Rivals of the Peacemaker

Air Date: 01-17-14

Sometimes the creative process sucks, and no one knows that more than really creative artists. Just ask Alex Watson, the artistic force behind Chicago’s dark folk quintet, Rivals of the Peacemaker and musical partner Billy Watson.

For starters, these two will be the first to tell you that they may have shared a home and a dog, but they don’t share a record collection. It would be easy enough to say that they’ve worked both of their proclivities (him: metal and alt rock; her: folk and classic country) into the sweet but insistent and insurgent Americana of Rivals of the Peacemaker, but that would be selling short a more intricate reality – it’s fucking hard to make music, get laid and pay the mortgage all with the same person.

So Alex and Billy each deal with the hard parts of the process in their own ways. Alex, a visual artist, has always used painting and drawing as an artistic break from writing music. As the duo started writing the follow up to 2011’s self-titled EP, Alex found herself relying more and more on her visual art to give the music time to marinate in her head. So much so that after a while, the difference between the art she was creating for the ears and the art she was creating for the eyes felt almost imperceptible.

“As I write, I paint, and as I paint, I write more, so I’d been working on a series of paintings and drawings simultaneously while writing the songs,” she says. “So the idea is to have the record, on vinyl, and then have a series of 12x12 prints in the sleeve that correspond to the songs.”

It’s an ambitious project, but one that the band is anxious to embark on.

Download: Rivals of the Peacemaker