Besties-turned-bandmates Wet Leg have been concurrently hailed as guitar music’s saviour, and derided as ‘industry plants’; their astonishingly well-formed sound (wrapped neatly around a spine of deadpan humour) has clearly spun heads. Our chat with blithe and sensitive Hester Chambers reveals the indie rock duo are the honest-to-goodness real deal – jokes included.
Tell us about the Isle of Wight, where you and Rhian [Teasdale, bandmate] grew up and still currently reside.
Well, for a British person, it’s where people go on holiday because it’s the very south of England. It’s got its own little microclimate, so there are more palm trees there than anywhere else. It’s a couple of degrees warmer. If we meet anyone from the mainland and say ‘We’re from the Isle of Wight’, they’d be like ‘Oh yeah, I remember going there when I was five!’ It’s very much a holiday destination.
Growing up there it was good and bad. The good thing is that it’s very peaceful; it’s mostly rural countryside and it’s quite safe and sheltered. But along with that it’s quite flat in the culture, I think, and as a young person there is not huge amounts to do. All the beautiful scenery we see in your clips, these were filmed in the countryside of the isle? Definitely. It’s lots of fields, lots of hay, and grass, and cows. There’s cows everywhere.
In relation to press about your band, you’ve said it’s hard not to doom scroll the comments on your videos, and that they vary so wildly in sentiment. You’ve got some of these comments superimposed over the OH NO clip – and they are barmy. Did you compile these?
Rhian and our friend (who did the graphics on the video) did – I try and shelter myself! I’m very susceptible to spiralling if I see something. I’m quite insecure, so I was quite grateful that they didn’t rope me into it, because I probably would just have melted into a puddle! They did such a good job and we talk about it quite a lot, how people write the most bizarre stuff online for anyone to see; they feel anonymous but at the end of the day there is a huge chance that we’re going to see it, and why would you want to write something mean? Yeah, it’s very strange.
How do your and Rhian’s songwriting methods work together?
We definitely like to encourage each other. We are still quite new to the whole thing; we did a bit of writing together in the same room before lockdowns happened. In 2018 we wrote Oh No and half of Too Late Now. Rhian, she writes basically all the lyrics. The humour that you hear? That is her personality; she’s really funny. She is also a perfectionist. For myself, I am also a songwriter but I’m quite lazy. I think it’s nice that we encourage each other because that’s the whole point. We’ve both been on solo projects before where you don’t have anyone to get a reaction from when you’re writing, and we both grew a bit sick of that. It can be quite a lonely place. So it’s a nice change and a nice space to be able to bounce ideas around.
Your clips are so fun, and so distinctive. They fit your music hand in glove. What’s your approach to them?
When it comes to visuals, it’s really fun to make something that is a bit of a fantasy. We lean towards obliqueness and cynicism. For Chaise Longue and OH NO we did those videos by ourselves, just me and Rhian and my boyfriend Joshua and Rhian’s sister. None of us had ever made videos before, [but] we just made do with it. We were like, ‘This is weird, this is good.’ We’re not trying to look our most beautiful or something like that… there’s some freedom that comes with leaning into the silly and the surreal.
Wet Leg by Wet Leg is out April 8 via Domino.
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