Waterstrider, an unsigned indie pop band based in Berkely, CA, began as a dance band that used to meet in Nate Salman's student housing co-op. Changing over the years, with some very talented musicians joining the band, Waterstrider's music has evolved into the unique, beautiful sound it has today. Nate says he's never considered another career path, and, being driven by his love of creating sounds, he's making this one work well.
According to Nate, no art is truly original but rather a mix of something that has already been created. Waterstrider draws inpiration from very diverse artists and genres. But whatever they create - whether the song takes ten minutes or a year to write - the band strives collectively to create truly genuine music that connects with people. "If something I play gives me chills," Nate says, "I'm doing something right. "
The band members are: Nate Salman, (Vocals/Guitar), Brijean Murphy (Congas/Percussion), Scott Brown (Bass/Synth), Drew Brown (Guitar/Synth), and Walker Johnson (Drums) I emailed the band and Nate was kind enough to answer questions for us!
Tell us about how Waterstrider came together.
It went through several incarnations while I was in school at UC Berkeley, but most of the original members met in my student housing co-op. It started off as just a crazy dance band, then evolved into a pseudo-punk 4 piece, then finally a 6 piece. That fell apart after people graduated from school, and now the current roster is a mix of original members and some of the most talented musicians in the bay area.
Is there a collective personality or vision the band members have?
I think more than anything, we are just trying to be as genuine as we can. Obviously music is performative, but we try to create something that the audience can connect to in a subjective way. I like the fact that not everyone's perception of our music is the same. I think my own perception of our music is constantly changing as well.
Are there other names you've thought of?
Like the name of the band? Nah. Waterstrider is it.
Obviously this is a difficult industry to break into. Can you describe what has driven you to keep going all this time?
I simply like to create sounds. Music is a visceral experience for me, so I'm always trying to move my own emotions through my own music. I always say: if I can give myself chills by playing a song, then I'm doing something right. Obviously keeping a band a live can be pretty rough, but as long as we're in it for the experience (not focused on money) the it seems to work out okay!
Have you considered other careers?
To be honest... nope! I've put all my eggs in one basket and I just try to walk the tightrope very carefully so that I've got at least one by the time I get to the other side. If I've got none when I get there? Guess I'll just turn around and try again.
How are most of your songs written?
It usually starts with a melodic and lyrical phrase that pops into my head. If it's still there a few hours later than I'll flesh it out. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes to write it all out (those tend to be the good ones...) and sometimes it takes as long as a year.
What is the message behind the Calliope video?
Whatever message you glean from it is totally right. For me, it's a metaphysical, sci-fi interpretation of the struggle to manifest something external from something internal.
What are your plans for the next 5 or so years?
Keep on trucking. Just gonna keep trying to uncover the sounds buried in my psyche. In terms of actual goals: tour to other parts of the world, create a fully immersive concert experience, and be as unabashedly present as I can be.
Are there any last words you'd like to leave us with?
Duke Ellington once said, "If it sounds good and feels good, it is good." What more could you need to know about life?