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In the Moment With Producer and Guitarist Andrew Watt

In the Moment With Producer and Guitarist Andrew Watt

Ever since George Martin molded The Beatles' sound, producers have been gaining a higher and higher profile. The Grammy Award for Producer of the Year has become a symbol of the power and influence producers have come to have on the sound and direction of contemporary popular music. So, when Andrew Watt took home that award in 2021, it was an indicator that fun, spontaneity and a sense of adventure was at the fore. A highly skilled guitarist and songwriter, Watt is in demand for his serious musicianship, as well as his ability for fostering creative collaborations. This creative deftness and infectious enthusiasm has led to spectacular results with artists as disparate as Post Malone, Eddie Vedder, Justin Bieber and Dua Lipa. Watt has shown an ability to help artists stretch and find new inspirations. We sat down with Watt for a conversation about the arc of his career, how he collaborates and what's in store for the future. Once you've read the interview, be sure to check out our video with him and learn more about his incredible collection of gear, including a ’61 SG, a superb 1946 Martin D-28, and a mini-collection of Alexander Dumble-modified Fender amps, what his favorite guitar tones are and more. 

Do you remember what the very first thing you ever recorded was? What did you use to record it? What did it feel like to play it back?

Andrew Watt: I got into a bad fight with my mom, and I think I wrote a song on my Applause by Ovation acoustic guitar that was called “I'm Finished.” And I recorded it on—there was Sound Recorder on my dad's desktop computer, and there was nothing you could do beside just press record. I recorded it on there and I burned it to a CD and left it. I think she was impressed, flattered and upset.

How would you say being a guitarist informs you as a producer? And how would you say being a producer informs or influences you as a guitarist?

Starting from day one, guitar is how I wrote songs. I write a riff, write a chord progression and then the song grows out of that. Melody comes. Melody sounds like words. The words start coming. Then, you apply it to your life. That's how I started with songs. So, if I'm in a session where I'm writing a song, there's a guitar in my hands or there are chords or there's a bass. That’s how being a guitar player has informed my production, I would say. How my producing informs my guitar playing ... because I know how to play the instrument when I'm with someone, a guitar player, or someone that plays piano or whatever. I'm able to talk with them musically instead of saying, “Can you do something else there?” I can say, “Can we go maybe to the G instead of going to the E minor?” I understand chord structures, and I understand the key that we're in. So, I think there are incredible producers that don't do that that are able to just explain where it needs to go in a different way, and it's all coming from the artist, and some people really enjoy that, and like that. But I enjoy having a musical conversation with the artist that I'm working with, and going back and forth, and the people that come and work with me and stay, I guess, like that too.

What do you think makes you stand out as a producer? If someone knows they're working with you, what can they expect? Are you a very hands-on producer? How technical do you like to get?

I believe in collaborating. And my engineer, Paul LaMalfa, who's on the other side of this thing right now, I leave the technical stuff to him because he's incredible, and I trust him. And we go through sounds ourselves, and kind of the things that we love, so that I can stay creative and stay in the ... how are we getting the best song? I’m very song-focused. The song is the most important thing to me. Whether there's days where we make an entire production—every instrument in one day. And then there's days where we just write a song on an acoustic guitar.

How do you approach collaboration—both from an emotional perspective as well as a technical and practical perspective?

I think that word that you used, collaboration, is very important because in musical art, there's all different kinds of art. Painters tend to paint by themselves or they have assistants in their studios, but that work is for themselves. And music writers a lot of times write by themselves, right? But music is an amazing art form that is so truly collaborative from everyone that you work with, from your engineers to songwriting partners to the artists that you're working with, and it changes constantly. And what's so amazing about getting to be a producer is that I get to work on so many different types of music with so many different types of artists and ages of artists. I've worked with 17 year olds. I work with 75 year olds. I've worked with 79 year olds. So, it's just different every single way, and it keeps it very inspiring because I have songs and projects that I work on that all I do is make sure that it gets recorded right, and I have projects that I'm writing lyrics, melodies, musical parts, everything.

