“If Toe was married to Hole and had an affair with Death From Above 1979 and had a baby but you didn’t know who the dad was, that baby would be us.”

This is how drummer Laura Klinduch describes her band, Watershed Hour. Laura and bassist/vocalist Natalie Paproski-Rubianes are the only two members of this all-girl, genre defying band. Based on that alone, my money’s on Death From Above.

Arthur crashed one of the duo’s band practices to learn more about Watershed Hour, who they are, what their story is, and the difficulties associated with having to rely on public transit.

Who They Are

As mentioned, Laura plays drums, Natalie plays bass and sings. Laura has also been known to rap on occasion, to the dismay of at least one sound tech and several fourth graders. Arthur was unable to get a sense of her rapping skills unfortunately, but was lucky enough to watch her in action on the drums. Laura cites Toe “a Japanese instrumental rock band,” Travis Barker, and Led Zeppelin as influences on her drumming. She tells Arthur “I just listen to a bunch of music and if I hear one thing [I like] I just steal that.”

Based on what Arthur heard, it seems she is drawn towards complexity. She is a drummer who does more than just keep a beat going—she makes percussion interesting. This happens partially through her experimentation with different sounds. Her kit features several relatively uncommon pieces ranging from a cowbell and rototoms to an upturned bucket and service bell (pictured).

Natalie says, “Doctor Who inspires me; half the songs we play are about Doctor Who.” This might be an exaggeration, but the band does routinely perform at least one song obviously inspired by the show titled “Knock Knock, Who’s There?, Doctor, Doctor Who.” Natalie tells me a few others are about the relationship between the Tenth Doctor and Rose. She also cites Garbage, The Smiths, and, perhaps more than any other band, Nirvana as influences on her playing.

On stage Natalie runs her bass through two amps—one clean, one distorted—to compensate for the band’s lack of a guitarist. Between that and singing it is as though she’s doing three jobs at the same time every time she plays. Natalie can also sing opera, which we did get to hear a little bit of, but has yet to incorporate this into any of her songs.

“Influence” is the right word for it; Watershed Hour does not let any one of their influences take over their sound (except maybe Doctor Who). It’s true that aspects of these various bands can be identified in various songs, but as a whole Watershed Hour provides something unique to listen to that can’t be so easily categorized.

The Story So Far

The band got their start in April 2011 and originates from Whitby, Ontario. They are now based out of Lady Eaton and Otonabee College at Trent and practice primarily in the Lady Eaton Music Room. While they are a two-piece band now, this wasn’t always the case. Until March of 2012 the band featured a guitarist who was kicked out after a dispute. Laura and Natalie never looked back. Natalie tells Arthur, “Now that we have our own songs it’s hard for someone on guitar to try and come in on top of that. […] They have a hard time improvising to bass since that’s not usually how you write songs.” She also points out “it’s hard finding people who only want to do music. Why start a band if it’s only going to end in a year?”

Although the band as it currently exists has only been around for about six months, you would not be able to gather this from listening to them—they seem much more seasoned as artists. Natalie and Laura work well together on stage and have chemistry between them that few bands at any level are able to exhibit. Laura says this is because after “jamming with a lot of people [I find] that they just can’t improv, and we both can.” Improvisation is how the band writes most, if not all, of their music.

This high level of chemistry leads to some confusion among fans as to the band’s relationship. “We get confused for sisters, lovers, and mother-and-daughter,” Laura says. Natalie replied, “I would assume we’re dating,” then stated with uncharacteristic seriousness, “we’re not dating.”

Hard Travels

When Natalie and Laura came to Trent they unfortunately lost access to their primary mode of transportation: Natalie’s parents’ car. Now their “tour buses” are GO and Peterborough Transit. This has caused the band much stress regarding getting to and from shows and getting their equipment across campus. However, they remain optimistic and admit that it makes for some great stories.

One night after a show in Oshawa, Laura and Natalie got off the last GO bus of the night at 1:38am to find that it was pouring rain. Through that rain they would have to bring all their equipment across campus, back to Lady Eaton College. Laura found herself stuck with both amps, inching her way towards the covered part of Gzowski College while Natalie ran with her bass and Laura’s bucket all the way to Lady Eaton. Thankfully, Laura was assisted by some (very confused) gentlemen who happened to be enjoying a late-night cigarette.

Natalie was under the impression Laura would quickly meet her at Lady Eaton. “I’m sitting there for like 50 minutes just texting Laura being like ‘Laura where are you? Is everything okay?’ I was thinking ‘Oh God, he killed her, all the stuff fell into the river.’ […] So I’m sitting there outside of the door with all the stuff around me, huddled up, and then Laura comes without anything!”

Laura tells Arthur, “The guys wanted to finish their smoke and they hadn’t offered to do anything yet so I was just waiting for some sort of solution … I ended up leaving all my stuff in this guy’s [named ‘Saviour’ Will] room.”

They both pointed out that this sort of occurrence is not uncommon for them and urge people who see them struggling to lug equipment around to give them some help with it. “All these people see us going by every week and not one of them ever offers to help us,” Laura says. “Don’t be afraid, we come in peace.” Both Laura and Natalie looked shadily from side-to- side at this point.

Watershed Hour will be hopping on the bus and heading to The Spill on November 30 to play with Ross A Bear, Kate Ross, and The White Crowley’s. Laura will be running the show, which is likely to be the last one of this semester for them. The show starts at 8:30pm and it only costs $5 to come out. If you want to hear Watershed Hour before that you can buy their EP Bend Your Knees online or watch their YouTube videos, all of which can be accessed through their Facebook page. They also have a Tumblr which Laura runs for her Media Studies class.

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Pat was co-editor of Volume 49, along with Matt Rappolt. He’s primarily interested in arts coverage, often editorializing on arts issues. He graduated from Trent with a Bachelor’s degree in English Lit. Pat hosts or co-hosts several programs at Trent Radio, such as Media Are Plural. You can follow him on Twitter, or watch him eat through his kitchen window. In his spare time Pat reads a lot (q.v. English major), plays video games, and writes fiction. He has a blog or something but I couldn’t find out too much about that.