Watkins keeps busy by recording albums and designing a studio.
Q: What's the story with your studio?
I engineered a song for a musician who owns a building in downtown Anderson. He liked my work so he hired me to design Pro Digital Sound Studios and become the chief engineer.
Q: As a progressive musical mind, why Anderson?
I would never have set foot in this town if it wasn't for the studio ... and the Nile [restaurant]. I'm still living in Muncie and am considering a move to Indy, Brooklyn, Austin or Madrid (I'm a sucker for paella and Manchego).
Q: What is your background in music?
I started playing and recording experimental/noise music at a young age and eventually tackled almost every other genre in other groups. And, of course, I studied all types of music on my own, in high school, at Ball State and Full Sail.
Q: How did you get into producing?
I just started working on my friends' records in dirty basements and eventually bands were flying me around the country to record and produce. Unfortunately, the pretzels and peanuts I rationed from those three or four flights were not enough to keep me alive or pay for my enormous student loans from Full Sail, so I was forced to start charging a small price for my time. I still take my portable rig around and record in artists' homes; I find most musicians are too lazy to drive to my home studio in Muncie, which is already set up for tracking and mixing. I've become a pro at turning peoples' houses/apartments into studios.
Q: What do you look for in prospective bands to work with?
Q: Do you follow your own taste in music?
I simply help artists explore new ideas for songs.
Q: Now that you've completed their record, how do you describe the sound of Everything Now!?
If the Beatles, Brian Wilson, the Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel and Nirvana all had sex, the bastard child/mutant would be Everything, Now! I consider their upcoming album Police, Police! to be the most complex of all basement recordings; we used almost 100 tracks on each song without pro tools.
Q: And your own new project with Richard Edwards of Archer Avenue?
Orchestral pop dominated by a desire for restraint in a world where truth is fiction and fiction is delicious. We are also working on an electronic album.
Q: When listening to records, are you able to separate your technical ear from just enjoying or not enjoying music?
One hundred percent: A stellar recording means zip if the songs are bad.
Q: Favorite records of the year?
Brian Wilson, TV on the Radio, The Killers, Rilo Kiley, Modest Mouse, The Mountain Goats, Franz Ferdinand, Archer Avenue, The Faint and Sonic Youth.