So, it's kind of like you got a wide skillset. Some people would try and use that skillset all the time. I try my best to just use what's needed of me with whatever specific artist. I always try and get as much as I can out of the artist, and let them tell as much of the story, and let them get as much out creatively of themselves before I meddle with it.

Tell us about one or two songs you're most proud of amongst your contributions from a production angle, and then a song or two that you're most proud of from a guitar playing angle.

Post Malone is one of my best friends and one of my favorite people to work with. And the collaboration between him and Ozzy was amazing, because it was kind of genre-less music. It had a guitar riff like an Ozzy song, but then it felt really Post. And Travis Scott got on it as well. And then there’s this guitar solo at the end I got to play, and all of a sudden, there was a guitar solo back on Top 40 radio, and I was really proud of that because it was quite like an intense solo. That song's called “Take What You Want.”

And then, from there, I started making an album with Ozzy, and the song, “Ordinary Man.” Ozzy's such a generous, amazing person, and it was this piano ballad. Sharon (Osbourne) had the idea to get Elton (John) on the song. So, all of a sudden, I found myself in the middle of an Ozzy Osbourne/Elton John duet. And then, to make matters even wilder for me, Ozzy sent me to London to record strings at Abbey Road on the song. So, it was like I got to do all of these unbelievable things through Ozzy and the song that we made, and Duff (McKagan, Guns N’ Roses) played bass. Chad (Smith, Red Hot Chili Peppers) played drums, and then Slash did the guitar solo. So, it was all of these incredible people and heroes of mine that were posters on my walls on this one song, and Chad calls it “The Avengers of Rock and Roll,” that song. Like, you can see the movie poster. I would say that as a production and everything, it was life-changing for me. So, it's really near to my heart.

And I got to make this album with Eddie Vedder called Earthling. My favorite band growing up was Pearl Jam, and he was my favorite singer. So, to get to—we have a long story of how we originally met. I'll try and tell the short version but I left—I was on a tour. I was playing this venue called the Shoreline Amphitheater, in Mountain View, California, which is where the Bridge School Benefit takes place—Neil Young's festival, which Eddie is a big part of. And I got off the tour bus that day, and I smoked something, and I was just walking around with this guitar that I had bought. I think it was a Kay archtop, kind of like a jazz archtop guitar. For whatever reason, I realized where I was, and I was at the place where the Bridge School Benefit happened all the time. This was in 2012, and I left this guitar there for Eddie with a woman that worked at the venue. This was in June or July. Bridge School wasn't until October. I had looked up what day the Bridge School was happening. It was on my birthday, October 20. So, I wrote a letter for Eddie. I had courage from whatever pot I was smoking, and I taped the letter to the guitar, and I left it there without a case. A couple days later, I was like, “Why did I leave this fucking guitar there? I'm never going to get it back. It doesn’t have a case. This woman's totally taking this guitar home. It's not going back.”

On my birthday, I had a missed call and a voicemail from Eddie Vedder, wishing me a happy birthday and loving the guitar. Fast forward literally 10 years later, and just kind of being very distant friends or kind of pen pals, and I got to make an album with him. And I went to his house, and the guitar is sitting in his wine room like since that day. It was really kind of strange, but making that album with him was—I can't even explain how much it meant to me. And all the songs on that album mean so much to me. I love all of them. There's not a note I would change. And yeah, that's a really special album to me. I can't even pick a favorite.

Andrew Watt's studio gear

What is your essential setup? What do you need to make music? What are the must-haves for recording guitar?

I write riffs all day, every day. I was just about to start writing one, actually, when we were talking, and I stopped myself. I use my iPhone to record riffs all day, every day. Greatest thing ever—you literally have a recorder in your pocket. And I've used the recordings off the iPhone. It's an unbelievable microphone. And if you get two of them and record a piano in stereo, it sounds crazy. We recorded drum fills that way. We record with the iPhone all the time because I can be very impatient. I would say my number-one thing I need to record is my engineer, Paul.

If you don't have Paul—if you're at home, and something comes to you—do you have a some type of little setup with an interface and a mic?

