Creative Watt shines in music city
Isles musician Joe Watt is thriving in Glasgow.
Watt was a prominent member of the Shetland contemporary music scene prior to moving south last year to study a degree in commercial music at the University of West Scotland in Ayrshire.
Being only a short train journey from the burgeoning musical city, the young musician has certainly got stuck in, working as an audio engineer, producer and gigging all over Glasgow.
Watt’s passion for hip-hop and rap has been evident in the Shetland ventures Wind-Up Projectiles and Shetland Phony – the latter a musical project with Watt at the fore, described not as a band, but Watt alongside musicians he works with.
Since moving to the mainland and playing and seeing other Scottish hip-hop artists, he has decided to drop the American accent, rapping in his own burr instead.
The American tinge came from the US hip-hop he listened to in younger years, though he admitted breaking into a Scottish accent between songs, when other Scottish artists are rapping in their accents, would seem a little odd.
Watt is working on a Shetland Phony EP, and has recently released Can’t Fight featuring Stuart Ramage of acoustic duo Bella and The Bear (contains explicit lyrics).
“I just put out a single to give more of a taste of my accent,” said Watt.
The song is a clever mixture of funk flavours, rap, hip hop and Scottish lilts.
It is clear early on in our conversation that Watt is enjoying himself, and has immersed himself in the Glasgow and Ayr music scenes.
His enthusiasm bursts down the phone line and Watt is excited about his work as an engineer and producer.
His audio engineer Facebook page has clocked up hundreds of likes and Watt has been grafting away producing Bella and The Bear’s debut EP, which he said “is one of the biggest projects I’ve worked on.”
And Watt said he has become quite well known as a go-to acoustic music engineer, and things are going well for him.
“I can be offered jobs left and right and I never thought that would happen,” he said.
Living in Ayr and so close to the big city, he can go to a gig every night of the week, and be recording in the studio.
One of his mixes has appeared on Ayrshire radio station West FM, and next month sees the launch of the Bella and The Bear EP.
Watt said since leaving Shetland, he has realised he does not want a career as musician but finds working as an audio engineer and producer more satisfying.
“I find more creative satisfaction from bringing those feeds of creative works from people to fruition than creating those feeds myself,” he said.
“I was really nervous when I came down here,” added Watt, who questioned whether or not he could make a living out of being a creative person.
But playing and learning about music in Shetland has stood him in good stead.
Shetland has given him the opportunity to learn about songwriting, marketing, video production and musicality.
And for such strong foundations he is very grateful.