SMC Spotlight Series No.1 | Chris Watkins/Drunk Poets ‘Lights All Askew’: A Bright Star in the SMC Sky
The sultry and soulful vocals of Alaska-based Singer/Songwriter Chris Watkins/Drunk Poets is unmistakable and after only one listen to his most recent album ‘Lights All Askew’, I was intrigued and wanted to find out more. Since 2016, when the album was originally released, for some reason or other, Chris and I just couldn’t seem to connect. It wasn’t until this summer via twitter had our paths crossed yet again and I finally was able to secure a firm date for our exclusive SMC Spotlight interview (see below).
Since the early part of the 1990’s, Chris Watkins has been blazing a trail for the indie music scene in the north though consistent music releases and live performances and even with the massive changes to media and the introduction of social media, he has adapted seamlessly. Throughout the ‘Lights All Askew’ album, vintage folk/rock influences of Bob Dylan and Lou Reed (the Artists influences) are prevalent. This is a nice transition from his previous album ‘London Can take It’ (2015) which was a ‘comeback kid’ sound stemming from his previous work. It was actually the album title song ‘London Can Take It’ which piqued my interest in 2016 when I began my research on the band. If you are wondering what ‘new music discovery’ you’d like to add to your music collection, Chris Watkins Drunk Poets is THE music to add. With an established discography history, there will be plenty of treasures to choose from. I recommend spending a weekend immersed in the comfort of your living room, make sure your stereo has the best speakers, light some candles, and play loud. I guarantee you won’t want to go to work on Monday…it’s THAT soothing to the soul.
This is our first SMC Spotlight Numbered Series on Chris Watkins/Drunk Poets and it most certainly won’t be our last. This is an Artist we enthusiastically welcome to the SMC Music Family for his primordial and titillating sound that has now earned him a permanent place next to the already stellar talent we support. Welcome to the SMC Family Chris!
SMC Spotlight Exclusive Interview | Chris Watkins/Drunk Poets
SMC – Hello Chris! This interview has been a very long time coming! I have been following your music career journey for over a year now. Let’s begin with an introduction as to who you are. Can you tell us about your career and your journey into the music scene?
Chris – Hello Candice. It is an honor to be here, thank you. I started performing and recording music at the age of 16 in South Central Alaska. Since then I have recorded 7 albums and am currently recording the 8th which will be due out sometime between now and Christmas.
SMC – Being a writer myself, and a lover of poetry…. can you tell me about your name Drunk Poets? How did you arrive at that?
Chris – A former member of the band invented it and it was inspired by Dylan Thomas.
SMC – Can you tell me about the projects you are presently working on?
Chris – It is an adaptation of a novel called ‘Derevnia’s Daughters‘, which is a historical novel about the island of Afognak, which was written by Lola Harvey and published in 1993.
SMC – That sounds amazing1 You are SO active and supportive on the Indie Music Scene via social media! Can you tell us which platform you gravitate to most for connecting with your peers?
Chris – Twitter
SMC – Can you tell us which peer you have met on social media who has been influential in your career journey?
Chris – Just as important as the artists are the people who give them a place to be heard: (in no particular order) EGH Radio #UnsignedHour, #MusicHourUK, Candice Marshall at Starlight Music Chronicles, Al Yardy at KB Radio, Mark Riley, Jon Zombie, Paradisemoon Radio, Tracey at Music Talks, Ronnie at Bigtime Radio, Jeff at Eclectic Music Lover, Only Rock Radio, and the one and only Bernadette at Rock-fm.ca ‘Bernie on the Air‘!
SMC – If you could name one person you would like to collaborate with in future who would that be and why?
Chris – I cannot pick just one, but to list a few (in no particular order) …Hannah Clive, The Puss Puss Band, Erica (The Erica Band), Jamie Slate, Zel Florizel, Mark Riley, Lakisha Skinner at Klef Notes, Edmond Crabtree (Lost Generation), Stan Stewart, Robert Segarra, Ghostly Beard, Kamikaze Funtime and of course the brilliant Addie.