I try to not have that. I have a studio at my house, and I don’t use it, because once I start, that's the song. With my production, I'm very much the demo is the song. I like the first thing that we put down. You never beat that. You know how you hear people's demos sometimes and you think, “Oh, my God, that's the most amazing thing, but it's not recorded that well.”? I don’t want to run into that problem. So, I put down the bare minimum and then starve myself until we get down into the zone where I know everything's good. And then we put that down, because there's nothing like recording a singer right after they've written something and the emotion is they're thinking about what they wrote about. If you wait longer, it just becomes words that don't mean the same. That emotion of whatever they're writing about is fresh and they tap in. I never want to miss that. So I try to just not do too much until we're in it.

What gear has more recently inspired you, pushed you, brought a fresh take on your guitar playing?

I buy guitars literally constantly, and they make me write new songs. That Hofner bass that I showed you downstairs, I'd gotten that this year. So, that makes me write differently. This guitar that I'm holding right here ... I just bought Mick Ronson’s Tele which I played for you guys before. I cannot wait to start writing songs on that. It makes you play a certain way. Old guitars are so great because even if you could see there, right, there's a little wear on that first fret which means that whoever had this guitar before me spent a lot of time playing here. So, they're worn in where they play best, so you can kind of have a starting place versus a brand-new guitar. It's just this thing. I like old things.

I got this ’60s Maestro phaser pedal. It's a huge pedal. It's got three different kinds of functions on it, and I've been loving it for guitar. And I actually plug my bass into it. I have two cables on the floor, and as I'm going, the lights are always low. One is a guitar cable, and one's a bass cable. And I've had multiple times where, by accident, I plug the bass into the guitar channel, but then it's going through the effects, and then something crazy happens. There was a time I was in my Roland Jazz Chorus, and I plugged the bass in, and it was like the greatest bass sound ever that made the song. I had a song that I did recently where the bass was through the phaser, and then I overdubbed a Moog bass playing the same bass line, and they just fit together. It was amazing. So, I really like that pedal. I like old stuff and then making new music with it. 

Tell us about this amp, this Capri you have here. We had one in the Vintage Room of our Hollywood store not too long ago.

I gotta go by there. This amp is awesome. It’s a 5W Marshall. I had a red ’59 Strat and this was a late-60s amp. I love colored Marshalls. I have red Marshalls, purple Marshalls. You get Marshall power and sound at a lower volume with this Capri.

Andrew Watt with his Hofner Bass

What was the last thing you bought at Guitar Center?

I bought a ’58 maple neck Strat, sunburst Strat in the Vintage Room at Guitar Center Hollywood. It’s one of the best guitars, loudest-sounding Strats, I've ever heard. What I mean by that is like unplugged, it's as loud as an acoustic guitar. It's just like Leo Fender handmade an amazing piece of wood, two pieces of wood. It’s the real deal, maple neck, 100% original. And I don't usually like maple neck Strats. I don’t have a lot of them. I don’t love maple neck Teles either. I have a couple, but they're not the things I gravitate towards. And I was playing through the Strats that were there. And this was one of the first vintage Strats I ever bought myself. And I just picked this thing up, and it's just so loud. And when you start learning about guitars and start playing them and collecting them, you find that the guitars, the electric guitars that are loud not plugged in, are the best sounding guitars. They reverberate. If they reverberate without the pickups, you can only imagine what the sound is like with the pickups. So this is just like Leo Fender handmade gold. It's just the right materials assembled the right way, and I love all the checking—everything about it. It's an amazing guitar.

What's your preferred amp to pair with it?

Anything that turns on. I love Fender amps. I love Marshalls. I have my Dumble Fenders. I have four different ones. I have the ’58 Tweed Twin that he modded for me. I have a Champ, a ’50s Champ, a late ’50s Vibrolux as well, and a late-’50s Deluxe, all old Fenders that he modded for me. And besides that and my Marshall Silver Jubilee. I have so many amps, but I literally just use those Fenders. They're the greatest sounding amps ever. RIP Dumble, the best to ever do it.

When you are trying a guitar out for the first time, how do you explore it? Is there a go-to song or riff that you try out when you're getting comfortable with a guitar for the first time? How do you get a sense of what it can do for you?

