Introducing: Picnic Lightning

Picnic Lightning from Fort Worth, Texas are a rock band whose raw and brooding desert punk is the sound of summer heat and dimly lit clubs. Their dark, post-everything wall of sound howls like a dust storm, delivering a spiritual stomp that dwells in the shadowland of trenchant questions and orphic revelations. Get acquainted with the band, below.

What are the origins of Picnic Lightning, how long have you been playing together?

We formed in 2013 with Thomas Ketchersid on vocals & guitar, Cole Watkins on lead vocals & guitar, John Cope on bass & vocals, and Cameron “Cam Hock” Navarro on drums & vocals. Thomas, Cole, & John had played music together since high school and Cameron joined them after hitting it off at a local Oktoberfest party. They decided to keep him…for now.

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe Picnic Lightning?

Raw and brooding desert punk, the sound of summer heat and dimly lit clubs. Dark, post-everything wall of sound howls like a dust storm, delivering a spiritual stomp that dwells in the shadowland of trenchant questions and orphic revelations. Our songs deftly touch the inexhaustible complexities of life and do so with sonics as singular as the individual human experience. They croon and holler, stomp and skip, wax thoughtful where vengeance belongs; and vice-versa. It’s the fuel that sets your car aflame or gets you home; the drug that puts you down or brings out the beast. The band’s mantra from day one has been: let no one suffer.

A blog once called us “southern gothic psych” so that works too if you’re looking for something shorter.

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

Nostalgia clouds judgment here, but overall it was a perfect first show: the back room of a dive bar in a suburb strip mall with 10 attendees, if we’re being generous. It was fun and low stakes – a good place to get the jitters and kinks out.

The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?

Patience, a steady cash flow, a little luck, and a determination to make sounds only they can make. Artists will always make art, business or not.

What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?

We just released our new single, “Over My Head,” which is a dreamy, massive post-rock song soaked in vocal harmonies, with lyrics that attempt to express our spiritual journeys/matters of the soul. The lyrical content originates from a poem written by Thomas at the guest services desk of a declining mall. The song is about how we all find bigger meaning – god, etc – in odd, singular places. It explores how we can find that same meaning in pleasure of sound, and a place where, as the lyrics mention, “me and the Holy Ghost are fucking around.”

We’ve got more singles coming out through the summer, and we’re starting to book shows COVID-permitting, so we’re excited about the momentum.

In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel you would be best suited to open for?

If we’re dreaming big, we would fit well on a ticket with Arcade Fire, Radiohead, or Interpol. It would be fun to do something different like opening for a comic: Tig Notaro, Patton Oswalt, Mae Martin, etc. Or we could go more of the “two great tastes that taste great together” route and jump on a Phoebe Bridgers or Lucy Dacus bill. If any of those people read this – give us a call!

Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

We’re from Leon Bridges’ hometown of Fort Worth which is home to a big set of talent that’s way beyond the Stockyards country and bluegrass. With that being said, Vincent Neil Emerson is well on his way to becoming a star so we hope that continues. Pearl Earl has been around a few years, but they’re also starting to gain some momentum and we hope that never stops.

What are your own first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

Cole gave Thomas his first guitar in their teen years and they’ve been playing music together ever since. John and Cam found their own ways; John buying a bass to learn Green Day covers, and Cam playing percussion in school band like the true nerd he is. All of us are creatives with other outlets, but there’s something about the collaboration involved in music that makes is like nothing else. Tl;dr: it’s fun!

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

Mono & Queens of the Stone Age

What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?

Unfortunately, there are too many issues that need immediate addressing, but we’d have to include voting rights and the preservation of true representative democracy, abortion rights, and racial justice.

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Lifehouse – No Name Face
Weird Al – Running With Scissors
Music from The OC: Mix 1, 2, & 3

Although 2021 was another year to forget, there were some amazing new albums released, what would be your album of last year? And, what new music have you been enjoying so far this year?

Thomas – “Van Halen” by Van Halen
Cole – “Native Intelligence” by Danny Elfman & Trent Reznor
John – “Wet Leg” by Wet Leg
Cam – “Life on Earth” by Hurray for the Riff Raff

What does 2022 hold for Picnic Lightning?

We’re focusing on releasing these singles throughout the summer From there, we’re starting to book shows, COVID-permitting. We’ve got new merch out with more coming. And of course, writing more songs. Keep an eye on our website and follow us on socials for all updates.

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

We’re most active on Instagram, but you can find us on all the usual places, listed below:
Website –

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