WET Music Interview: A Band Worthy To Watch In 2015
We had the pleasure of having a quick chat with guitar player, Marty, about tour life, Volvo station wagons, Taylor Swift and WET'S upcoming album.
Every now and again, our ears are introduced to an unfamiliar song that has the ability to instantaneously capture our full attention; time temporarily stops for a few minutes while you daydream with the new sounds that you are listening to. The track finishes and you think, ‘Woah. Who is this?!’ It’s this feeling that usually signifies the discovery of a new favourite song; the same feeling I experienced last year when I first heard WET’s song ‘Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl’. I immediately researched their other music – as you do – and was not let down by their self-titled EP. It’s hard to say which tracks I like best; they are all solid. Listen here.
WET are a three-piece band consisting of Kelly Zutrau, Joe Valle and Marty Sulkow, who are based around country Massachusetts (my personal favourite state in the USA) and New York. With lead singer Kelly’s clean, organic, emotive vocals and the band’s minimal XX-esque ability to create memorable songs that develop into increasingly layered depth without over-production, it is no surprise that they’ve garnered industry attention, shared stages with the likes of SOHN, CHVRCHES and are currently touring with London Grammar in Australia.
WET has an incredible sound with the potential to experiment with a wide-range of genres, and I feel as if they are going to have an amazing year. Here is my interview with guitar player, Marty.
How is New York going this winter?
It is pretty brutal this this year; it’s intense. We actually moved to Massachusetts to work on the record, so we’ve been spending just as much time up here as NYC.
What are some of your favourite personal hangouts around there?
Well up in Northampton, there is a very cosy dive bar called ‘Ye Ol’ Watering Hole & Beer Can Museum’ that is definitely a haunt for us. It’s actually the first time I’ve had a regular bar that I go to, because I never did that in New York…it was a lot more expensive, and it always seemed like more sense to go to a friend’s place and have a few beers there. Or hang out at Union Pool.
You guys were one of my favourite discoveries of 2014, and it’s no surprise that you’ve been listed on many hype-lists. When did you guys realise that you wanted to make and record music together?
We’ve been making music together in various outfits since we met in NYC as freshman in college, which was 8 or 9 years ago. There was a period when Joe was living in LA, Kelly was living in Providence, Rhode Island and I was still living in New York; we were all swapping demos and stuff. Joe and Kelly came to stay at my apartment in NYC at one stage, and they didn’t have jobs at that time, so we thought, let’s just keep working on our music. We got some positive feedback from the first couple of demos, and it just took on a life of it’s own.
What kind of musical backgrounds do you, Joe and Kelly have? Have you always been heavily involved in music?
For Joe and Kelly, I feel like it’s been more of a recent thing. Kelly was actually a painting major in college. I’ve been doing music for a long time, playing a lot of different instruments since I was in middle school.
Were you classically trained?
I was taking proper lessons in piano and trumpet for a long time, and I learned guitar, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling it classical training. At college, I studied Music, but it was where we learnt a core curriculum of production, composition, theory and engineering, and then you sort of created your own structure of learning from there.
What was it like touring with CHVRCHES and SOHN?
Oh, so fun! They were really different tours. CHVRCHES was so amazing. It was our first real tour, and for us, going from playing small 100-200 capped shows in New York to suddenly playing to 2000 people in halls, was a really crazy thing. CHVRCHES was very sweet, but after touring for a year and a half, you can imagine that they were pretty beat. And we were touring behind their bus behind in a shitty 1989 Volvo station wagon.
SOHN was great. Some of the shows were as big as CHVRCHES but I would say on the whole, they were a little more intimate. We shared the tour bus with them and the whole crew, and it was like being on Summer camp. They are just the sweetest people and I can’t say enough nice things about them.
How long have you been working on the new album and what can we expect?
I would say we started working on the record shortly after last year’s SXSW – around April. In terms of what to expect, it’s not going to be the same as the EP, but it’s still going to be WET; the three of us making music.
Have you spent much time down here in Australia?
No I haven’t. None of us have ever been there and we are really excited! We have really typical American ideas, you know, we can’t wait to see some koalas! I have been really into the Australian meme blog Brown Cardigan, run by these three advertisement dudes that post a lot of insider–Australian jokes. Australians are always blown away when I mention it.
Who are some of your favourite artists to have a dance to right now?
[laughs] That’s a great question. I’m just trying to think of some of the tracks that were big over New Years…and I feel like it’s really, really American Top-40-centric. You know, Big Sean, Bobby Shmurda, the new Nicki Minaj record and Taylor Swift. That’s kind of where we are at right now.
Everyone loves good pop music.
What are your plans for the rest of 2015?
Well after Australia, the record is going to come out at some point, and then it’ll probably just be a lot of touring. Maybe we’ll come back to Australia! We haven’t really done a lot of Europe, and we’d love to do some more of that.
You can catch WET at their remaining tour dates in Australia
March 12: Hordern Pavilion | Supporting London Grammar
March 14: Festival Hall | Supporting London Grammar