I try different things. Like, I mean it's different for an acoustic or an electric. Totally different. For an acoustic, you got, right here, fingerpicking, and then I kind of lay into it a little bit, and see how it sounds when it's played harder and projects a little bit more. I look for buzzing kind of stuff. Electric guitars, I'm kind of seeing, you know, how high it can bend, and if it frets out and what the pickups sound like. I play Sabbath and Zeppelin pretty much every time I pick up a guitar. And Hendrix—that kind of stuff. Just the songs, the best I've ever sounded, are probably on those three things. So, you know, if you play a new guitar or an old guitar, and you play those songs and it sounds great, maybe it's a great guitar.

What would you say makes a guitar the right guitar in a general sense? How do you know? Can you describe that magic or feeling when you know this is the guitar?

When it inspires you. Like, you start in those places—Sabbath, Zeppelin, Hendrix—and then before you know it, you're playing your own thing. Your hands are just going. You don’t know why they're going or where they're going. They're going to a place you've never went before. The guitar takes over. And that happens to me all the time, which is why I have over 300 guitars. Probably a little too much. It happens to me. But yeah, old guitars have been places before. And I think when you pick it up, you can tell if it's happy with you or it's not happy with you. And I guess I've made a lot of guitars happy. So that's why they're all here.

Is there something that's completely non-guitar-related that has inspired your guitar playing lately, like a snare sound or a synth lead texture that you've tried to emulate and twist up on the guitar.

Quite a few things, actually. I love doing that. I love hearing music, and hearing melodies and things that aren't on the guitar, and then playing them on the guitar. It makes you play differently.

I have this keyboard that Ozzy let me use, and it's an ARP 2600, and it's one of the deepest-sounding synths you've ever heard. They actually used it on Sabbath. It's got the Sabbath stickers still on it. And it's like one of the greatest basses you've ever heard. It's like so heavy, and I've used that and doubled bass with it a lot. I've written bass parts on it, and then you play it back on the bass—it's great for that. I've been using an Oberheim a lot. I'm finding kind of, I would say, voicings on the synth chords, and then you play guitar over that. It makes you play differently, you know, starting to write on keyboards. Obviously, Eddie Van Halen did that a lot. And that's how "Jump" was made. And some of his other songs as well. But it just makes you play differently. I don’t play piano, right? I played guitar first. So, the way I look at piano is like left hand is the low notes, and the right hand is the chord. So, I kind of play like that and figure out what to do in between, and it makes me kind of—it's foreign to me. But then it makes me play guitar differently after.

Tell us about the studio we were in earlier. How did you conceive of it? How did it come together? Were there some must-have things you wanted where you thought, “I have to have these monitors, or I need to have these mics in here?”

I think as you do anything in life—I spend most of my time recording—as you do anything, you start being like, oh, I like that. I like doing this. You pick up things as you go—instruments, microphones, speakers. I heard the Genelecs in a studio I was in, and every time I'd go everywhere else, I'd like how it sounded, but it always sounded the best in this one place, so I got them. And that's how I mix. I mix on these big-ass Genelecs and play them super loud. I think one of my favorite vocal microphones to use is a Sony C800. I use it on everyone—rock artist, hip-hop artist, pop artist, men, women. I think it sounds like the greatest thing. It makes a voice come out of the speakers. I'm very vocal-focused in my productions and mixes. That's the thing that everyone connects to. So, that's the way I like to hear the voice the best.

What was important to you not only about the gear down there but the vibe and the feel?

