The SPIN Interview: Pearl Jam Dark Matter Producer Andrew Watt

demetriosdemetrios Canada Posts: 88,084

How a lifelong fan wound up writing songs with and producing an album for his childhood favorite band

Written by Jonathan Cohen April 15, 2024


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    Love all these articles!  Thanks Dimi!
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    So cool!

    The origin of ‘Waiting for Stevie’ is almost too good to be true, in that you and Ed were literally waiting hours for him to show up at your studio to record his parts for a song on Earthling.

    We were sitting around with guitars and waiting, and I said, I have this idea. Check it out. He says, that is so fucking weird, because I’ve had this riff for literally years — since albums and albums and albums and albums ago. He showed it to me, and it was almost exactly the same. So, they both kind of melded into each other. We presented that to everyone in the first week, and they all wrote their parts and how the sections would move. It really only became a thing because the thing I showed Ed reminded him of something he’d written that was very similar. The drums on that song are fucking biblical to me. The Matt Cameron dirge! Matt is a pretty stoic guy. He’s like Charlie Watts or something. I was screaming, go harder! Come on! It was like I was at one of their shows or something. At some point, he just had to laugh.

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    LukinFanLukinFan Florida Posts: 29,017
    Good interview. thanks for sharing 

    1996: Ft Lauderdale
    1998: Birmingham
    2000: Charlotte, Tampa
    2003: Tampa, Atlanta, Phoenix
    2004: Kissimmee
    2008: West Palm Beach, Bonnaroo, Columbia
    2010: MSG2
    2012: Music Midtown
    2014: Memphis
    2016: Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Jacksonville, JazzFest
    2018: Wrigley 1, Fenway 1
    2022: Nashville
    2023: Ft. Worth II
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    Would love to be a fly on the wall

    Is it possible to quantify what you’ve learned about the members of Pearl Jam through making this record with them?

    Well, they love each other so much and it’s such a beautiful thing. I have the most precious pictures of all time of them embracing and enjoying the process of making something really great together. Watching Jeff hear a Stone riff for the first time and then figuring out how to make it singable for Ed. Jeff’s an unbelievable bass player and has only gotten better with time, but sometimes his role is to be the rhythm guitar player because Stone’s stuff is so out there and Mike is surfing over all of it and playing lead. Jeff is the one who’s got to make a base that Ed can cling to. I had worked with Ed before, but he is almost primal in the way that he works. Like, get the fuck out of his way. He’s going to be moving around and putting his whole body into it, and 90% of the song is written in the first 15 minutes of what he’s hearing. The melodies just come to him.

    Take the bridge in ‘Dark Matter.’ The riff is (plays riff) very chromatic. Someone like Ozzy would write to that by singing the same melody, but Ed has this way of crafting these brilliant melodies over these weird chords. What he does in a matter of a couple of minutes would take me six months. It’s so natural and unthought that it’s amazing to witness. The power of improvisation is so important in being a great musician. Each of these guys really possesses that. 

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    cmikeheltoncmikehelton Posts: 170
    I can't wait to hear this from start to finish!
    "And the young, they can lose hope
    'Cause they can't see beyond today
    The wisdom that the old can't give away, hey
    Constant recoil
    Sometimes life don't leave you alone."
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    I can't wait to hear this from start to finish!
    I can’t wait for you as well 😁. Enjoy!!!
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    2-feign-reluctance2-feign-reluctance TigerTown, USA Posts: 23,178
    More than anyone could ever criticize what this album will be or won't be, is the beautiful spirit and alchemy it embodies by these guys. Something we've all been in love with all this time. 
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    spankyMPspankyMP NY to NC to NH Posts: 1,232
    Randall's Island 9/29/96, Continental Arena 9/8/98, MSG 9/10/98, Jones Beach 8/23/00, 8/24/00, 8/25/00, Nassau Coliseum 4/30/03, MSG 7/8/03, 7/9/03, Continental Arena 6/1/06, 6/3/06, MSG 6/24/08, 6/25/08, Spectrum 10/30/09, 10/31/09, MSG 5/20/10, 5/21/10, PJ20 9/3/11, 9/4/11, Charlottesville 10/29/13, Charlotte 10/30/13, Global Citizen 9/26/15, Raleigh 4/20/16 :( Baltimore 3/28/20 :( Austin 9/18/23, 9/19/23, Forum 5/21/24, Philly 9/7/24, Baltimore 9/12/24, Fenway 9/17/24
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