, I’m at four and I really love sparkle flake helmets so now the collection is mostly growing in that direction.
Hunter: Vaping and playing old school Nintendo games.
Ajay: I am a semi pro video game player, probably among the 30 best super smash brothers melee players in Southern California, though it’s hard to really say exactly where I stand. Most of my time goes to practicing guitar and drums.
What do you think about the current music scene or lack of? Care to address that?
Tice: It really depends on where you are in the world. For instance, you can go to Echo Park in Los Angeles and find live music everywhere, but if you drive to the west side of the city like Santa Monica and Venice there are maybe two or three venues left that are still operating. Go an hour south to OC, and there are upwards of 3 dozen venues and only two of them are all ages. Well, I got some news for those venues; underage people are the people with free time and the open mindedness to go see a new band. Another factor is the amount of distractions and entertainment California in particularly has to offer. People have the option to go see John Mayer premiere his new songs at the Hotel Cafe, or watch people at the Promenade breakdance in the streets, but 2500 miles away in Pittsburgh people have nothing to do. So, they are more likely to go see a band they never heard of.
Zack: The biggest problem with the scene right now is more with people than the actual scene. People would rather sit at home and watch Pretty Little Liars on Netflix for the fifth time and thumb through pictures on Facebook and “like” one from a show rather than go out and support their favorite bands live. It’s a shame because if all those “likes” were people at the actual shows, it would be like the 80’s Sunset Blvd scene where you would have to wait in a line all the way down the block get into a show because every venue at every time is at capacity. I am not a fan of that music by any means, but it’s foolish to argue against the fact that music was more alive and thriving at that time. But the reality is that there are small scenes sprinkled around the country. In our own backyard, the Echo Park indie scene is huge, we were at Echo Park Rising and the streets were crawling with people. But if you are in Venice, there’s not even a trace of a scene. Which is a real shame because there are a ton of young people in that area and if we all just got together and forced a scene to happen, it would totally blow up.
Hunter: Something Zack told me is coming to me now. He said “All the music that’s on the radio today sounds like the Lion King soundtrack.” I think he’s right.
Ajay: Too much pay-to-play for shows. It devalues the product that musicians put hours into crafting.
Do you think reality shows like American Idol, X Factor and The Voice have helped or hurt the music industry as a whole?
Tice: It’s hard to say. Although we were asked to participate in America’s Got Talent a few years ago, we didn’t feel it would be a good move for us. Something about seeing a band do it all on their own over the years makes you really feel like they deserve what they are working for. Not to knock the participants of those shows, I’m sure they work hard. There’s just something glamorous about a band taking on the world and winning them over, going from rags to riches over the course of van tours and late nights in a studio. I guess what I’m saying is if they had to write a documentary or a behind the music on one of those winners of those talent TV show it would be a really short segment.
Zack: I don’t think it helps or hurts the industry. It’s just another sweaty finger attached to the clammy palm that is the music industry. On one hand, it’s good that music is in the spotlight on some level. But on the other it gives people the idea that being a great karaoke singer is the way to being a successful musician. I would blame the game show mentality for ruining rock n roll in the sense that it pushed people away from wanting to get a band together with their friends in the garage and growing organically. Now I’m also not saying that all the people in that show are not talented, because some of them truly are great singers and fantastic songwriters, but that’s not what the people get to see.
Hunter: Honestly, while it does give people an unfair advantage, I feel like those people would try to break into the music industry anyway. So I don’t think it really affects it.
Ajay: Probably more hurt than helped. While the contestants are no doubt talented, I think it creates a false impression about what it takes to be successful, or that that what musicians do is easy.
What is your opinion of unauthorized music downloads?
Tice: It is what it is. I’m guilty of doing it. And I feel like this conversation is like beating a dead horse. If there are two things I’m certain of the last 20 years, is that Bill Clinton cheated on his wife and people illegally download music. Doesn’t make him any less of a president and it doesn’t make the fans any less of listeners. We all need to move on! Haha!