Vibe is everything. I do not—I will—but I do not enjoy going to public studios. I have this studio in a house that's been lived in, that has history and other creative things happened here before. And the studio is set up underground, in the basement, and it's kind of like a layer, you know? It's like you go in there, and it's a vibe. And it's surrounded by all my favorite instruments. Everything works. The drums are ready to go. The guitars are all there. The amps are plugged in and miked up. The bass amp is on and miked up. Every keyboard can play at the same time if you wanted to. If you want to sing, the mic’s on like that. It's all wired the way I like it and how I know I need to make music, and the creativity is—in one second, it sounds good. And I think that's really important. You can go to amazing places and destinations, and I have made amazing music in other places, music that I love, but it takes a while to set up and get sounds. This is a place where I know I'm safe and have all my sounds, and I'm ready to go right away. So, I feel like—how do I put this? Making music quickly is not a great thing. It shouldn’t sound like it was made quickly. But being able to make music quickly is massively important to creativity. You have to be able to start right away. That idea is in your head. And if you can't get to the end, something bad will happen. So, the way we have everything going on downstairs makes it so that we can go right away on any instrument, you know? Five people can record at once like that.

Tell us about any fun techniques utilizing that specific space as far as the acoustics down there or the mic placements?

In any space that you set up in, you have to experiment, right? You have to move things around. You have to try recording in different places. One of the hardest things to record—remember, we talked about guitars before—one microphone, right, up against the amp. Same thing. One microphone. So, drums is quite a lot of microphones. There's a lot of drums. You want a direct sound? You want a room sound? You want a bigger sound? Drums is a thing that takes a longer time to get great. The drums should not sound good down there. They shouldn’t. But the way we've moved all the microphones and the utilization of the space got us this drum sound that we just cannot live without. And one of the secrets is a stereo pair of microphones that we have at the top of the stairs. And the stairs are made of ceramic—ceramic and a lot of plaster. And for whatever reason, a lot of times, a roomy sound can be very trebly and hurt ... and make cymbals sound really brash and harsh. For whatever reason, the way the spiral staircase goes up and the material that surrounds it, it's like not only is it one of the greatest room sounds I've ever heard, it has so much low end. It's not abrasive, in your face. It makes the low end bigger. It makes the drums sound so much bigger. So, we don't always use it because there's a lot of songs where we like a tight sound, and we're trying to emulate records that do that. But when we do a big rock sound, I challenge you to find a better room sound than what that staircase can do.

Sounds like you harnessed that during the last Ozzy record?

For sure. That's the sound. And, also, again, the most important thing is who is playing. And you have Chad Smith playing the drums. It doesn’t get better than that.

Can we talk a little bit about this new Ozzy album? You co-wrote every song, right, and you produced it. What were some of the guitars that made their way on the album? And if you can talk a little bit about "Patient Number 9" specifically. Where does Jeff Beck begin and where does Andrew Watt begin? I was trying to hear who was playing what part.

We had such a blast making the last Ozzy album, and the initial love fest and bromance that happens between two men making rock and roll. And when we went into the second one, we had our amazing relationship, and our trust because of how much we love the last album we made, and my relationship with Chad and writing, and Duff played some. Robert Trujillo from Metallica played on some, but it wasn't like this wonder of what it's going to be because we had done it. So, we had to push a little harder to make sure that we were going to get somewhere that was different because we had a lot of the same ingredients and a lot of the same ways we worked. And, so, Ozzy pushed us to get a little heavier and go a little longer with the arrangements, you know? Don't follow so much verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus and guitar solo. Just go as long as you want. "Patient Number 9" is one of those songs. It's a long song. It's 6:50 and it was number one on rock radio for five or six weeks. So fuck 3:30, right? So, that song, Robert Trujillo came up with that intro. He had that intro on a 12-string bass. He kind of just showed it to me and Chad, and we were like, “Whoa!” It was almost like Randy Rhodes, but on a bass, and so he had the beginnings of it. And then we went back and forth, and made it this interweaving thing. And we just started jamming—me, him and Chad. And that's where that thing came in.

