In the past few years Atlanta has given us bands such as Gold-Bears, Places to Hide, Warehouse, and Red Sea, all of whom have made us want to immediately drive down south to catch their shows on the regular. 100 Watt Horse is another one to slide into that category. Led by George Pettis, 100 Watt Horse has been tirelessly touring the South, occasionally playing the rare show in New York; maybe you caught them when they opened for Mitski at the Knitting Factory last year? They are releasing their debut full-length Everything Is Alright Forever And Forever And Forever And Thank You Thank You Thank You Amen (or EAFAFAFATTTA, phew) on June 16 through Bear Kids Recordings and Deer Bear Wolf Records.
Following the rather poppy first single “Hold It,” “Julie” is a devastating slow-burner. The song begins with Pettis’ voice standing firmly alone against Gabe Seibel’s steady bass before Anna Jeter joins in, adding gentle harmonies. Their voices rise and fall together before delivering the final blow: “Isn’t it a funny thing / To think of how we used to get so angry / What was that about?”
We spoke with Pettis and Jeter to learn a little bit more about 100 Watt Horse. Stream “Julie” below, and read on for our conversation.
What are the origins of 100 Watt Horse?
Pettis: 100 Watt Horse started as a solo/side project from the band that I was writing and playing in at the time called Wowser Bowser, which was an electronic pop band. Unlike the songs I had written for Wowser Bowser, these new songs were quieter and simpler, and borrowed very heavily from the Appalachian and “old time” tradition of melody and structure. Eventually I found I was just much more interested in writing and playing as 100 Watt Horse than with Wowser Bowser, so the side project sort of slowly became the primary project. Gabe Seibel and Jake Thomson from Wowser Bowser came in to the studio to help me record the first 100 Watt Horse EP, along with Anna Jeter and Maddy Davis, and we ended up playing and touring together for a while. For this upcoming record it’s just Gabe, Anna, and I, and the three of us are going to be hitting the road in May with Floral Print, another ATL band that I play bass in.
Jeter: For me 100 Watt Horse started when I got a random call from George in 2013 saying “Hey, you sing right? Could you come right now and help me record something?” If I remember right I was in the middle of studying for a Chemistry exam, but I left school and met George at Paul Katzman’s house and we recorded all the vocals for the EP that day.
Can you give us a little bit of background about “Julie”?
Pettis: It’s a song I wrote for a very close friend because she asked me to.
Jeter: I think it’s one of our most folky songs. We started performing Julie right around the same time we started trying to convince everyone we weren’t a folk band, so I guess I understand how things got confusing.
The south can be sort of a grey area for touring bands, what are your favorite venues to play below the Mason Dixon line?
Pettis: “Grey Area” is an interesting way to put it haha. For all of its faults, though, the south has also (in my opinion) provided us with the best music our country has ever produced (Jazz, Blues, Country, Folk, etc) and really just some of the best music…just ever. I also think that at this point a lot of touring bands who know what’s up are aware that the south can be a really fun and beneficial area to play. People are friendly (jesus did I really just type that?) and more importantly they love music; and especially in the DIY or “underground” music circuit I think we have one of the strongest and most supportive regional scenes in the country. As far as venues, I really like:
The Mammal Gallery, the 529, and the EARL in Atlanta, GA
Go Bar, The Caledonia Lounge, and the Globe in Athens, GA
The Pilot Light in Knoxville, TN
The Bottletree (R.I.P) in Birmingham, AL
The Mothlight in Asheville, NC
And my favorite town to play in general is Macon, GA. Fresh Produce Records down there is a great place, and Sean Pritchard is a promoter and generally amazing human.
Jeter: Haha, yeah I’ve never thought of it as a grey area but I guess that depends on where you come from. I’m always excited to play at the Earl here in Atlanta, and the Mothlight in Asheville. We played at the Globe in Athens recently and I really appreciated all of the comfy couches everywhere. It was like we were playing in a living room.
Additionally, can you speak a little bit about community in the ATL area?
Pettis: Community is what the ATL scene is all about. I know everyone thinks that their little scene is the tightest (not in the 90s bro sense, I mean like close-knit) and the most innovative, but I can say without a doubt that as Atlanta finally starts to get the recognition it deserves from the rest of the country and the press etc, it is a testament to how supportive and nurturing everyone in the scene is of one another. It is actually impossible for me to compile any sort of list of the best bands in Atlanta here. They’re all so so so good and I am constantly amazed and humbled to play with them and watch everyone grow and explore and change the game. Go Hawks.
Jeter: I’ve always felt supported and encouraged by the community in Atlanta. People want to see each other thrive here and I think thats really important.
100 Watt Horse Tour Dates with floral print
01 Atlanta, GA Boomstock @ Big House on Ponce
03 St. Petersburg FL @ Roser Park House
04 Sarasota, FL @ New College
05 Orlando, FL @ The Space
06 Athens, GA @ The Globe
07 Asheville, NC w/ Axxa/Abraxxas @ The Mothlight
08 Knoxville, TN @ The Pilot Light