Zack: It’s an interesting point because on one hand, it is completely stealing money, and its money right out of our own pockets. But at the same time, the goal of music is to be heard, and with illegal downloading you are getting to a larger audience. So at the end of the day, if they come out to a show or buy a t-shirt or something, I frown on it but it’s okay I suppose.
Hunter: I’ve been a broke musician for a long time. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
Ajay: Music sharing has been going on for a long time. If you’ve ever made a mix tape or burned a cd to pass along you’re guilty of it. The shape it takes is different now. Ideally though, people will support artists in other ways (merchandise, live shows, etc.).
Tell us something about you/each of your band members that we wouldn’t expect to hear.
Tice: Zack has long sun bleached hair, surfs every day and he is from Chicago born and raised. I was born in California raised in California and I’ve never stood on a surfboard! Haha
Zack: Ticey can slam dunk and Ajay and Hunter are currently in a beard growing competition.
Hunter: The first day I met Ticey, he got drunk and whipped out his nut sack. Ajay can pretty much play any instrument. And Zack puked on a girl once.
Ajay: Hunter started playing bass maybe a month before joining. You wouldn’t know it by just listening. Zack rides Harley Davidsons.
Hypothetical situation. You’re on Gilligan’s Island and you get to hook up with only one of the survivors… Which one and why?
Tice: Mary Ann Summers. She is the kinda girl you bring back to Mom if and when you get off the island.
Zack: First of all, my first order of business would be to kill Gilligan because he effs everything up and they would have been off the island in like 4 episodes if they just drowned him. Then, obviously I’d go for Dawn Wells, if she was in her prime I would love to take her out to a seafood dinner and I would even call her afterwards.
Hunter: I’ve never watched that one, but from what I’ve seen Ginger Grant is the finest. So, her.
Ajay: Mary Ann is the cutest, but I’d have to go with the professor to guarantee a spot in his escape plan, in case his plan is only good for 2 or 3 people
Do you know what a vinyl album is and have your ever purchased one? If so, what was it?
Tice: Yeah, it’s funny who would have ever thought the solution to illegal downloading would be technology from the past. I’m interested in starting to collect vinyl, I just don’t want to be too stereotypical a hipster. The last vinyl I bought was a Pretenders extended play, I think it sounds better when you speed it up. Haha
Zack: Yeah I used to raid my dad’s vinyl collection for all his old blues records like BB King, Buddy Guy and Elvis. I recently bought The Hurry and the Harm for my girlfriend and that album has totally grown on me.
Hunter: Yes, I have a few. My favorites are Arcade Fire The Suburbs, All of the Strokes albums, and Queen’s The Game.
Ajay: I know what it is, but haven’t purchased one. Never had the tech to play one.
You’re marooned on an island with Justin Bieber. Do you choke him out the first night in his sleep or what?
Tice: I actually ran into Justin Bieber at the studio we were recording our latest album at. He was next door at The Record Plant and we were at Revolution 9. And in our parking lot 3 dozen girls waited outside for 14 hours just to meet the guy. I honestly am not a fan of his music, and I don’t think he would care for ours, but I do respect him. He is hated on so hard by some many people, but he came out and took pictures with every one of those girls and hung out for a half hour and made it worth it for them. So I guess what I’m saying is, we don’t have dozens of girls waiting for us outside of the studio while were recording, so I guess I’d ask him how he does it!
Zack: Nah, I’d work out some kind of deal where I keep him alive and then he will open up for us on tour.
Hunter: Nah. I’d just make him listen to his own music until he goes insane.
Ajay: I’d assert my dominance before making him do chores for us
What is your opinion of Miley Cyrus?
Tice: Her brother’s pop band is cool…. haha. In all honesty, I don’t have an opinion. Never met her.
Zack: I’d bang her to “Achey Breaky Heart”
Hunter: She’s a dumb girl who wouldn’t even have a career if it weren’t for her daddy.