And Ozzy came over that day, and was able to kind of just guide us through what he liked and everything. So, we kind of made the song. He kept wanting it to be longer and longer, and we kind of made the song this epic journey. So, the band that you hear, and the riff and everything, is me on the guitar, and Robert on bass, Chad on drums, Ozzy on vocals, obviously. And we had these two solo sections that were very different. One's this heavy riff Robert had. And the other was this kind of acoustic guitar thing, too—two very different sections, one in the middle and one at the end. So, we left them like that for a minute. No solos until the songs were written, right? That's always kind of like for Ozzy. That was important to me because his melodies are so quotable. You don’t know what the solo should be until you hear what he's singing because there might be a melody you want to answer, right? So, as we were getting there to make sure that this album was an evolution from the last and different, we had the idea, why don't we just have the greatest guitar players of all-time play the guitar solos because I'm always going at it as a rock fan. I'm a huge Ozzy Osbourne fan. I can't believe that I get to make music with him. Still, and so what does the 12-year-old rock fan in me want? Guest guitarists. What's better than that? So, we said let's get the best guitarists in the world. Where do you start? Jeff Beck. He is the best. So, we contacted him, and I had one conversation with him before he did the solos. He was like, what do you want me to do? I'm like, do Jeff Beck. Do anything you want, and we'll love it. But he wanted to know where to play. It's quite a long song. It's not like it's a three-minute song. It's clear where the solo is. So, we just said first one, the heavy one, kind of go nuts on, and then the acoustic one, maybe make it more of a building thing where it's a little more melodic, and then play down through the whole song. So, he did exactly that, and that's all those lead parts you hear him. And I sent him back the track after he had done the solo, and really liked it. Then, he was like, I could do it better. Give me a couple days. So, we were perfectly happy with what we had. And he redid it because it wasn't good enough for him. He's Jeff Beck and he's pushing himself to make himself better. I loved it. Sent back the thing. It was obviously even better because he's a master. We put it in the track, sent it to him again. He said it's pretty good, but I could do it even better. He redid his solo two different times. The level of care to do that is so cool. That was the lesson. You don’t know where you're going to learn the lessons, but it was like never settle till you're happy because it's on record forever. So, he kept crafting his solo till it was perfect for him, and that's what you hear.

Tell us about your role in the lockdown sessions with Elton John. Is that what eventually led to him being on the Eddie Vedder album and then your work with Britney Spears?

I melt Elton through Ozzy and Sharon on the Ordinary Man album, and we kind of just roughly kept in touch. And then, I made a song for Metallica's reissue of the Black Album, the anniversary which was a cover of “Nothing Else Matters” with Elton and Miley (Cyrus) and Yo-Yo Ma, Chad, and Robert who hadn't played on the original. Me and Chad and Robert were making the Ozzy album at the time, so that was the rhythm section, and it was so much fun going back and forth with Lars (Ulrich) on it. He was so involved, and it was like such an honor to show him one of their greatest songs and go back and forth, and everyone just kept one-upping each other on the song. It's a song that I'm like so incredibly proud of, but Elton and I had so much fun doing that. We did it over Zoom, which was crazy. We were recording him from here and I mean the same thing with Yo-Yo Ma. We were recording them from here, but we were on Zoom with them. It was crazy to make music in the pandemic. But Elton played a lot of takes, and we kind of went back and forth, and then I kind of put together my favorite of the takes, and he just loved what we did again. And then it kind of inspired him to be like, you know what, I can kind of make music during this pandemic, and maybe I'll do like my early days, be more like a session guy. That was the start of the inspiration for it. They came to LA, and we had so much fun together, and he played my piano. Really unbelievable just sitting next to him. And, usually, I would pick up a guitar and try and play guitar with Elton, and play his chords. He would laugh his ass off because I would sit—after he'd write the song, I'd sit there with a chord chart. I'm like you just got to give me the chords. And he'd laugh. His chords are insane. So, I ended up only being able to jam with him while playing bass, because I'd only have to watch his left hand. And so I could watch his left hand like a jazz musician and play the bass with him. So, that was my only chance, but that's how we jammed together, which is so much fun. And his first album that he ever made was a trio. Bass, piano and drums. So, I think maybe that's why. But that was the start of us really getting on together. He's become one of my closest friends now, and we have just so much fun making music together. He's incredible. And his ear for making records and songs and mixing, it's incredible. He's the only person in the world that I could talk to about Lizzo and Little Richard in the same sentence, and he knows as much about both. Like, it's insane. It's so much fun. On his radio show, he'll play a Billie Eilish song into a Nina Simone song, and you're like, “Who else is doing that?” No one. He has the widest breadth of knowledge of music of anyone I know, and it was his idea to take some of his classics and rework them with newer artists as kind of a celebration of his music. It’s genius, and look what it's doing. So, to get to do that with him has been a blast.

