A beat away from “world domination” – Interview with Watch the Duck


Watch the Duck is a three-piece band that blends soul, hip hop, and dub step to create a genre-less, unique sound. Originally from Montgomery, Alabama and currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia, Watch the Duck’s buzz grew off the strength of their self-produced singles that resulted in a recording contract with Epic Records.

The band recently released a five-song EP titled Anatidaephobia. The three members of Watch the Duck, Jesse Rankins (lead vocals), Eddie Smith III (bass), and Jonathan Wells (keyboards) took time out of their two-night tour stop in Chicago to chat with Quip.

Sherron Shabazz: Explain the name of the band.

Jonathan Wells: Watch the Duck started as an inside joke. It’s something that we say when we’re in an uncomfortable industry situation. Everybody is floating on top of the water but their feet are kicking like hell to stay afloat. We’re all the ducks at the end of the day, so Watch the Duck started as an inside joke between us.

SS: How did you guys come together to form the band?

Eddie Smith III: We grew up together in the same neighborhood but we weren’t best friends. We just knew each other. What really kicked it off is we ended up at the same college and started throwing parties together. From there we started working on music and shit together, and working on other people’s records made us want to do our own thing.

SS: How would you classify the Watch the Duck sound?

ES: Oh, that’s a good question! It’s hard for us. There are so many genres of music that we’re influenced by. We’ll classify it as evolution to be honest with you. I don’t even want to call it one particular genre because as soon as I say it, I’ll play you a track that don’t fit in that. For me, I like leaving it up to the people that are listening to it. They’ll put it where they want to put it.

SS: Lets talk about the new EP, Anatidaephobia.

JW: Anatidaephobia is the fear that a duck is watching you. It’s an actual, real fear. Over 190,000 people have it. Being that we’re Watch the Duck, we felt like the music that we were doing for this EP was coming to get you. This is Anatidaephobia: you’re either going to fear the duck or feel this and get over your fear.

ES: Man we thought that shit was funny as hell when we heard that name. Somebody told us, “You know Anatidaephobia is the fear that a duck is always watching you,” and we laughed our asses off.

SS: Your videos kind of mirror your music. How do you come up with the concepts for the videos?

JR: We got this ritual where we light a fire, get in a circle, and hold hands.

SS: Seriously?

JR: We light a fire and then we start chanting. It’s like Game of Thrones. We start concentrating and a voice from the fire speaks to us and tells us what we should do.

ES: It’s dark and the night is full of terrors [laughs].

SS: When are we going to hear a full-length Watch the Duck album?

JR: When the voice from the fire tells us to do it. Nah, I’m just playing on that one, but on the last one I was dead serious. It’s a voice in the fire. I wish I knew where it came from. It’s kind of creepy when we do it but it works. Anyway, we’re going to put out an album soon.

ES: What’s cool about it is the album is coming from the stage. We play music and the stuff that makes people go crazy we keep. The stuff that people look at us weird while we’re playing it — we gotta cut those. We’re going to Europe next, so hopefully by the time we come back from there, it’ll pretty much be done. We want the album to reflect that journey, so we’ll be working on it while touring.

SS: What do you guys hope to accomplish in the music business?

JR: World domination. Total domination. We want the whole world to think like we do. We’re tired of walls, limitations, and fear. We’re tired of everybody saying, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that. White people listen to this, black people listen to that.” Fuck all that! Everybody listens to everything. We all party together. That’s the point of Watch the Duck. We’re going to take over the world and turn it into a party!

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