You might know powerhouse drummer Josh Watts from his time behind the kit with former Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate, the talented drummer/singer/songwriter has now launched his new alt-pop project; Ivory Lake. Josh took some time out to fill in the blanks on what you can expect from Ivory Lake, as well as discussing his own musical background. Connect with Josh and Ivory Lake below…
What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?
Ivory Lake is a project I started back in 2019 while touring with Geoff Tate (previously of Queensryche), we played over 100 shows in six months over 26 countries, so as you can imagine there’s a lot of downtime on the tour bus. So I started writing a tonne of songs and started putting them together in my own very dyslexic way. With hopes of shedding some light on issues that many find difficult to talk about such as domestic abuse, addiction, depression, etc…But while still keeping the musical side of things light and fun.
How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?!
I was super nervous especially since I write all the songs for the band and a lot of them have very personal aspects to them. My hands and legs wouldn’t stop shaking which isn’t ideal for a drummer, but once I heard the applause at the end of the first song all the insecurity and anxiety dropped away and it felt like I was meant to be there. There is no better feeling than when you have a real connection to the crowd of humans you’re playing to. The gig ended up going well from what I can remember, we had a lot of fun.
What should people expect when they check out the band? How would you describe Ivory Lake?
You should expect an atmospheric and introspective experience, yet at our live shows, we bring a very energetic engaging presence. We describe ourselves as living in the space in between genres however, if we had to put it in a box I would say idiosyncratic alt-pop with rock elements.
The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
I suppose it would be that we are not afraid to take on topics in our songs that can be very hard to talk about for the majority of people out there. Such as domestic violence, drug abuse, and depression. In the alt-pop world, a lot of artists want to write about happy things and love stories, whereas I like to take a slightly more morbid view when creating my art. I think you can find a lot of beauty in sadness when it’s put into art in the right way and I think it helps to set us apart from the herd in some way.
What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
I’m currently working on a brand new EP that I can hopefully release early summer, but right now you can head over to your favorite streaming platforms and find my debut EP pillows. Which I released mid-January this year.
What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
I think maybe The 1975. We both have morbidity to our lyrics whilst keeping the musical side of things light and fun. I take a lot of inspiration from them and it would be a dream to open for them.
Who do you feel is the next band to break out?
Phoebe Bridgers is amazing I know she already has some level of success but I would love to see her music get more mainstream attention.
What are your first musical memories? And what was the light bulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
I will always remember my mom’s band rehearsing in my grandparent’s cellar when I was young and when they were done me and my sister would always go down there and have a bash on the drums from being 3-4 years old. I loved it but I couldn’t get my head around it.
My lightbulb moment came a while later, when I was 12-13 my neighbor came round and brought his guitar, a beautiful BC Rich, and started laying down some old school Metallica riffs. I didn’t think much of it at the time until a few days later I noticed I couldn’t stop humming them to myself, at which point I started looking up some videos online. I watched them play in Russia to like 500,000 people and I saw Lars playing drums and I just knew that was what I wanted to do, so I started picking up the sticks and played drums until my hands bled and then played some more. I always think without that experience I might be an accountant right now (just kidding I’m too thick).
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
It was a festival in Benicassim, Spain in 2019 called Fib. We saw The 1975, Kings of Leon, Lana del Rey, and loads more, it was a mental weekend from what I can remember and that’s not much.
The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
Post Human Survival Horror by Bring Me The Horizon although the music I make doesn’t depict it, I’m actually a massive metalhead.
Although 2020 was a year to forget for many reasons, there was some incredible music released; what would be your album of 2020?
I think Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers, It’s an amazing album with a depth that is hard to find these days and her voice is beautifully suited to her songwriting style.
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
I’m pretty active on most social media platforms you can find me on: