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With a fresh name and vision, Watchhouse is back. Catch them at DPAC this weekend.

Watchhouse - 2022 Tour
Shervin Lainez
Andrew Marlin and Emily Franz are Watchhouse. The band has been on the road despite the pandemic.

Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz are back at it as Watchhouse.

The band, formally known as Mandolin Orange, has been on the road during this year supporting its latest self-titled record. They roll into the Durham Performing Arts Center on Friday and Saturday night for homecoming shows.

The couple joined WUNC's Eric Hodge recently to talk about their new songs. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

If there is a through-line to this record for me, it is a gentle plea for kindness and to be our better selves. Do you think music can help with that?

Andrew: “I think so. And if nothing else, it’s just a good reminder for us to sing about it, you know, kind of harnesses those places in us.”

Emily: “It’s kind of funny, this record – and I think about this a lot, especially since we’ve gotten back out performing – this record was recorded just before the pandemic began, but I feel like there are so many messages and themes on it that have just become even more resonant in the last year and a half, as far as the way we are all interacting with each other.”

'Hiding from the monsters in the belly of the beast' is one of my favorite lines from this record, maybe because I can’t figure out what it means. Can you help me out here?

Andrew: “That’s a pretty out-there line for me, because it kind of means a bunch of different things. You know, just the pattern of being a touring musician, and (drawing) so much inspiration from getting out and sharing songs with people night after night; you never really know how you're going to feel on a given night – or I never know how I'm going to feel on a given night when I step out on that stage. And yet, I still have to enter into the emotion of the song, and be there for those people that are there to take in these lyrics and these moments in this music.

So, I think that’s a big part of that line. I feel like I've almost become haunted by some of these things that I've talked about in these songs, you know, whether it be the loss of my mom, or just dealing with some of the darker parts of how I exist, and then having to kind of rehash that every night and re-share that every night sometimes can be a little overwhelming.”

What leads you to these occasional musical surprises, where a song is going on, and then there's just this lush pause of orchestration that's really beautiful.

Emily: “For me, sonically, part of those bigger, more lush parts [do] feel like a sigh … There can sometimes be a lot of restraint in our music and leaving open space and not really allowing ourselves to go full volume all the time. And it just makes those parts feel that much more satisfying when we take it there. And it's felt really similar to the way you described it when we play it live as well.”

Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin are Watchhouse. The new, self-titled record is out now. You can see them play Friday and Saturday night at DPAC. You can also hear them on WUNC Music.

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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