- South Africa
- Hair Colour
- Light Brown
- Eye Colour
Band memebers - Craig Hinds, Peter, Hylton, James, Nick
Highlights of work experience: WATERSHED has travelled a long and hugely successful road since their inception in 1998. From playing in clubs the size of a shoebox in Johannesburg to sell-out international shows and television audiences of World Cup proportions, Watershed has paved a path that is worthy of reverence.
“I firmly believe that the songs on this album and the success we’ve enjoyed so far from it, is only one small part of a bigger whole yet to be realised.” – Craig Hinds, May 2004
The band’s chief protagonist and songwriter Craig W Hinds is keen to have fans of both their debut album, In The Meantime and Wrapped In Stone (now especially repackaged), understand just what makes Watershed tick. “We are a band that has morphed and grown monumentally over the past six years,” says Craig. From their humble Gauteng beginnings Watershed has celebrated album releases in the Far East and all over Europe, played more shows than they have enjoyed good home-cooked meals and with collective album sales exceeding 140 000, all indications are that their chemistry and magic are as addictive as their melodies.
With Number One singles in Germany and more than a dozen South African radio hits the band have settled and had their identity applauded for being insistently their own. When Hinds retells the story of their debut album’s success and the release of the second, his humility is refreshing. “I am very happy with the new album,” he confirms. “There is definitely a nice little progression there, so all seems to be soldiering on.”
“ I’ve never put much thought into anything,” Hinds confesses – the same thing that a great many critics of golfer Ernie Els have accused him of. Of the two local lads made good, Craig could perhaps be seen as truly handicapped compared to the golfer, yet both are hugely talented and have made more money from their respective passions because of it. “I never make a point of assessing where we’ve come from and where we’re going.”
There is a lot to be said for those who choose not to buy into the sideshow offered by what is essentially the entertainment industry and here clearly Watershed score highly for ignoring all things contrived. “I prefer to rather do than talk or hype things up and create an unfair and unrealistic perception of what I am about and what my band does. We figure, play the album, see us perform and decide for yourself. If you love us, great! If you don’t… that’s okay too, we’ll get you focused by the next round.”
Over the past six years, due to the ever growing demand and more than 35 000 album sales in Germany alone of In The Meantime, South African fans have often had to take a back seat in having to wait to experience the band live. With ever increasing commitments in Europe, one of which was to play Top Of The Pops. Watershed is today a truly multi-cultural appreciated piece of Africa the world over. Watershed has, after all, taken the best of local, bottling it in CD form and successfully sold it on to an audience hungry for some savvy sing-along songs.
One of the most difficult commodities to export is pop music, but understanding the gap Watershed has never played to or beaten any other drum than their own. Watershed feeds a market hungry for critical song writing and great melodies, the likes of which South Africa has not seen in decades. A good chunk of half a decade in, the signs are locked on to confirming their extraordinary ability to grow – sonically, lyrically and most critically as a group of players clearly focused on creating the best they possibly can.
Watershed has seen more than its fair share of line-up changes in its relatively short life thus far. “I think it’s a natural process that most bands go through in finding their ultimate identity and sound,” defends Craig. “Today the band is what you could call a homogeneous unit. Every single player contributes and their part is what makes the entity work as well as it does today.”
Mutual respect and patience are two of Watershed’s best attributes, affording the band the possibility to prove their worth to the world. The group’s international success didn’t come from smart marketing or huge investment, rather it came in the form of a German DJ out in South Africa on holiday. He heard “Indigo Girl” on the radio, bought the album, went back to SWR3 (his employer) and played the song and mere weeks later the band was signing deals with foreigners right across Europe as their songs spread across the continent.
“ I think a lot of bands would love to be in the situation we are today,” Hinds acknowledges.
“ Some amazing things happened off the back of the first album,” he continues. “When we were recording In The Meantime there were no expectation and with its release we got call after call and suddenly it snowballed. I have had some great highlights, but the one that still takes the cake was me receiving a call from my label saying “Indigo Girl” had been picked up by a very big Chinese boy band and would be sung in Mandarin. Words from the song were also used as the album’s title. The second highlight was using a 14-piece orchestra on Wrapped In Stone. We wanted to experiment and try to break down the animosity floating around at the moment in the (music) industry amongst fellow musicians and songwriters.” Contributions from Melanie Lowe (of Idols fame) as well as additional remixes and new productions have been especially compiled by the band for the bonus disc you are hearing now.
Mastering Wrapped In Stone, as with In The Meantime, was the only part of the album not done locally – and for good reason. “The first album was mastered at Abbey Road (London) which was phenomenal; Wrapped In Stone was mastered in Belgium at Galaxy Studios and only because the mastering engineers overseas are the best. They fine-tune the record in such a way that all the pieces are made to fit.”
“ It’s refreshing for the band and I to see our fans continuing to embrace the music we write,” Hinds adds in conclusion. “We work incredibly hard at what we do, I believe because we all share a deep-seated respect for the people who enjoy our songs. We are in a place, six years since we began, that is filled with even more possibility and opportunity. I firmly believe that the songs on this album and the success we’ve enjoyed so far from it, is only one small part of a bigger whole yet to be realised.”
Album two now neatly repackaged and local and international commitments set to keep Watershed out of harm’s way, well into 2005, new songs continue to flow for album three and beyond. With Wrapped in Stone and all the great work continually being rewarded, we all get to stop, pop in one of a double disc and acknowledge, yet again, that great music has legs where these guys are clearly in full sprint.
Their race is a sought after marathon, it’s distance not specified, but with their street smarts and capacity Watershed are winners. They write songs, almost all of which are staples of greatness and in the process continue to affirm the fact that Watershed is, without doubt, the musical epitome of endurance designed to go the extra mile.