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Blues Control: A Duo Does Their Thing

article by John Powell

Lea Cho and Russ Waterhouse may just epitomize indie music: A duo from New York does synth-heavy, guitar driven instrumental atmospheria. With a strangely mysterious web presence (they still rock a myspace), but a new album called Valley Tangents and a tour behind it- Leah and Russ also epitomize the phrase “just doing our thing”.

Their music is simple, usually pretty, and very Otherworldly, and they continue this trend on their new album. Having moved out of the city, traveled, and settled (for now), Leah and Russ sat down to talk about their music methods and the coming about of a new album.

Blues Control

In your own words, tell me what you do.

LEAH CHO: We play instrumental music as a duo. Yeah, how did we get started? We had this band together first, called Water Sports, and that was more of a new age-

RUSS WATERHOUSE: Ambient project. That started 2003 and we did that for a while, released some tapes and CDRs, and at some point we had an idea for a classic rock alter ego to Water Sports. Someone asked us to a play a Water Sports show and we asked them if we could play as Blues Control instead.

You just put out an album.

RUSS: It’s our first album on Drag City, but it’s our fourth record overall. There’s a collaborative record and some tapes. A 7” disc, too. But it’s our fourth proper, full-length album since our first two came out in 2007…

Does Water Sports still play?

RUSS: We haven’t played a show since 2010 when we lived in Philadelphia. We played with our friend, Meg Baird, who’s also on Drag City. She’s a folk artist. Our trio is a pop project. It’s hard enough to keep up with all the Blues Control activity.

LEAH: We haven’t officially ended Water Sports. It’s just whenever the opportunity comes up, we’ll do it.

What about your name? It’s not blues music, so it’s a funny pick.

LEAH: While doing Water Sports we had an inside joke about alter ego, and Russ as a joke came up with the name. We didn’t think it’d be a long-term thing. We thought just play one show.


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