Ethan Bartman invited some friends over and took out an Ouija board.
They were trying to decide on a name for their alternative rock back and called on the power of the supernatural to lead them to the answer.
“We had a naming ceremony,” Bartman, the lead singer and guitarist of Water Witches, said. They summoned spirits while playing their instruments. The Ouija board spelled out the name Water Witches and thus, formed a theme for the band.
Often local concert lineups feature a band name that demands a double-take. Athens is teeming with fresh talent, from a band that identifies its genre as “slacker tweepop” to a band that carries a unique scary story along with its chosen name.
Water Witches chose its name not only from the Ouija board’s suggestion, but also because it carries meaning.
“Water witching was a real thing where people used dowsing rods and called on the power of magic to find water underground,” Charlie Touvell, the band's drummer, said.
The supernatural plays a huge role for the band, Matt Clouston, the lead bassist, said.
“We acknowledge the power of magic at every show, and if we don’t, something terrible always happens,” Clouston said.
The band's new vinyl album has "sounds like ocean waves," Bartman said.
“Our music is a lot like water in that way,” he said.
Water Witches’s next show is Sept. 14 at the Union Bar & Grill, 18 W. Union St., with Caitlin Kraus and Micah Nelson, the son of country singer Willie Nelson.
Another local band with an uncommon name is Dandelion Hunters. The band identifies its genre as “slacker tweepop.” The members came up with the name when singer and bassist Collin Geddis saw the cover of a book titled Dandelion Hunters. He didn’t know what the book was about, but the name immediately brought images and memories of his free, innocent past as a kid picking dandelions in a field in the sunshine.
“I work at a school, and kids are always bringing in bags of dandelions from recess,” Geddis said.
One of the group's songs, “Delicate and Potent,” is based on “the way I perceive my own gender,” guitarist Jay Riley said.
Another ensemble with an interesting name origin is Clubhouse.
The band members grew up writing music and hanging out in a small building off the back of the home of Ari and Zak Blumer, the lead guitarist and drummer, respectively.
“When we were in search of a band name, it sort of came naturally. (The name refers) to the building as the ‘clubhouse,’” Max Reichert, the lead singer, said.
The band identifies as indie pop. Its new hit single, called “Kyra,” carries a sentimental story behind it.
“Max was the closest with her out of all of us,” Ari said. “The song is dedicated to her, and it’s both about the celebration of her life and the impact of losing someone close to you.”
The band performed its last show during Abercrombie & Fitch’s charity event, the A&F Challenge, billed alongside famous bands like Bastille, the Strumbellas and Magic Giant.
“It was incredible to see how successful the event was at raising funds for the SeriousFun Children’s Network,” Zak said, highlighting on the band’s ideals of helping those in need.
These are only a few of Athens’ local pool of musical talent. Music lovers can frequent shows at the Union or another of the many music venues.