Reggie Watts brings his bag of tricks, which includes beatboxing, loops and and songs about the interminable depths of a woman's purse, to Denton on Saturday, as part of the Hot Wet Mess. It's a rare chance to catch him in North Texas, and an even rarer chance to see him play next to a water slide.
Do you have any special water-themed songs planned to honor the occasion? Maybe some water-based improvisation? You know, I probably will, by default, because that's my environment. I'll do some songs about fluid dynamics or something.
How was playing 35 Denton last year? That was awesome. I was treated really well. The hospitality showed me around, took me to record stores, told me great places to eat. It was just cool. And the reception was really great. It's a cool town. I'm really excited to come back to it.
What sort of stuff are you listening to at the moment? What's on heavy rotation? Memoryhouse. They're an awesome group from Toronto, the perfect mixture between Beach House and Broadcast. I always go back to John Tejada as well. He's minimal techno, stuff like that. Speaking of Denton, I'm friends with Midlake, and their biggest inspiration was the band America. The drummer texted me and I thought I should really check them out finally, so I downloaded the greatest hits and it's awesome. They've had so many hits, and so many different styles of song, that you wouldn't even think most of their songs were America.
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If you had to choose one genre of music, what would it be? I guess I'd have to say minimal techno. It's the right tempo; it's not overblown like hi-dub techno, and really peaceful. The production's great and it's funky as hell.
Do your beats ever go out of sync on stage? Can that ever cause trouble? Yeah, actually, last night I did a show for Afropunk. There was something weird going on with the sound system, like a horrible cracking noise. It would stop and you couldn't hear it any more. I had to keep going back and forth between different mics and act like it was part of the show while they tried to fix it. By the time it was fixed, I was so discombobulated that I was pressing the wrong buttons. When that happens I have to either pretend it's some weird funky groove that no one understands or just stop it and change it. It can be slightly scary but luckily the audience was incredible.
Acts like Flight of the Conchords have started doing arena tours. Could you see yourself doing that, or would you ever want to get that big? I'm not really interested in playing to gigantic numbers of people. If you're doing comedy of any kind, it doesn't do so well in arenas. It's just the wrong place, physically, visually, acoustically. When you're talking, like, subtlety, nuance, vibe, that sort of thing, it just doesn't translate. I was playing a show at UCF recently to a few thousand kids in a basketball arena, and it's just so hard. Everything you say energetically and vocally just kind of dissipates; you're getting nothing back from the room. My favorite thing would be to play to rooms of like three to five hundred. When I did my European tour earlier this year, it was almost entirely sold out. Oslo, Helsinki, Berlin, all between six hundred and eight hundred people packed into a room, and you get this control and a badass sound system. I'm not really interested in larger rooms.
Do you have any hair care tips for our readers? Just let it go. It's the low maintenance theory of haircare. Wash it once a week, and just let it do its thing.