How did you guys decide on the one, “Hold Me Closer,” with Britney Spears?

He made that song, “Cold Heart,” with Dua Lipa and PNAU, which was so incredible, which had pieces of “Rocket Man” and “Sacrifice,” and made the track very current and awesome. They had so much success with that. No one could have predicted that. And, so Elton had so much fun with that. He was like, I want to do another one. So, he asked me to do it because of our relationship. It was such an honor. He was like it could be anything you want. Just like I'm not going to tell you what to do. So, selfishly, I asked to get the stems to “Tiny Dancer” because it's the greatest recording ever and just because I wanted to listen to all the stuff. And as I started going through it, there was a guitar track. So if you think about “Tiny Dancer,” can you even really pick out a guitar? No. You can't. The first thing you'll think about is that vocal, and then the piano, then maybe like the drums. There's kind of like—as you listen to it again, you're like, yeah, there's that acoustic guitar and kind of a slide. But there was an electric guitar track that I don’t remember hearing. So I listened to it, and it was one of the most amazing things I ever heard. It sounded like Jimi Hendrix. So I called Elton, and I was showing him this loop that I made out of the guitar, and he was like, “What's that?” I said, “That's from “Tiny Dancer.” It was like “Who's the guitar player on it?” So, it was Caleb Quaye, one of his old guitar players, and it just made me hear the song in such a different way. It sounded like Hendrix, but it also sounded like Calvin Harris. It was like really strange. And, so, I was with Circuit, an amazing producer who I'm really close with, and we took this loop, and I just started playing the Hofner over it. And the song was born from there. We used the chorus vocal, obviously, the classic chorus vocal, and just turned it into this thing.

What's next for you? You have an EP but there's no Andrew Watt album that I know of. Is there something in the works? I can only imagine the features.

I've been making this album of mine for years now. It's kind of like turned into Chinese Democracy, the Guns N' Roses album that took like 10 years or longer. Yes, I'm working on an album, but I keep making all these albums with people that I love. New artists, old artists. I'm making so much music that it's this thing that's kind of slowly getting done and inching at it. And it's okay. I like it that way. And I really just want to make this one album that reflects all of these amazing people that I get to work with in this time, and I'm doing it. It's kind of like going to sound like a really amazing live band with all different features and people that you wouldn’t think belong together from all different eras of music. And I'm really excited about it, but just kind of inching at it.

That was one of the things we were most excited about working with you—you have this incredible range that inspired even the headline for our campaign of "Limitless." No boundaries, the styles of music that you can swing from left to right and still find a way to insert rock guitar in and make it relevant.

Thank you. I mean I'm from New York, and I'm born in 1990. So, the amount of music I had around me growing up, and then the early 2000s and having computers then—obviously, before that, they were a thing but late-90s, Napster, KaZaA and all those things. Like, having those programs, you know, limitless was the amount of music that I could get, right? I was listening to A Tribe Called Quest and Led Zeppelin in the same day, and listening to Britney Spears, and listening to Pearl Jam, and listening to Daft Punk, and listening to all different kinds of stuff because it wasn't about if you had enough money at the record store anymore. And so I love so many different types of music. Getting to make so many different types of music is almost mandatory for me. I would be bored or the tap would run dry if I was only making one type of music. So, it's really special to me that I get to go on to so many different types of worlds, and I feel really blessed and lucky that people want me to play guitar.

Well, I hope when people watch this, hear you play and learn a little bit more about your story, they'll be inspired to pick up the guitar.

Please. We need that. And I think it's so interesting what's happening in music now. If you look at the current charts and stuff, like a Kate Bush song from 35 years ago is number one. I mean people are leaning back into organic music, artists like The Weeknd and stuff have really a lot of organic stuff within their pop music that they're making, and I think it's amazing. So hopefully there's a new generation that wants to actually play the guitar, so it gives back.

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