SMC – Are there talks of any collaborations in future with other artists?
Chris – Yes, Hannah Clive and the Puss Puss Band.
SMC – Can you tell me what the radio response to your album ‘Lights All Askew’ has been like?
Chris – The response to ‘Lights All Askew’ in the digital radio community has been nothing less than extraordinary.
SMC – I am a fan of your song ‘Dark Old House’ – can you tell me about the ‘theme’ of this song lyrically?
Chris – Calvinist chic.
SMC – What instrument do you create your songs on?
Chris – The guitar.
SMC – What is the song-writing process like for you? I always like to ask this question because so many have such a different approach to this…
Chris – I spend half of the year reading and the other half writing and recording.
SMC – Which song off this last album has received the most attention from fans?
Chris – ‘Cheerleader in Love‘.
SMC – Which song overall has received the most traction with your fans and radio?
Chris – ‘They Can’t Hurt You Anymore‘.
SMC – I know that many artists create ‘themes’ for their albums…can you tell us the themes of each of your albums?
Empty Rooms (1992) A view from the edge of the American empire.
Going Down Slow (1994) A picture of psycho sociological
Nail it Down (2001) A collection of short stories for the Nashville set
Lazy Mountain Moon (2005) Amalgamation of southern and northern myths
Winter Birds (2013) An act of sheer desperation
London Can Take It (2015) The sound of me getting back on my feet
Lights All Askew (2016) Twilight on tape
SMC – How do you think you have developed as an artist between albums?
Chris – Exponentially.
SMC – What has the media response to the ‘Lights All Askew’ album been like?
Chris – I could not ask for more.
SMC – Can you tell us where most of your fanbase is located?
Chris – Anywhere there is still a light in the window.
SMC – What do you think is the positive about social media in terms of building an artists career?
Chris – The digital platforms will be the infrastructure in the 21st century.
SMC – What do you think the negative attributes of social media are or can be?
Chris – It is naive to think that corporate control of the sphere is not inevitable in some form.
SMC – What are your thoughts on Spotify being the ‘way of the future’ in terms of rapidly becoming THE place for artists to have their music showcased?
Chris – If it is not Spotify it will be another platform just like the alternate media in the Soviet Union during the cold war.
SMC – What is the music scene up there in Alaska? I was curious to find out what the music scene was like or even the support for artists up there…
Chris – I have no idea, I am too busy going to work.
SMC – When was your ‘Ah Ha’ moment in terms of knowing music was going to be the career path meant for you?
Chris – There was no one moment, I just got better at writing songs.
SMC – Can you tell us if there are any other creative projects aside from music that you are currently or will be working on?
Chris – Staying alive.
SMC – Where has been your most favorite live performance to date and why?
Chris – The band on the ‘Going Down Slow’ album played to 10 people in Girdwood Alaska in 1995, and it was the best show I have ever seen or heard.
SMC – Who would you like to give a ‘shout out’ to for being supportive of your music career?
Chris – Yes, everyone I listed above. The radio stations, the DJs, the music blogs, my fellow indie-artists, friends and followers. Many thanks to you all.
SMC – Which kind of music or musicians do you naturally gravitate to?
Chris – The dangerous ones.
SMC – If you had to describe your ‘sound’ to a new fan, how would you best describe it?
Chris – Snow on the telephone wire.
SMC – What is a deal-breaker for you in terms of what you aren’t willing to do for the success of your career?
Chris – Lick Napoleon’s boots.
SMC – Can you tell us five things about yourself that no one knows anything about?
Chris – yes.
SMC – Can you tell us what the next 3-6 months look like for you in terms of new music or live performances?
Chris – I am focusing on finishing my next album.
SMC – Okay, final question: Fill in the blank – ‘If I weren’t a Musician, I would be a __________.
Chris – Corpse.
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