Ajay: “Party in the USA” is one of the best karaoke songs ever
Which would you rather hear in concert? Lip-synching or real vocals?
Tice: Real vocals, one can only watch one lip synching, it can’t be heard.
Zack: I wouldn’t be in a situation where this would be a problem.
Hunter: Real Vocals.
Ajay: Depends on the act and the abilities of the performer. If it’s a band, I want real vocals, but if it’s a pop star/entertainer, I don’t mind lip synching because so much of the entertainment comes from the spectacle as a whole. More power to them if they can do all the dancing and costume changes while singing though. It can’t be easy.
Who, or what, is the next big thing?
Tice: It’s hard to say. What is big in my world can be small for the rest of the world. I think the band Chvrches has something special that a lot of pop bands are missing nowadays. I guess I should say my band… Haha
Zack: The next big thing is rock n roll. The reality of the music world is that everything is cyclical. And now that you can hear dubstep at Ralph’s grocery store that basically means that that world is coming to an end. There’s only so many computer glitching sounds and whomp whomp drops that can blow people’s minds. The reality is that people can see through the bullshit of shallow music. That’s why people already stopped talking about Skrillex and all that other shenanigans. That music isn’t timeless, it’s for filling the empty minds of Americas troubled youth and giving people a reason to do drugs and dry hump everyone. People want true honest music. That’s why Zeppelin, The Beatles and the Stones have all stood the test of time. It’s because it’s real, raw and timeless. And I think people want to go back to that and it’s great because there are a lot of artists that are delivering it, you just have to look harder for them at the moment.
Hunter: Ned Flanders themed metal. Seriously, there’s a band called Okilly Dokilly that sings death metal about Ned Flanders. They’re gonna be huge.
Ajay: Folk and Soul influenced singer/songwriters, I think as a reaction to the popularity of electronic genres.
One artist you can’t get enough of and can’t live without is… Why?
Tice: Love anything Death Cab. I don’t know if I just discovered that music at a point in my life where I was very impressionable or what but their stuff has stuck with me for the long hall.
Zack: Right now I’ve really been loving Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. They are just a bad ass fuzzed out blues rock band that is killing it right now. And their drummer, who is a really talented woman drummer, is recovering from cancer. Their music is just incredibly soulful and I connect with it on another level. I saw them at The Observatory and I was blown away.
Hunter: The Strokes. They’re my favorite band, and their music just has the ability to turn me from an antisocial hermit to a normal person.
Ajay: Radiohead. It’s always exciting to see what they’ll do next.
Confession time. Share a secret about yourself.
Tice: I buried treasure in the Nevada desert. I give hints on at the exact location in all of the music I write.
Zack: I have an unnatural hatred of broccoli. I always try to be rational adult and just eat it but it really grosses me out.
Hunter: I LOVE My Chemical Romance. I was super into the emo scene in middle and high school, and they have been on my iPod since 7th grade.
Ajay: I used to be in a dance troupe, and that’s all I will say about it
Favorite movie of all time and why?
Tice: Back to the Future. Music, skateboarding and skinny jeans. Shaped my life haha.
Zack: Almost Famous because it’s obviously the best movie made during my lifetime. And I have my own Penny Lane.
Hunter: Empire Strikes Back. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and that movie is perfection.
Ajay: It’s hard to pick just one, but I think Back to the Future is one I can live with. The detail and charm just doesn’t get old .
Our last question is called “Shout It Out Loud”. It’s where you get to talk about whatever you want to talk about. So go ahead and “SHOUT IT OUT LOUD”!
Ajay: GO PACK GO. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league by far. Tom Brady can suck it. Chris Paul deserves more credit for how amazing he is.
Hunter: STAR WARS EPISODE 7 COMING OUT IN A FEW MONTHS SO EXCITED! Also Water District is having a free show on September 14th at the Silverlake Lounge! Come by and have a good time with us!